Walk through virtually any bookstore these days (though real-life bookstores are becoming few and far between), and more often than not, you’ll find science fiction and fantasy lumped together, as if they were virtually the same genre.
To be fair, on a surface level, this comparison holds true. For example, both sci-fi and fantasy stories involve imaginary worlds, strange creatures and forces beyond those that we experience in the “real world.” For this reason, the two genres also tend to appeal to the same sorts of readers, those who yearn for an escape from the everyday. But beyond these broad similarities, sci-fi and fantasy bear some key distinctions that most people tend to overlook or ignore.
You may think the need to distinguish between sci-fi and fantasy is a minor point, yet another example of the perpetual hair-splitting that typifies the world of geekdom. But when it comes to writing in either of these genres, such distinctions are vitally important.
If you’ve struggled to differentiate between the two genres, I’d like to offer five few general guidelines to direct your thinking in this area.
To read what those five guidelines are, you can find the rest of the article here. It's hosted by a website that represents my editing services.
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