The Instigator
InkSlinger4
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
beem0r
Con (against)
Winning
28 Points

Fantasy is Better than Science Fiction

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/7/2008 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,402 times Debate No: 3948
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (14)

 

InkSlinger4

Pro

Fantasy is better than Science Fiction because it is more flexible, so it can be more imaginative and creative, and takes the reader on a further, more fun trip. I also enjoy Science Fiction, I just don't think it's as good.

Thanks to whoever debates this, I'll respond more when the next argument is posted.
beem0r

Con

My opponent first claims that fantasy can be more imaginative and creative. Let us examine this.

First it is necessary to define what each genre encompasses.

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Definitions
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D1: Fantasy: a genre of imaginative fiction involving magic and adventure. (1)

D2: Science Fiction: fiction based on imagined future worlds portraying scientific or technological changes. (2)

(1) http://www.askoxford.com...
(2) http://www.askoxford.com...

I have one amendment to make to the definition of Science Fiction before we go on. Rather than being required to be set in the future, it just requires a futuristic setting. This is obvious if we look at Star Wars, which is definitely Science Fiction, but is set "A long, long time ago."

Speaking of Star Wars, it is also Fantasy, at least if we count Jedi powers as a brand of magic. Not that that's a very relevant point, so let's move on.

Just based on the definitions, both Genres seem as restrictive. Therefore, I cannot agree that fantasy "is more flexible, so it can be more imaginative and creative," as my opponent claims. I ask my opponent to show why or how Fantasy is more flexible if she wishes for this point to remain valid.

My opponent also argues that Fantasy takes the reader on a further, more fun trip. I have to disagree. I will agree that the trip is generally further - since magic is a lot further from reality than scientific or technological advances. However, this only works to distance the readers from the story, and works against the kind of immersion that really makes a story enjoyable.

That'll be it for round 1. Hopefully this will be a good debate, thanks for the interesting topic.
Debate Round No. 1
InkSlinger4

Pro

You have, in your argument, only aided me in mine. You have said that Science Fiction must be placed in a futuristic setting, but not necessarily in the future. Science Fiction must also be placed in this universe or world, with scientific laws in place.

Contrary to this rigid format, Fantasy may be placed in our world, our universe, other worlds, other universes, or all of them together, interacting. It may include futuristic technology, or be placed in a medieval period. It can be placed in a completely different society, or be a modern tale with magic included. It can be contemporary, a classic, a fake history... with Fantasy, the sky isn't even the limit, and we are taken on tremendously varied trips along with the stories.

They are particularly enjoyable as well because they can indulge our wildest dreams and make us think in ways otherwise thought impossible.
beem0r

Con

Science fiction must be placed in a futuristic setting, but it in no way must take place in our own universe [see: The One [a movie]].

Yes, scientific laws must be in place in a sci-fi, but the new technologies often allow us to break these laws.

For example, any space scifi. Faster than light speed travel is almost always present in films or books of this genre, even though science forbids such a thing. That is the beauty of science fiction - the "futuristic-ness" allows the author to break the rules of science, but in a meaningful way that does not leave the reader thinking how nonsensical it is.

Not only this, but scientific laws are in place in any story. In fantasy however, magic is used to bypass these laws, rather than made-up technology. There is very little difference between magic and made-up future technologies - the only difference is that magic makes people feel more separated from the story. The made up technologies seem possible, so they tend to not scream "THIS ISN'T REAL" to the reader/viewer. Of course, only certain viewers are bothered by this, but it is something to consider nonetheless.

My opponent claims that science fiction is MORE restrictive because it must be futuristic. However, I could just as easily call fantasy MORE restrictive because it must have magic. The real fact here is that they are both restrictions, and a good storymaker will have no problem in either of them. Granted, they are useful for completely different things. However, it cannot be said that stories about magic and adventure are better than stories in a futuristic setting. This, however, is exactly what my opponent is claiming.

My opponent also makes the point that fantasy stories "allow us to think in ways we never thought possible." But then, don't science fiction stories do the same thing?

In the movie "The One," which I mentioned earlier, the main characters are clones from separate universes, one of them being followed by inter-universal police. I would not normally think that possible, but "The One" manages to make that seem possible, at least while I'm watching it.

Also, while we're talking about The One, I've stumbled on another point. In the movie, some of the parallel universes are less technologically developed than others. This mechanism allows for not only a futuristic setting, but also settings of any type. It isn't limited to parallel universes, though. Space travel is a very common theme in Sci-fi. With space travel, any planet can be made up, with people of any sort, with any level of technological capability.

Moreover, magic-like powers aren't out of the reach of non-fantasy Sci-fis. I recently played a game called "Mass Effect" [there is a book, as well]. In it, there are biotic implants, a product of the futuristic technology of the time. People with these implants have "biotic powers" which allow them to do various things. They can throw objects they aren't touching, lift enemies in the air, put an enemy into 'stasis', make a damage-absorbing shield around themselves, create a sigularity that draws surrounding objects inward, and other powers.

The first difference is that sci-fi does not REQUIRE magic-like abilities, fantasy does. The second is that whereas magic works "because it just does", these sci-fi versions of it have an actual rationalization behind them.

Different people will obviously have differing tastes on these differences. Some might like the unknown-ness of magic, some might like the rationalization involved in sci-fi. However, it cannot be said that Fantasy is BETTER than sci-fi. It might be just as good. Even then, I'm a little skeptical, because Sci-fi makes a much better attempt at immersing the reader/viewer, since it does not inherently involve things that are inherently unexplained and absurd. I hold that they are AT LEAST equal, with Sci-Fi holding a possible edge in that regard.
Debate Round No. 2
InkSlinger4

Pro

In 'The One', I do admit that it includes other Universes- but it isn't set in one. That is the point I was trying to get across.

Your claim that Sci Fi is more believable than Fantasy is laughable. Do they provide any explanation in most Sci Fi publications for the, ahem, Fantastic technology? Not so, in many cases. In both genres, the reader must employ suspension of disbelief.

And while even you concede that Sci Fi must be futuristic, Fantasy is not nearly as confined by magic as you make it out to be. Vampire books only contain it in the slightest, as well as many mythical tales of other creatures. Some fantasy occurs in other worlds, but has no magic at all. Even if it does contain magic, though, it can be explained in many cases. One of my favorites, the Young Wizard series (you should read it) contains very detailed reasons as to why the magic works- indeed, sometimes the magic in that story malfunctions in ways.

And while this is, really, a mater of opinion, I still hold with my side. FANTASY is more immersing because it breaks the bonds of real-life, carrying you further from this world than that which is closely related to it.

Fantasy and Sci Fi are branches of the same tree- Fantasy, though, stretches further- Employing the imagination, carrying us far away from mundane thoughts, and enfolding us in worlds far beyond our own.

Thanks for debating.
beem0r

Con

Sci-fi does not have to be set in a high-tech society. For example, one could go through an interdimensional gate, be abducted by aliens to a low tech world, find some strange technology in ancient ruins, etc. These are just a few of the ways Scifi is not setting-restrictive.

My opponent argues that Sci-fi is not any more believable than Fantasy. However, let us look at words she herself typed: "FANTASY is more immersing because it breaks the bonds of real-life, carrying you further from this world than that which is closely related to it."
Fantasy does indeed break the bonds of real life. This only makes it harder for us to feel immersed in the story. Stories should indeed carry us away from real life, but in the sense of the action and adventure, not by employing concepts that are far-fetched.

There is absolutely nothing inherent in Fantasy that makes it better than science fiction. The existence of magic as a possible plot device is no point here, since A> something can be in both Genres, and B> Sci-fi alone gives the ability for magic-like abilities [see CON R2, this point was dropped by PRO].

Fantasy and Sci-fi both employ the imagination, just in different ways. Fantasy takes the easy route; rather than explaining why something ridiculous is able to happen [Sci-Fi], Fantasy just says "It's magic!"

My opponent also says that Fantasy does not require magic. Look at the point D1, in CON R1, and see otherwise. This definition was never argued, and no other definition was put forth.

Fantasy and Sci-fi are jsut two ways to tell the same type of story. One requires one thing, one requires another. And magic probably alienates people more from the story than futuristic technology. The important point of a story is the emotion conveyed through the characters, the change in the characters, what we learn from these characters.

Just as some people might like the use of magic in a story, others like the use of technology. Neither Sci-Fi nor fantasy are likely superior, thus I negate the resolution.

Thanks for the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by awesome 8 years ago
awesome
I prefer realistic fiction.
Posted by zdog234 8 years ago
zdog234
"he who throws mud loses ground."

And when will you respond to our debate?
Posted by smilingsoprano 8 years ago
smilingsoprano
Good debate!

InkSlinger4, I was a bit put off when you called beem0r's arguments "laughable." I do not feel that such insubstantial mudslinging constitutes proper debate etiquette.

Otherwise, it was a very well-conducted debate. Both sides addressed the arguments clearly and concisely.

Personally, I'm a fantasy fan, but I feel that beem0r covered all the points more thoroughly. Maybe we could debate it sometime . . .

Thanks for a great debate!
Posted by candygirl_s 8 years ago
candygirl_s
I could find it soon in my book... but ya know, i can't vote for either. They're both good!!
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
I agree, one of the few I have no problem losing.

They never said that? Now I need to know why that phrase is so widely used. And I'm too lazy to do a google search. Someone remedy this situation ASAP.
Posted by InkSlinger4 8 years ago
InkSlinger4
You know, they never actually said the words 'beam me up scotty' in that show? Good debate, by the way.
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
Science fiction can solve such problems with some ridiculous technology, though.
Beam me up, scotty!

Largely, it's a matter of taste. Some people, like yourself, prefer laws and explanations. Some people prefer magical plot devices. This would put Sci-fi and Fantasy on equal ground, which is on my side of the resolution anyway. [I just had to show that Fantasy was not better.]

Then there's the point about immersion, which could only push it more to my side, since my opponent didn't argue that immersion is easier in Fantasy.

Sci-fi and Fantasy both break the laws to the point of creating whatever impossible possibilities they want. Sci-fi just does it with technology instead of magic.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
The problem I have with fantasy is the lack of limits.
At any point, whatever conflict or problem that arises can be solved by some kind of magic.

Science fiction on the other hand has laws. This is good. It means logic and boundaries exist which allow for meaningful suspense.
Beemor said as much in a slightly different way.
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
They can overlap, but they're distinct. See teh definitions.
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
Can't they technically be considered the same?
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