When I was in my early teens I loved to read fantasy novels. I enjoyed Tolkien and some of the TSR series such as DragonLance and Forgotten Realms.
In my adult years, I have a harder time getting into fantasy. I prefer sci-fi now. One big reason is style. I’m tired of elves, orcs, goblins, halfings (hobbits), and yes, dragons. I’m tired of medieval style. On a deeper level, I don’t like the wildcard known as magic. Conceptually, for a writer or any other creator it’s a free meal ticket. Want to do something illogical? It’s magic!
Sci-fi writers, if on the harder edge of reality, need to work a little harder to justify and explain their concepts. I’m a little biased though. ;-)
Then you have properties like Star Wars which straddle the line between sci-fi and fantasy. When you think about it, Star Wars is a bit closer to fantasy than it is sci-fi. I’m inclined to think of sci-fi featuring deep explanation of alien cultures to be near-fantasy as well. It’s just so far beyond the familiar as to be literally fantastical.
In Food for Sci-Fi I lamented the lack of ‘Reality Sci-Fi,’ and I believe part of that lack is due to a lot of sci-fi being weighted towards fantasy.
If you were to picture the range on a scale it’d look something like this, although this is horribly simplistic and a hastily made graphic to boot.
The point is, which kind of fiction do you prefer along this scale? When I was thirteen, the far left would have won. These days it’s the hard right. I still can enjoy fantasy it’s just not what I seek out.
What’s your preference?