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Hugh Cook

science fiction fantasy fantasy
- brief notes -
genre fiction essay notes


These brief notes about science fiction, fantasy and fantasy are designed to supplement a rather long and discursive treatment of the subject which is also on this site.

The longer piece is aimed at those wanting to write science fiction or write fantasy or do creative writing in the tradition of fantasy.

If you want to stay with the brief notes, then read on:-

What is Science Fiction?


Science fiction is sometimes just an adventure tale featuring high technology (rocketships and the like). However, traditional science fiction (as represented by, for example, the American magazine Analog) is fiction which focuses on how a technically possible but (so far) imaginary innovation interacts with the human world.

What is Fantasy?


Fantasy can be defined as fiction which features a logically cohesive but patently impossible method of operating upon reality. Its key features include the fact that it is rule-bound. If there are no rules - if there is no way of making sense of what is happening, and no logical way to predict what might happen next - then we have escaped from fantasy into the world of surrealism.

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This essay copyright © 2003
Hugh Cook

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