Thursday, April 12, 2018

Cli-fi and categorizing terms -- a new genre is born: 2013 - 2113 -- an Oped by ''Ozzimadius Localarious'' a well known writer in some parts of the universe

RE: ''categorizing terms.''

They are either useful .....they mean something, they differentiate, they indicate an observable set of qualities...... or they are not useful .......they are too general, so that everyone's dog is nobody's dog....... or nobody can say what they mean exactly, or they don't indicate anything. "Allegory," for instance, is a literary term with a definable and limited meaning. A bat is not an amphibian.

Some folks don't like or dislike "botulism." It's a useful word. It means something. It differentiates. Botulism is not smallpox or a bad cough.

Sci-fi is a very general term, but most people now take it to mean other planets, aliens, and/or technology we dont currently have. Some use "Sci-fi fantasy" to mean those plus  dragons etc. 'Sci Fi horror" would be  aliens invading you via pods that then take over your body.  A lot of B movies of the 50s were like that. Sci fi, being about things that don't exist so far as we know.... War of the Worlds,.... is always pretty metaphorical and metaphysical.
"Dystopia" and "utopia" can be either Sci Fi......(unpleasant/pleasant societies in other galaxies.... or Spec fic ....unpleasant/pleasant societies here on Earth.

Speculative fiction is taken to mean "could do, here, foreseeable future, have the tech and the conditions, on this planet." Like 1984. No spaceships, aliens, or Star Trek hyperdrive tech involved. "Spec fic fantasy" with dragons would be a no-can-exist term. 

Both Sci Fi and Spec Fic are "thought experiments," as Ursula Le Guin says, when they have to do with the in-theory humanly possible. Space travel is theoretically possible in this way. When you add dragons and aliens not just evolved people, real aliens, she'd call that "fantasy." 

There are always quibbles over terminology. People have their sandboxes, and wish to defend them. But it's kind of like arguing about whether "polio" should be used as a name for a specific disease. Maybe it should be called "Infantile paralysis" -- but then, what happens when adults are affected? And isn't "polio" too much like a game played on horseback using a mallet? Maybe we could call it Iron Lung Disease. But not everyone who gets it ends up in an iron lung. And on and on into the night.

One of the functions of words is to promote meaningful discourse. 

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