I consider myself to be a fan of science fiction, I even did an oral about it in elementary school (arguing that science fiction is valuable in social commentary and in inspiring new technologies). This last year I’ve been reading a lot of paranormal, urban fantasy stuff and I thought I’d try to get back in touch with the science fiction world by grabbing SCI FI magazine.
Almost nothing in this magazine could be classed as science fiction! My professor who taught me in the class Professing the Popular would argue that true science fiction fans call it SF and a magazine working in the genre would have known this and not used sci fi in their title. I think semantics like this aren’t overly important to many fans, so I ignored the outdated or amateurish title and bought it anyway.
Science fiction to me is something set in the future (can be near or far) and involves advances in science or technology that make the world unlike our own. Things like robots, space travel, cyborgs…. Creatures that appear paranormal can be included IF they became vampires or werewolves because of a genetic virus that is explained scientifically OR if they are from another planet and their biology is feasible within the expanded possibilities of science.
Here are the pop culture works explored in my copy of SCI FI magazine that seem to fit into this category:
- maybe Smallville
- Battlestar Galactica
- I am Number Four
- Spider Man
- True Blood (I think they treat vampirism like a disease)
- The Cape (looked like it would have been SF but didn’t have a chance to develop)
- Star Trek
- Chuck (I guess, but pretty low grade SF)
- Dr Who (I think, though I haven’t seen it)
- Mystery Science Theater
- The Twilight Zone
- Dark Skies
- Welcome to the Greenhouse (dystopian)
- Eldritch evolutions
- The Quantum Thief
Here are the ones that don’t:
- Pirate of the Caribbean
- Teen Wolf (unless there’s more to it than I realize)
- Scream 4 (I haven’t actually seen these so maybe there’s something to it?)
- Game of Thrones
- The Fighter
- Vampire Diaries
- Harry Potter
- Black Swan
- Tales from Earthsea
- Gulliver’s Travels
- Ghost Country
- Of Blood and Honey
- Queen of Kings
- God’s War
Up for debate
- Terra Nova (don’t know enough yet)
- The Event (I’m not informed enough)
- The Samaritan
So about half of the shows, movies and books discussed as “sci fi” are not science fiction at all. Many are fantasy, a genre often lumped in with science fiction (in libraries too I am ashamed to say) even though they are very different. I like both genres but just because they both are set in worlds other than the way our own currently is doesn’t mean that they should be together. I know many science fiction writers work with scientists to make their books very accurate.
So basically I beg Laura Cleveland, editor in chief of Sci Fi magazine to either change the name of the magazine or stick to science fiction, because based on the issue I purchased the title does not live up to its name whatsoever.