Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

What’s Good About Science Fiction and Fantasy?

with 4 comments

Folks, for the past several days I have been wired for sound over this SF&F contretemps (which I referenced here a few days ago).

But I can only handle so much stress. (And make no mistake about it: watching people I respect and admire savage each other is not my idea of a good time.) Which is why when Mary Robinette Kowal put up a post a few days ago asking people to talk with her about being a fan of SF&F, it got me thinking.

What is good about science fiction and/or fantasy? What do I like about it?

At its best, science fiction and fantasy can lift you out of yourself, because both genres are about ideas. And ideas have power, and value, and can inspire…

There are so many wonderful authors out there, and so many great books. They’re full of ideas. And ideas can inspire, entertain, lift you out of yourself, maybe give you a new slant on an old problem…you never know where an idea might lead you, in short.

So what’s good about science fiction and fantasy? Plenty.

Try to remember that, amidst this current controversy. And concentrate on the stories, because it’s the stories that all made us want to be SF&F fans in the first place.

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Written by Barb Caffrey

April 16, 2015 at 8:24 am

4 Responses

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  1. Excellent post, Barb! As for me, I fell in love with SFF because I wanted to escape to another dimension and experience things I could never do (such as flying, magic, riding a unicorn, falling in love with another type of species). SFF allows me to be the person I’ve always wanted to be and to save the world from impending doom. That’s why I love SFF. 🙂

    MRS N, the Author

    April 16, 2015 at 8:35 am

    • Thanks, Mrs. N.

      Makes sense to me…I’d like to ride a unicorn, too. (Providing the unicorn doesn’t desire virgins, that is. That might be a myth…)

      Barb Caffrey

      April 16, 2015 at 8:02 pm

  2. SF/F can be fun to read. Ideas can be part of the fun (and what make it SF/F not some other genre). Now there are books that I don’t find “fun to read” but I’m honest enough (with myself) to know that others may find them “fun to read”.

    Minor aside, I find it hard to “focus” on the “ideas” aspect of SF/F for two reasons. One, a “good” writer can make a stupid idea sound interesting. Two, sadly I think “message fiction” became “important” because people focused too much on the “idea aspect” of SF/F instead of focusing on making the story “fun to read”.

    As always, YMMV. [Smile]

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    April 16, 2015 at 9:10 am

    • Thanks, Paul. Yes, an idea without the fun factor doesn’t cut it, does it? 😉

      And in most cases it’s a good thing that different people like different things. To use a non-book related reasoning — d’you remember when Pres. George H.W. Bush came out and admitted he couldn’t stand broccoli? And then all of the farmers and many celebs and such said, “Why not? Broccoli is excellent!”

      Well, as the former Pres. said, we each have our tastes. He does not like broccoli. But it makes sense to him that others do, providing they accept his reasoning for why he, himself, does not.

      I realize this is just a little example. But I think it is indicative of what we need to do, as a people, to start accepting and embracing each other’s differences.

      Barb Caffrey

      April 16, 2015 at 8:05 pm


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