1. HBAdams
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    HBAdams Member

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    Abrupt genre switch mid-novel; fantasy ->sci fi

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by HBAdams, Apr 27, 2011.

    So my novel has been writing much like a fantasy story, and I've come to realize that when the first major plot twist establishes itself, it's going to jar readers from fantasy to sci fi.
    Is this a big deal?
    Will readers get disgruntled?
    Will publishers not want to touch it with a ten-foot pole?
    Is fantasy and sci fi distinguishable enough for it to really matter much?
    Am I just stressing for nothing?
    Will my questions ever end?! :eek:
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    What is it, exactly, that has transformed it from fantasy to science fiction?
     
  3. Mr. Blue Dot
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    Mr. Blue Dot Member

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    If you yourself think it's too jarring, then that might be a hint that something is wrong, but it's really hard to say much with out some more information.
     
  4. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    The reason why people tend to associate fantasy and sci-fi is because sci-fi is a fantasy where the 'magic' is explained within science, although the definition is typically stretched somehow.

    Like others said, however, it's hard to tell without more information, but as a general rule, I wouldn't say it's a problem. I've read and heard of many fantasy tales that end up having a more sci-fi feel to them, i.e., a magical system powered by a machine.

    My own fantasy tale has some sci-fi feel to it and many Japanese fantasy tales involve themes and concepts typically found exclusively in Western science fiction.
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Can you explain your plot a bit and say what factors caused the shift?

    And why do you think it's bad?

    If we were talking about boddice-ripper romance that suddenly started involving Terminator machines halfway through, people might complain, but fantasy to scifi doesn't seem like a big deal.
     
  6. HBAdams
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    HBAdams Member

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    Well, the novel as a whole reads as a fantasy world, pre-industrialization (great expanses of wilderness, nobility, horse riding, women in the kitchen, etc) where some humans have enhanced empathy. Towards the end its realized that the world is actually Earth long after humanity is all but destroyed by biochemical warfare. Due to hundreds of thousands of years of evolution (and in some cases mutation caused by the "apocalypse"), a lot of things seem magical... until it's explained.

    I'm not saying there's fairies and mind bullets (that's telekineses, Kyle!) and suddenly *BAM!* just kidding, space ships and light sabers. It's much more subtle, and definitely explained in a way that makes sense. I just want to make sure that sort of genre swapping isn't like, a writing faux pas that I don't know about.
     
  7. HBAdams
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    HBAdams Member

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    By the way, I'd buy this book in a heartbeat! :D
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    ^ Haha - so would I, now that I think of it.

    And your idea seems really cool. Really unique. I love it. Roll with it.
     
  9. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    This idea actually has been used in some stories before (not that you shouldn't pursue it, of course, just saying it's entirely believable if you write it right). For instance, an anime I watched a while ago, Scrapped Princess, begins as a seemingly stereotypical fantasy, but by the end the world is revealed to actually be around 7000-8000 CE, several millennia after a war with some alien race which won and trapped humanity in a matrix-ish environment.

    One thing I also want to add is that the line between fantasy and sci-fi is extremely blurry at times, a lot more than most people realize. In fact, personally, I don't like using the terms, because they tend to have very strong connotations - fantasy makes people think of pseudo-medieval stuff with dragons and magic, while sci-fi makes people think of gigantic spaceships travelling around in space, but most people who know better know of the wide variety of stories found in both genres. I like to use the term Speculative Fiction moreso, because it allows for other similar and often overlapping genres, like steampunk, to be included in the mix.

    Ultimately, point is, it's not an issue at all. How you write the story is the "problem" you have to deal with, not the genre.
     
  10. Norule
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    Norule Member

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    Its sounds like a good story and dont seem to be a problem with changing the genre abit, sounds quite alot like planet of the apes though xD
     
  11. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    That's the first thing I thought of lol.

    Honestly, I think if your presentation and flow are well developed then it shouldn't be too much of an issue to the readers. The only issue I foresee is trying to sell such a concept in a query letter. Some agents/publishers are sticklers for this sort of thing. They might care for sci-fi and not fantasy or vice versa. You just have to work a bit harder to sell it but there's surely someone out there who will be on the same wavelength.
     
  12. Yandos
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    Never has my stomach turned with so few words. (My imagination may have misread this.):redface:

    Rep points just for this.
     
  13. Jonp
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    Jonp Senior Member

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    My book actually has something very similar to that. Like, eerily similar. Doesn't matter though, I'll just have to finish writing mine before you :p

    My view on the whole genre switching/merging thing is it's fine if it makes sense in the logic of the world. However, a lot of people seem to be put of it. For some reason, fantasy is fine and sci fi is fine, but fantasy with aliens is somehow too ridiculous. Aliens with fantasy is commonly accepted though (see Star Wars, Stargate SG-1, which took fantasy influences and made them work in a sci fi world).

    That's more to do with merging than switching genres. If, for example, you had aliens show up half way though with no foreshadowing it would seem odd and out of place. I would say if you slip in a few lines earlier in the book hinting towards it, it would fit much better.

    Oh, and I only kept mentioning aliens as an easy example by looking at the extremes of each genre. As someone above me mentioned they can blur in a lot of places.
     

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