Tag Archives: seton hill

I Want a Dragon: Why I Read Fantasy and Write SF

30 May

I’m in a conversation with my mentor about whether my thesis is Science Fiction-y enough, which got me thinking about the difference between the two genres.  

In my mind, the (probably oversimplified) difference is that while the cool speculative stuff in fantasy is caused by magic, in SF it’s caused by science or technology.  

I love reading fantasy. Guy Gavriel Kay, N.K. Jemison, and Neil Gaiman are some of my favorite authors. I like gods and magic and kingdoms. I loved Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, and Elizabeth Moon’s The Deed of Paksenarrion. I like going to a world where you can cast spells and fly and transform the world.*

But when I’m writing, I find I’m drawn to Science Fiction, and I think the reason is that technology is accessible to me, whereas magic, obviously, isn’t.  It’s like in the Dragonriders of Pern series, where it started out as a pure fantasy, but then we learn that the dragons are genetically engineered** and that was awesome. That means I could get a dragon! 

Science Fiction sometimes comes to pass. Fantasy generally doesn’t. So I like taking those fantasy elements that inspire me and finding ways to make them feasible.  

That said, I’m now looking at my thesis to see if I might make it straight fantasy.  So there’s that.


*Don’t get me wrong; I read a ton of SF, too. And literary fiction, for that matter.  

**It’s not a spoiler if the book came out over twenty years ago.

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