Is Dune is a work of science fiction or a work of fantasy?

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Postby Worm » 09 Aug 2008 18:42

Mandy wrote:Wikipedia actually has a really decent article on the subject http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fantasy

There is therefore nothing intrinsic about the effects described in a given story that will tell you whether it is science fiction or fantasy. The classification of an effect as "fantastic" or "science fictional" is a matter of convention. Hyperspace, time machines and scientists are conventions of science fiction; flying carpets, magical amulets and wizards are tropes of fantasy. This is an accident of the historical development of the genre. In some cases they have overlapped: teleportation by matter-transmitter-beam is science fiction, teleportation by incantation is fantasy. A hand-held cloaking device that confers invisibility is science fiction; a hand-held Ring of Power that confers invisibility is fantasy. Mind-to-mind communication can be "psionics", or it can be an ancient elvish art. What matters is not the effect itself (generally scientifically impossible, though not always believed to be so by the authors) but the wider universe it is intended to evoke. If it is one of space travel and proton-pistols, it gets classified as "science fiction", and the appropriate terms (cloaking device, matter-transmitter) are used; if it is one of castles, sailing ships and swords, it gets classified as "fantasy", and we instead speak of magic rings and travel by enchantment. In short, science fiction uses technology to explain impossible phenomena while fantasy employs magic.



That's exactly what I've been saying for years. I'm glad wikipedia has now supported my position. :roll:
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Postby Anathema » 09 Aug 2008 18:53

I personally found the bit about Dune interesting:
Frank Herbert's Dune novels are also classed by some as science fantasy, probably because his Arrakis dispenses with many (but not all) of the technological ornaments that conventionally mark a story as "science fiction"; however, his scientifically impossible concepts (like prescience and genetic memory) were staples in mainstream science fiction for many years.


Does anyone know a good fantasy book they can recommend? I read LOTR and thought it was okay but not mind-blowing, and tedious at some points. I have a copy of The Hobbit lying around but every time I try to read it, I get bored :(

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Postby SandChigger » 09 Aug 2008 20:08

Hyperion has flying carpets, too, but they're not magical.

Unless you mean in the "any sufficiently advanced technology..." sense. ;)
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

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Postby Centurion988 » 09 Aug 2008 20:36

Ah, the scientifically possible versus the supernatural. Each can be developed to mirror the other, but that final nudge comes from the mind of the reader. Only YOU can apply the label.

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 09 Aug 2008 20:51

Anathema wrote:I personally found the bit about Dune interesting:
Frank Herbert's Dune novels are also classed by some as science fantasy, probably because his Arrakis dispenses with many (but not all) of the technological ornaments that conventionally mark a story as "science fiction"; however, his scientifically impossible concepts (like prescience and genetic memory) were staples in mainstream science fiction for many years.


Does anyone know a good fantasy book they can recommend? I read LOTR and thought it was okay but not mind-blowing, and tedious at some points. I have a copy of The Hobbit lying around but every time I try to read it, I get bored :(


If you want fast paced action I can't help you, but if you want a good (but very long, maybe four or five thousand pages, and at times somewhat tedious) Fantasy saga I'd recommend the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series by Tad Williams. It has very little magic, and no Orcs, so it was lower on cheese than most Fantasy. If you didn't like LOTR there probably isn't much hope for you though.

SandChigger wrote:Hyperion has flying carpets, too, but they're not magical.

Unless you mean in the "any sufficiently advanced technology..." sense. ;)


That was a major loss of points when I was reading Hyperion... I have fairly low cheese tolerances though. I could have done without the magic carpet.
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Postby SandChigger » 09 Aug 2008 22:20

Yeah, I wasn't overly fond of the whole Siri cycle, to be honest. A little too Fantasy Island without benefit of the funny lisping midget and tall glass of frosty FantaPop. ("Ricardo, I mean, Mr. Rourke, what's that suit made of?" "Why, reeeech Coreeeeethian Leddder, of course!") But the Hawking mat, as I believe it was called, didn't really bother me that much.

FREE-casting was the stretcher in the Cantos. But even that's an idea I've been familiar with since reading Simak's A Choice of Gods back in high school. ;)
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 09 Aug 2008 22:30

SandChigger wrote:Yeah, I wasn't overly fond of the whole Siri cycle, to be honest. A little too Fantasy Island without benefit of the funny lisping midget and tall glass of frosty FantaPop. ("Ricardo, I mean, Mr. Rourke, what's that suit made of?" "Why, reeeech Coreeeeethian Leddder, of course!") But the Hawking mat, as I believe it was called, didn't really bother me that much.

FREE-casting was the stretcher in the Cantos. But even that's an idea I've been familiar with since reading Simak's A Choice of Gods back in high school. ;)


The mat was just cheesy. The farcasters were necessary to the plot, I didn't really worry about plausability when reading the Cantos... there was so little of it anyways I figured it was best not to bother.
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Postby SandChigger » 09 Aug 2008 22:35

(I meant the free-casting towards the end of the series, not the farcaster portals/network. ;) )
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 09 Aug 2008 22:48

SandChigger wrote:(I meant the free-casting towards the end of the series, not the farcaster portals/network. ;) )


:? - I've only read Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion, is this something from the other two books?
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Postby mstrand » 09 Aug 2008 22:49

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember watching some show about old Sci-fi/Fantasy that stated that way back when both were catergorized under the Science Fiction category. It wasn't until later on when fantasy started to really define itself that it was given separate billing.

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Postby mstrand » 09 Aug 2008 22:50

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
SandChigger wrote:(I meant the free-casting towards the end of the series, not the farcaster portals/network. ;) )


:? - I've only read Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion, is this something from the other two books?


Endymion and Rise of Endymion finished out the series. People could free-cast at will.

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Postby SandChigger » 09 Aug 2008 22:58

Oops...sorry, Thang, I thought you'd read them all. :oops:

Quick...blame the new guy! ^^^ :lol:
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Postby Mandy » 10 Aug 2008 12:43

Anathema wrote:I personally found the bit about Dune interesting:
Frank Herbert's Dune novels are also classed by some as science fantasy, probably because his Arrakis dispenses with many (but not all) of the technological ornaments that conventionally mark a story as "science fiction"; however, his scientifically impossible concepts (like prescience and genetic memory) were staples in mainstream science fiction for many years.


Does anyone know a good fantasy book they can recommend? I read LOTR and thought it was okay but not mind-blowing, and tedious at some points. I have a copy of The Hobbit lying around but every time I try to read it, I get bored :(


I cannot recommend George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series strongly enough. It's epic, it's kick ass.. it's not cheesy flowery fantasy at all. The battles are amazing, there's sex, incest, rape, dismemberment.. lol everything. Very little magic, but it's kinda there in the background.

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Postby Spicelon » 10 Aug 2008 12:49

Anathema wrote:Does anyone know a good fantasy book they can recommend? I read LOTR and thought it was okay but not mind-blowing, and tedious at some points. I have a copy of The Hobbit lying around but every time I try to read it, I get bored :(


Haven't read all the posts after this one, but GRR Martin's A Song of Ice and
Fire
is very good.
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 10 Aug 2008 13:13

mstrand wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
SandChigger wrote:(I meant the free-casting towards the end of the series, not the farcaster portals/network. ;) )


:? - I've only read Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion, is this something from the other two books?


Endymion and Rise of Endymion finished out the series. People could free-cast at will.


With the power of their minds? Thats pretty lame.

SandChigger wrote:Oops...sorry, Thang, I thought you'd read them all. :oops:

Quick...blame the new guy! ^^^ :lol:


Not exactly a plot killer. By the time I get around to reading them I'll have forgotten this converasation anyways (I'm in the middle of five or six series, I read one then forget about it for months, then come back etc).

I might have to read this Song of Ice and Fire, Pardot and orald highly recommended it too.
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Postby Mandy » 10 Aug 2008 13:56

At the risk of being pelted with rotten fruit, I'd say it's better than LotR. It is much more exciting, fer sure.

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Postby Spicelon » 10 Aug 2008 13:57

The only BAD thing about ASoIaF: It's not finished, and GRRM isn't setting
any speed writing records, either. :(
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 10 Aug 2008 16:19

Mandy wrote:At the risk of being pelted with rotten fruit, I'd say it's better than LotR. It is much more exciting, fer sure.


I'll have to buy it and give it a go.
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Postby SandChigger » 10 Aug 2008 21:40

Four books in all, right?

At least that's how many I ordered back in June or so; haven't started, obviously, but then I'm polishing off the Banks' Culture novels first. Got a bunch of stand-alone stuff plus the Praxis trilogy...not sure what to get into next. May hold off on the Martin until fall, after the Pail of Dung hooplah dies down. ;)

Speaking of orald, where's he gotten to? He's commented on my blog the last two days, but haven't seen him around the boards. :?: :?: :?:
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Postby orald » 11 Aug 2008 11:06

Dune is neither. Dune is reality.
You've been expecting that, haven't you? :-P

A Thing of Eternity wrote:- every single thing is explained as science; even the really out there prescience.

What's so "out there" about prescience? I've been experiencing it(well, a very mild, totally useless so far version of it) personally since I was a little boy, for some 15 years at least.
In memory of Perach, who suffered and died needlessly.

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 11 Aug 2008 11:07

SandChigger wrote:Four books in all, right?

At least that's how many I ordered back in June or so; haven't started, obviously, but then I'm polishing off the Banks' Culture novels first. Got a bunch of stand-alone stuff plus the Praxis trilogy...not sure what to get into next. May hold off on the Martin until fall, after the Pail of Dung hooplah dies down. ;)

Speaking of orald, where's he gotten to? He's commented on my blog the last two days, but haven't seen him around the boards. :?: :?: :?:


I need to catch up on my Banks.

I think orald was unhappy with everyone's responses to his responses in the Isreal debate over at T(A)U.
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Postby Worm » 11 Aug 2008 15:15

orald wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:- every single thing is explained as science; even the really out there prescience.

What's so "out there" about prescience? I've been experiencing it(well, a very mild, totally useless so far version of it) personally since I was a little boy, for some 15 years at least.


Dreams while sleeping with your head on the pillow all snuggly in bed- don't count!

:P
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Postby orald » 12 Aug 2008 09:00

No, Orald was busy, a bit bored and about to explode on his co-workers and customers.
No, forget that, Orald still is about to explode on his co-workers and customers.
And no, no sexual innuendo intended. I just wanna slice 'em fuckers with a sharp knife all slow and good.

Mandy wrote:The battles are amazing, there's sex, incest, rape, dismemberment.. lol everything.

That's not a very good recommendation IMO, because you can find all those in practically every half-assed book.
The real difference to ASoIaF is the realistic nature of it all.
Also, prepare yourself for the unpredictable, hehe...just read Ser Gregor's 1-vs-1 scene again last night. :twisted:

Mandy wrote:At the risk of being pelted with rotten fruit, I'd say it's better than LotR. It is much more exciting, fer sure.

LoTR is seriously out-dated by now, IMO. It's too epic and mythological by half.
My 1st example would always be:
Legolas: Oh, no, Aragorn&Gimli, now that our companion Boromir has died and the hobbits scattered in all directions, what shall we do? Do we ride to rescue Merry and Pippin or guide Sam and Frodo?
Aragorn: Neither! We shall waste an hour or more by preparing Boromir for burial and make up boring songs while our friends get smacked around by smelly orcs and lose their way through the wilderness!
Gimli:I'm totally not jerking off on Galadriel's gift of hairs...
In memory of Perach, who suffered and died needlessly.



I wish I could have been with you that one last time.

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 12 Aug 2008 09:25

orald wrote:No, Orald was busy, a bit bored and about to explode on his co-workers and customers.
No, forget that, Orald still is about to explode on his co-workers and customers.
And no, no sexual innuendo intended. I just wanna slice 'em fuckers with a sharp knife all slow and good.

Mandy wrote:The battles are amazing, there's sex, incest, rape, dismemberment.. lol everything.

That's not a very good recommendation IMO, because you can find all those in practically every half-assed book.
The real difference to ASoIaF is the realistic nature of it all.
Also, prepare yourself for the unpredictable, hehe...just read Ser Gregor's 1-vs-1 scene again last night. :twisted:

Mandy wrote:At the risk of being pelted with rotten fruit, I'd say it's better than LotR. It is much more exciting, fer sure.

LoTR is seriously out-dated by now, IMO. It's too epic and mythological by half.
My 1st example would always be:
Legolas: Oh, no, Aragorn&Gimli, now that our companion Boromir has died and the hobbits scattered in all directions, what shall we do? Do we ride to rescue Merry and Pippin or guide Sam and Frodo?
Aragorn: Neither! We shall waste an hour or more by preparing Boromir for burial and make up boring songs while our friends get smacked around by smelly orcs and lose their way through the wilderness!
Gimli:I'm totally not jerking off on Galadriel's gift of hairs...


I'll read it, I'll read it. :)

Good to have you back, hope you don't kill those co-workers.
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Postby Secher_Nbiw » 12 Aug 2008 09:32

SandChigger wrote: I'm polishing off the Banks' Culture novels first.


cool. but is it just me or are they a little more fucked up than normal sci-fi/fantasy? I mean stuff like the ease and normality with which he broaches changing sex every five minutes or some dangerously witty AI's
I am a mortal god.


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