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Science fiction = romance?

via kyubi

Doyle's SF Genre Rant asserts that science fiction stories are romances rather than novels, and that if we (fans of science fiction) think of them this way, we can stop apologizing for the ways that science fiction isn't like mainstream fiction.

Her definition of romance is "a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious".

I don't think "romance" is really the right name for what she is talking about, but overlooking that, I think she has an excellent point. On the other hand, her point is also somewhat overgeneralized, and if you consider science fiction only in the context of romance, you miss a great deal.

Seems to me this would be a great topic for a Wiscon panel (although I'm a relatively new Wiscon attendee, and so for all I know, it might already have been done).

[Edit] Yes, I suggested it as a Wiscon panel.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
scottscidmore
Dec. 20th, 2003 12:21 am (UTC)
"a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious"


That's an older definition of romance, before it was taken over by what became the current romance genre. While it may be too limiting, especially in that there is a fair amount of SF that is set in near contemporary (at the time of writing) settings. But it usually is heroic and adventurous. Perhaps romance or social commentary would be a better fit.

And it does sound as if it would be a good panel.

jodawi
Dec. 20th, 2003 07:16 am (UTC)
sf is superset of which mundane novels are subset. sosez me. apologizing is for infirm and the frogless.
abostick59
Dec. 20th, 2003 02:54 pm (UTC)
My reaction to reading it is, "Well, duh...!" Of course SF stories are formally romances. Debra Doyle seems almost to be belaboring the obvious.

Prior to Hugo Gernsback's marketing efforts, the genre of literature that came to be known as "science fiction" had been labeled as "scientific romances"; Jules Verne and H.G. Wells were the great literary proponents thereof.
womzilla
Dec. 22nd, 2003 10:39 pm (UTC)
That, of course, covers sf romances. It doesn't cover, say, 334 or The Crying of Lot 49.

Moby-Dick is a romance. But not all sf is.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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