Monday, 10 November 2014

Sci-Fi and Fantasy

It's Sci-Fi month!

Why?   (For those of you who don’t care why, skip this paragraph)

            30 years ago an author by the name of William Gibson wrote a book called Neuromancer [not to be confused with the term “necromancer” which is dealing with the dead].  The effect of this book is that this was the first time the word “cyberspace” was given form and presence and created the term “cyberpunk”.  You’ve got to celebrate a book that popularized a phrase that has become a household term for over 30 years!

Now one popular question is: What makes science fiction different from fantasy?

The most common explanation is that science fiction is based on the concept on what is actually possible, even if improbable.  Fantasy does not have to even touch reality and a of good fantasy has elements of magic.  Now, there can be quite a bit of overlap and many subgenres found under each category.  A good breakdown of these can be found here (SF Site) if you’re interested in the details.

One of the things about science fiction is that it is created based on what could be, scientifically speaking, but can become outdated when technology progresses or bypasses the proposed advancements.  However, it doesn’t have to detract from the entertainment value of the work.  I think our own reference librarian, Jean-Ann, sums it up quite nicely, “Fantasy is fantastical, like Lord of the Rings and magical.  But while the lines between fantasy and sci-fi are less important because we know some things are just impossible, it still adds to the fun.  Like Star Trek using a warp drive. It’s ridiculous* now but it wouldn’t be as much fun if they couldn’t go all over the place.”

In our collection at the Alamogordo Public Library, you will find Science Fiction and Fantasy shelved together in their own section so you don’t have to wade through the general fiction to find what you’re looking for.  So whether it’s space travel or magic, just browse the shelves to find it or come and ask us and we’ll be happy to help.

I think the best rule of thumb to go by is: if you like it, read it!

*Disclaimer from Jean-Ann!! This is a debatable term in this context but read more:

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