Thursday, April 16, 2015

Redefining Fantasy and SF

I'm close to inventing my own SF and Fantasy categories because I'm not happy enough with the current set. The definitions need to be more experiential. The list is neither complete nor definitive.

Straight White Male Fantasy - In this style of novel, the hero defeats his enemies and gets the buxom girl. It's all about being a straight white male and loving it. Expect many fight scenes. The sword is a phallic symbol. The winner gets to procreate with the prize female. Example: John Carter, Conan, Tarzan, Star Wars.

Straight White Female Fantasy - In this style of novel, the girl hooks up with the most self-willed male. These are mostly found on the indie scene.

Everykid Fantasy - The adults are out. The kids have to step up and set things right. The chosen one is a frequent motif. Example: Narnia, Hunger Games, Harry Potter.

Culture Shock Fantasy - Person goes to place X, where place X isn't anywhere on the map, and there solves problems. This may involve going through a portal or going to another planet. Same thing, different verbiage. You could easily change "magic" for "technology" without the audience realizing it. Elves or aliens, there's lots of misunderstand here. This includes just about every portal fantasy or "go to planet X" SF.

Coming of Age Fantasy - The protagonist grows up the hard way. Example: The White Dragon

Documentary Fantasy - It may be a fantasy, but it reads like a historical novel. The focus is on events of the day. At the end, there's no evil to slay. Example: Pern, Dune.

Horror - If things that went bump in the night were real.

Long Winded Fantasy - What there is, there's a whole lot of it. Detail world building is a must. Example: Wheel of Time, Lord of the Rings, the Iliad. The author is paid by the word.

Literary Fantasy - This stuff reads amazingly well. It satisfies your need for a really good story. The author most certainly isn't paid by the word. Has a significant chance of boring you. Example: A Wizard of Earthsea, American Gods, Urth of the New Sun.

Wimsey - This stuff makes nonsense. Example: Alice in Wonderland, Green Eggs and Ham.

Twee Fantasy - Fantasy that's mostly sweet and usually for kids. Example: The Wind in the Willows, Winnie the Pooh, Beatrix Potter.

Technology Fantasy - What can we do with technology? What will that lead to? Moral ambiguities dominate. This is pretty much hard SF. Here, the technology is just as much of a character as any of the characters.