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Fantasy vs Sci-Fi

Updated on January 27, 2014

Join the epic battle!

Fantasy or science fiction: that is the question. Here's where the giants collide. Spaceship or a faithful steed? Sword or laser gun? Elves or Martians? Lord of the Rings or Star Wars? Compare books and movies from both genres, then add your vote to the dispute.

Photo source one and two

magic forest public domain
magic forest public domain

But isn't that one genre?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! And if you persist in saying so - burn, heretic!!!

For reasons unknown, most bookshops put sci-fi and fantasy books on the same shelf, but it's like calling Antarctic and Sahara similar climate zones. Both genres belong to adventure fiction category - so they have a story, suspense, climax, characters etc., but after this they go in two completely different directions.

Usually it is easy to recognise each for what it is. Here's a VERY ROUGH guide for the uninitiated:


- it's happening in the future

- it's full of hi-tech gadgets

- it has a spaceship in it

- it includes space travel

- there are aliens

- or combination of any of the above



- there's magic in the air

- it's happening in the past

- adversaries fight with swords, spells or wands

- dragons show up

- there are elves, dwarves, trolls or other magical races

- or combination of any of the above


Photo source

1. Books

Vote for your favourite!

When it comes to books, which genre do you prefer, science fiction or fantasy? I'm all for fantasy (possibly because sci-fi books are not written by Terry Pratchett), how about you?

Books - sci-fi or fantasy?

See results

My choice

For me, when it comes to fantasy books (and I've read a few!) there's Terry Pratchett.

Then there's all the rest...

Do you like bedtime stories?


Since I discovered Discworld audiobooks, I haven't once gone to bed without a bedtime story. Wintersmith happened to be the very first one I listened to, and I chose to recommend it out of pure nostalgia.

It takes A LOT of talent to write a story to make both children and adults happy. Wintersmith achieves this goal without any apparent effort. There are witches, elementals, and a Goddess of Things That Get Stuck in Drawers. And a very special girl, aged thirteen. If you want to find out more, LISTEN!

Oh, by the way, Terry Pratchett's audiobooks were not as ass-kicking until he met (hired? invited? whatever they do) Stephen Briggs. Now it's an absolute perfection.


Fantasy giants wrote sci-fi, too

- C. S. Lewis

- Ursula K. LeGuin

- Andre Norton

Books by Douglas Adams

Nobody has sense of humor quite like him.

2. Movies

Vote for your favourite!

Ok, time for the movies now. Which one is better - sci-fi or fantasy? If you ask me - sci-fi rules, but how about you?

Movies - sci-fi or fantasy

See results

Where is Harry Potter?

Anywhere but on my list!

I'm freshly after watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and let me tell you - I haven't seen anything QUITE so bad in a long time.

So hey, how about The Crappiest Blockbusters Ever Award?

How Lord of The Rings should have ended

I was going to post the movie trailer here, but this cartoon is so much funnier!

Guess what? There are Discworld movies, too!

Made for TV, not the cinema, but it doesn't make them any less brilliant, just the opposite.

Sci-fi is for cinemas!!!

Let's be frank - sci-fi movies too often are weak story-wise and soooo cheesy. But when it comes to special effects - here's a section where movie guys can really show what they can do.

That's why you need that big, big screen and good quality sound system.

Big-bada-boom is thousand times better on a big screen.

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away...

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away...
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away...

Don't mess with sci-fi heroes...

...because they can kill you even with a tea cup

Something for Star Wars fans

Let the final battle begin!

Ok, it's time to make your choice. Be wise, because the fate of the whole universe may depend on your decision.

Or not :)

Sci-fi or Fantasy?

And tell me if you've enjoyed the fight

Say hi, Sir Knight/Startrooper (cross out the wrong one)

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    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thoroughly enjoyed this page. It's a bit of a walk back in time, as I haven't given myself time to read either scifi or fantasy in way too long. Thanks for the memories!

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      dannystaple 6 years ago

      @Edutopia: Kind of - both types often have a messianic quality about them. Star Wars - "He is the one who will balance the force", The Matrix - "He Is The One". Although perhaps The Lord of The Rings is different, was Frodo just unlucky, or was he the "The One"? If there is one thing I like about "Iron Man" - it is that he is not a messiah type, although he was already a rich king perhaps. Even Doctor Who has taken on a messianic theme.

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      dannystaple 6 years ago

      Ah - The genres are definitely different but the worlds of Fantasy and Sci Fi do collide relatively often. It all depends on how realistic, scientific you expect a story to be, or just how much fun. Think of that film 2012 (in your other lens) - great fun, special effects. Close to zero factual content. Many Sci-Fi borders on fantasy occasionally - some more so than others (I am thinking Charles Stross, Peter F Hamilton). Dr Who is most definitely fantasy dressed as Sci Fi. Star-trek has had god-like fantasy things that are not really Sci Fi (search for My little pony being Canonical in the Q continuum to see what I mean).

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      Edutopia 6 years ago

      Often times sci-fi and fantasy are treated as backdrops incidental to the story. Star Wars for example was just a story about a peasant standing up and taking down the king. No different from plenty of fantasy stories and those very same fantasy stories are just retelling of old stories that stayed the same while society advanced past them.

    • fefe42 profile image

      fefe42 6 years ago

      I love both scifi and fantasy and am annoyed when they are lumped into one genre. I really hate it when vampires are considered scifi :)