Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

A year or two (or three) ago, my dad gave me a book called How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. I didn’t exactly read it, but I did start it, and the entire first chapter was about how a writer needed to choose whether they wanted to write sci-fi or fantasy and then stick with that because publishers weren’t going to let you do both. (At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s about. My memory is a little fuzzy.)

I didn’t really think much about that, because I already knew–I was a fantasy writer. I grew up reading–no, devouring–fantasy books by the hundreds, and my foundation was fully built on them. My reading of fantasy books vs. sci-fi books was at least 100 to 1. So it was fairly obvious that that would be what I would write.

The only thing is, recently all of my ideas have started to lean toward the science fiction side of things. There’s the epic sci-fi, which is several books of sci-fi, first of all, and the last few short stories I’ve written are also sci-fi. Then I keep having novel ideas that are sci-fi, like Alpha Star, which is a sci-fi with intergalactic space travel, where a mother has to save her son who was taken from her.

Pretty much, all of my ideas that used to be fantasy related are now all slowly turning to be science fiction related.

I’m kind of thinking the only reason I want to write sci-fi is because it’s another “fantasy” to me, another place where I can create different worlds (discovered by space travel), different creatures (aliens), and a different “magic system” (technology). It’s certainly not because I know about science and have read hundreds of sci-fi books.

However, I don’t just want to give up fantasy and move to a new genre. I do still have ideas for fantasy novels, and I do still want to be a fantasy writer…partly.

So what do you think? Should I just write in one genre? Do I need to have read as many sci-fi books as I have fantasy to write it successfully? And is it possible for a writer to successful publish in multiple genres, or should they just stick to one?

I think I’m going to keep my options open for now, but I’d love to hear your opinions on the subject.

15 thoughts on “Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

  1. scatterbrainedseamstress April 9, 2016 / 12:48 PM

    I definitely don’t think you need to write as much sci fi as you have fantasy to be successful. You are an amazing fantasy writer and I don’t doubt your sci fi writing talent. I totally think it’s possible for a writer to successfully publish in multiple genres, it just takes time to adjust and write in that specific genre. I don’t know an author off the top of my head who’s published in multiple genres, but I’ll try to find one. You should write in the genre that YOU want to write in, even if it isn’t the norm to switch genres. I hope this helped :).


    • Lana April 9, 2016 / 9:31 PM

      Thanks, that does help! I’m glad you think that authors can publish in multiple genres. (I can think of one that has, but I’ve only read out of one genre of hers, so I can’t say whether or not she’s done it successfully…)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kellyn Roth April 9, 2016 / 1:45 PM

    You might look into steampunk. It’s technically a subgenre of sci-fi, but it often looks more like fantasy to me … though with technology. Especially since it’s usually set in a sort of Victorian world. Though it can be done in a medieval world, too, which is cool.

    I’d say: WRITE WHATEVER YOU WANT TO WRITE!!! That’s one of the best things about being a writer; you’re not forced to do anything you don’t want to! I mean, I started out writing historical fiction, but I’m also working on a fantasy/steampunk (it’s sort of a mix of both …) novel and I have an idea for a contemporary romance bouncing around my head. And then I should really look into finishing Caught in a Spell. And then there’s that horse-racing book I never finished … XD


    • Lana April 9, 2016 / 9:40 PM

      Ooh, I do love the idea of steampunk. Flying ships? Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. I may need to write a steampunk short story soon…actually, I think I will. I just need a plot to go with the setting.

      I know, I always have ideas from every genre too! It’s kind of fun to try new genres (though I’ve found I’m not very good at writing contemporary fiction).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kellyn Roth April 9, 2016 / 10:06 PM

        The book I’m writing now that has a steampunk-ish setting was originally supposed to be fantasy, then I wanted to add in some of the cool technology …

        And I’ve never really tried contemporary fiction. Not recently, anyway.


      • Lana April 11, 2016 / 5:34 PM

        Oh, cool! Is that your Progressors one? (did I even spell that right?) I stalked your cover contest thread a bit for that one, hehe…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kellyn Roth April 11, 2016 / 7:02 PM

        XD Yeah, that’s my Progressors one. 🙂


  3. Christine Therese April 9, 2016 / 2:20 PM

    I agree with Kell, write wherever your imagination takes you, write whatever you want to write! I, for one, am in the same boat as you—I’ve been a sucker for fantasy since the days of yore and now I’m leaning into sci-fi, more of the superhero fic type, though. But still. Sci-fi. And I also love sci-fi because I love science.
    I definitely don’t think you have to read a lot of sci-fi to write sci-fi well, though it probably will help. And writers, I think, can write in more than one genre and be successful. After all, C.S. Lewis did write sci-fi and fantasy. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote poetry, fantasy, and non-fiction. Marissa Meyer wrote/is writing fantasy (Heartless) and sci-fi. Don’t feel restricted to write in only one genre!


    • Lana April 9, 2016 / 9:48 PM

      Thanks for your support and the examples of the authors! I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who has a sudden leaning toward another genre. I’m going to try to read some more sci-fi, because I think it’ll help me write it better, and hopefully I can actually do some research on stuff…we’ll see how well that goes.


      • Christine Therese April 10, 2016 / 3:02 PM

        You’re welcome!
        Sounds like a good idea. Let me know if you find any really good sci-fi books! 😀 Good luck!


      • Lana April 11, 2016 / 5:32 PM

        I’m thinking of actually posting some book review-ish things to try to analyze them or whatever, so we’ll see how that goes…


      • Lana April 12, 2016 / 9:37 PM

        Thanks! I hope so too.


  4. Cait @ Paper Fury April 12, 2016 / 2:35 AM

    I don’t think you should just stick to one genre!! I know it IS true that publishers like to build authors by branding: so they want contemporary writers to write more contemporary and etc etc. It makes sense? They want to establish you as A Writer of Said Genre. *nods* BUT! There are always exceptions! I know Brandon Sanderson is a mega successful writer and writes epic fantasy AND I believe urban fantasy? And I just finished a sci-fi book of his!! So there’s definitely options. You should write what calls to you most. ;D
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!


    • Lana April 12, 2016 / 9:42 PM

      Ahhh how did I forget about Brandon Sanderson? Seriously, though, he’s one of my favorite authors, and I didn’t even think about him writing in multiple genres, but it’s true, so thanks for reminding me of that!

      Ooh, was the sci-fi book Steelheart? I love that series. (Although I love the Stormlight Archives more and the next book isn’t coming out until 2017 and aghhh but anyway they’re great too, if you haven’t read them.)


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