So is Science Fiction really a separate genre, or just a way to create a new setting for existing genres (action, war, sea stories, spy, westerns, horror, epic fantasy etc)?
Sure, a story like Ringworld is 'real' SF. How much of what is called SF actually meets this definition though, particularly on movies and TV?Larry Niven and is ilk explicitly say yes.
It is true that many erstwhile stories are simply love stories or operas transported to a space milieu.
But Larry and others define science fiction as stories where the science plays a pivotal role in the plot.
IOW, you cannot separate the science from the story and still have the same story.
- murder mysteries involving a bathtub on the Moon in one sixth gravity where the water can rise right out of the tub and interfere with a laser beam as the murder weapon.
- flash crowds ramped up by the ubiquity of teleport booths
- defeating a demon using mathematical procedures such as a convergent series.
The list goes on.
Why do you care? Are you going to dis-allow calling a love story set as a Western a Western? Or other kinds of mixed genras? It just gets too confusing. If the author calls it SciFic, what do you care?Sure, a story like Ringworld is 'real' SF. How much of what is called SF actually meets this definition though, particularly on movies and TV?
Don’t care particularly, but thought it might make an interesting discussionWhy do you care? Are you going to dis-allow calling a love story set as a Western a Western? Or other kinds of mixed genras? It just gets too confusing. If the author calls it SciFic, what do you care?
I would say it is primarily a theme (especially regarding the majority of related works), but then there are exceptional cases which turns the thing upside down and inside out, so you just won't find your hat.So is Science Fiction really a separate genre
The idea is to plot a novel on the graph based on where it falls on the “stuff/no stuff” continuum and the “easy/difficult” continuum. The closer to the top-left corner, the more genre-ness the work has; the closer to the bottom-right, the more literary-ness.
By “stuff,” I mean things that are out of our ordinary experience, especially things that don’t actually exist (as far as we know): interplanetary space travel, elves, vampires; and, to a lesser degree, things that do exist but that are larger-than-life: serial killers; shark infestations. “Difficult” encompasses dense paragraphs, complex sentences, ambiguity, intellectual complexity, and passages that require re-reading not because they’re unclear but because they’re, well, difficult.
I took it as the chart replaces the arbitrary binary distinction between literary and genre fiction - there is stuff termed genre fiction that is better literature than most literary fiction. then you can put westerns in the box on a spectrum from Zane Grey to Cormac McCarthy and dont have to answer questions like did Borges write SFSure, but I don't see it as a defining parameter that distinguishes genre fiction from literature.