Some Responses

…To my last post.

  1. The idea that I’m not responding to the bulk of Daddy Warpig’s case is perfectly true. In fact, I don’t know nearly enough about the history of sci-fi to dispute his case even if I wanted to. I was – as he correctly pointed out – responding to a very specific point that I objected to. Indeed, I said as much.
  2. Incidentally, in the comments, my point was vindicated. Acknowledge that sci-fi and fantasy are clearly not the same thing, even if people can and do (and should) bend genres, and his whole case DOES work! Don’t do that, though, and it fails.
  3. That said, I do find it rather unfair to imply I’m responding to some minuscule, unimportant point. I mean, when we have quotes like this (linked to in the previous article):

Fantasy & Science Fiction is one genre, separate and indivisible*. Some stories have technology and aliens, others magic and nonhumans, others technology and magic, and so on and so forth.

People who try to disavow 95% of the genre are free to do so. If I need to speak their language to make my point understood, fine. But I don’t have to accept the validity of their mistaken beliefs, or cater to them.

And also this:

SF kicked out Fantasy. Got rid of it. Built an Iron Curtain between the two, and began a long program of sneering at the magical stuff.

You don’t get to disavow a huge category of stories for 80 years, then claim their successes as your own when it becomes inconvenient. Sorry.

(Incidentally, those two comments directly contradict each other!)

And when Jeffro just bluntly says this:

The genre delineations are useless.

Or DW says this (a repetition of his earlier comment, but with a different tag at the end):

Fantasy & Science Fiction is one genre, separate and indivisible. Some stories have technology and aliens, others magic and nonhumans, others technology and magic.

Yes, it’s worth it to salvage the good pieces from technology-centric F&SF, and to ensure that stories like that still get told. Even if we have to call them “SF” so the obsessives can understand.

Or a whole article written making the claim that hard SF doesn’t exist, which I still can’t help but think is just obviously wrong (and John C. Wright agrees with me).

…I think it’s safe to say I’m responding to a real, repeated, insisted upon point. DW can insist it doesn’t impact his overall thesis, and that’s true…IF he concedes the point and acknowledges a distinction between sci-fi and fantasy.

Because there is, and there has to be, or the whole thing fails.

So why AM I harping on this (and, again, it’s worth noting that I really am responding to something very specific here, the one point I disagree with, not the whole argument. And, again, I have great respect for both DW and Jeffro)?

Because a whole post was spent on the claim hard SF doesn’t exist.

Because ink has been spilled over and over on the claim that there’s no distinction between fantasy and SF, and that it’s all one genre, separate and indivisible. And it’s sparked arguments and disagreements and claims from many intelligent people, including John C. Wright, Josh Young, and myself, who all see comments like that and say “Wait, you’re saying the things I like to read don’t actually exist? But how is that true?”

And it doesn’t matter. It’s irrelevant. Totally besides the point. If people say “I like sci-fi more than fantasy”, or “I prefer hard sci-fi”, who cares? We have bigger fish to fry: The loss of the superversive in fiction*.

Not changing genre distinctions.

*Incidentally, this is the reason I consider myself a part of the superversive fiction movement more than I would identify as a specific part of anything else, like the pulp revolution or blue sci-fi or red sci-fi or whatever. I believe that the issues we are attempting to tackle and correct here transcend the others in scope and importance; bring back superversive fiction, and the rest falls into place like a well-played game of Tetris.