Sci Fi, Fantasy Lovers Unite!

Most Sci Fi/Fantasy lovers agree; our beloved genres take a lot of abuse from the general public. Whether it’s outright disdain for the genre, or a passive disregard for it, we’ve all felt the sting of having our great worlds, stories and concepts dismissed as fringe hobbies for “losers.”

But what if Sci Fi and Fantasy are already an integral part of our culture–so integral that people would be forced to admit their value? The World in the Satin Bag has a wonderful article about this phenomenon. Blogger Shaun Duke talks about “cultural literacy” (the shared knowledge set which members of a society use to communicate), and how SF and F have invaded our cultural literacy in the past few years.

Read Shaun’s post. Forward it to someone, Tweet it, or post a link on your own blog. It’s time to give SF and F credit where due, and it’s up to us to make people aware of it.




Filed under General Writing

6 responses to “Sci Fi, Fantasy Lovers Unite!

  1. I’m a fan of Sci Fi/Fantasy, but I wanted to point out that just because they are part of our cultural literacy doesn’t mean they are considered valuable (consider Nestle Crunch–a well-known candy bar that nobody really likes). In fact, using Shaun’s examples, Harry Potter and Twilight are often thought of as exceptions to the rule of sci fi/fantasy being for losers. And, while certain books may be gaining mass appeal, it’s not like any sci fi/fantasy books are being considered as serious fiction by book critics or award committees. The New York Times even created a children’s literature section to get the Harry Potter books off of its bestseller list. That said, it does seem like sci fi/fantasy are broadening their fan bases.

    Speaking of fantasy entering our cultural literacy, here’s one of my favorite examples from 1969:

  2. rachelhestondavis

    This is a very thoughtful response. Thanks.

    I agree that Harry Potter and Twilight are often seen as exceptions to the “sci fi for losers” rule. Of course, that’s often exactly how something gains mainstream importance…one successful exception at a time. The fact that they are exceptions does not make their contribution to cultural acceptance null and void.

    I think Shaun’s post addresses the other issue you’ve brought up; that sci fi/fantasy has mainstream acceptance but still isn’t considered valuable literature by book critics, etc.
    That is certainly a reality at this point; but if sci fi and fantasy continue to wedge their way into our society, that could change in the future. At least, I certainly hope it does.

  3. We should look at it the other way – if sci-fi and fantasy were mainstream a lot of people who enjoy sci-fi and fantasy would find some other way of escaping.
    Sorry, I love fantasy, and sci-fi is really enjoyable and I don’t really understand why so many spend so much energy putting down a gnere that isn’t going to go away. Thanks for the post and the links.

  4. I’m enjoying thinking about all of this. One thing that keeps coming up for me is the similarity between the perceptions of sci-fi/fantasy and romance. Cassandra Jade, your comment: “I don’t really understand why so many spend so much energy putting down a genre that isn’t going to go away,” could be applied to any of those genres.

  5. Dr. D

    Fantasy is the mainstream. The oldest known literary manuscript is the Epic of Gilgamesh. Realism is a johnny-come-lately. Remember, reality is just a crutch for people who can’t handle fantasy!
    But more seriously, basing our idea of something’s importance on popular opinion or public attention is the swine flu of our current culture – it’s rampant, and it’s bad! This week’s Newsweek cover is a prime example. We must keep asking, “What’s the real intrinsic value in this work?”

  6. My son always argued the point that it takes real imagination to write Fantasy and Sci Fi. I’m not generally a reader of these but I do intend to change that very soon. I would really hate to be missing out on something great.

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