I recently encountered two instances of the same crime against Science Fiction; one was in a periodical, and the other on a blog. The crime was the inclusion of fantasy and horror on supposed “SciFi” lists. This is utter geek blasphemy!
It’s Science Fiction, Not Fantasy or Horror!
One specific example is the inclusion of True Blood in a “top 50 SciFi shows of all time” list. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy True Blood, but if you think it is SciFi in any way shape or form you should surrender your credentials immediately. Another example involved clips from 10 “SciFi” movies, with one of them being one of the Lord of the Rings films. Please, oh please explain to me which part of LOTR is Science Fiction? Was it the orcs? The wizards? The magic swords?
SciFi contains within it innumerable sub-genres, and while SciFi, Fantasy, and Horror can all bleed together at times, they are three distinct formal genres. If you’re talking about SciFi you can’t include anything that doesn’t contain a serious element of “science fiction”. If the world the story is set in doesn’t have any advanced technology, its not SciFi. You can include SciFi-Horror, like the “Alien” movies (although I’d argue they’re more Horror than SciFi) but certainly not something like The Exorcist… yeah, that was on one of the lists!!!
This screw-up isn’t something I’ve seen only recently. It’s a fallacy I’ve seen committed many times, even from supposedly reputable sources, or at least sources that you would think should know better. It just feels like lazy writing, or work by someone who isn’t emotionally invested in SciFi and doesn’t know any better. Maybe it’s simply just a hack job working with someone assuming the readers/viewers wouldn’t know the difference anyway. If you’re making a list of SciFi movies, who exactly do you think your audience is? Like they’re not going to notice?
Whatever the reason for it, it seriously burns my goat. You just can’t include Lord of the Rings in a list of Science Fiction. There’s just no excuse! If you’re going to make a commentary on Science Fiction you better be able to define the genre before you make a fool of yourself. If there’s one thing you can say about Geeks is that we know our particular areas of interest pretty well. Don’t try and pull a fast one on us. It’s like when famous or important people show how much they love Star Wars by giving the “live long and prosper” hand sign… they just look bad…