Wednesday, May 25, 2011

10 works of science fiction that are really fantasy

There is a difference between science fiction and fantasy. "The boundaries ... have always been permeable," writes Annalee Newitz at io9, "but sometimes there's a story that feels just like scifi - until you think about it a little bit. And you realize it's pure fantasy."

Two top contenders from her list of SF that's really fantasy:
The Stand, by Stephen King, and The Passage, by Justin Cronin

They're basically the same book, except King's is more lively and weird than Cronin's. A plague hits the Earth that kills most people - in Cronin's novel (the first in a trilogy), the remaining people are turned into A) "vampires" who are compelled to obey the commands of a psychotic killer who is basically patient zero, and B) nice small town folk who begin to hear, psychically, the voice of a perfectly good little girl, who cannot age and remains in a state of innocence and love. It's the classic good vs. evil scenario, and the psychic powers feel more spiritual than scientific. In The Stand, the remaining humans are divided between those who hear the voice of a devil-esque guy in Vegas and a Jesus-esque lady on a nice farm. Both books depict a scientifically plausible end-of-world-via-disease scenario. And both go off into the realm of impossible fantasy and spirituality when they set up their good vs. evil plot structures.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue