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Posts Tagged ‘science fiction

Hard Fantasy Indeed Pt. 2

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I’m having quite the discussion about Frederik Pohl’s commentary on the difficulty of research and writing with science fiction as opposed to fantasy, with my friend Shawn (Web Druid), over at the Terry Brooks Forum, feel free to follow along at this link.

Written by thebeliever07

August 7, 2008 at 12:43 am

Hard Fantasy Indeed

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Fantasy VS. Science Fiction

I was casually reading the news this morning and I stumbled onto this article over at CNN.com/entertainment: Arthur C. Clarke’s last vision. It goes on to discuss the last collaborative work that Arthur C. Clarke engaged in with his fellow contemporary writer, Frederik Pohl.  Clarke’s last novel is not my main focus in writing this particular posting, it’s the offhand commentary he makes.

Pohl said the type of work he and Clarke did was different from much of what is written today. He said that rather than delving into difficult subjects like astronomy, math and physics, young writers sometimes turn to an easier route by writing fantasy.

“Science fiction is sometimes a little hard,” Pohl said. “Fantasy is like eating an ice cream cone. You don’t have to think a bit.”

This is the type of commentary I’d expect from someone who does not read genre fiction to make. For someone who writes in genre fiction and writes in a genre which is consistently having to defend itself from critics who make derogatory claims similar to the one Pohl is making about fantasy, well I’m flabbergasted. Pohl has obviously not read the works of George R.R. Martin, or Steven Erikson or Terry Brooks. These are fantasy works that have casts of characters that span pages, that include the most complex of story lines. Genre fiction is much like any other type of fiction or literature, it has the same capacity for greatness as well as insignificance. There are writers who have the ability to push the limits of a genre into the epic and the grand, and those who simply reinforce tired stereotypes and/or common plots of a predictable nature.

A writer of your stature Mr. Pohl would do better to promote reading period, regardless of literary genre or type. I expect much better than this way of thinking Mr. Pohl, maybe you have spent a bit too much time in the science fiction section, I urge you to take a stroll down the fantasy aisle, there is plenty of “hard thinking” available, if one only looks in the right places.

Written by thebeliever07

August 6, 2008 at 5:59 pm