Talk:Science fiction/Archive 5

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  1. October 2001 - March 2006
  2. April 2006 - May 6, 2006
  3. May 6, 2006 - Sept 18, 2006
  4. Sept 18, 2006 - Dec 27, 2006
  5. Dec 27, 2006 - Jan 22, 2007
  6. Talk: Jan 22 - current

SF In Popular Culture Section (EDIT: See talk at bottom of page)[edit]

Specifically the Film section- it appears to have taken it upon itself to list all popular Fantasy films aswell. While Fantasy and SF have a strong connection, this is the article on SF in particular- we really don't need to dilute a list of SF films with films from a different (if similar) Genre. I mean honestly, would anyone here argue that Pirates Of The Carribean 2 or Toy Story are really SF?! I'm going to cull the list, but I'll make a copy of what I remove here, in case some editor can think of a good reason to reverse it. 14:57, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

* Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and sequels
* The Lord of the Rings film trilogy
* Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
* Toy Story
* The Wizard of Oz

Sorry, that was me, not signed in. Also, I've been quite lenient, leaving in all the comic book films and other "maybe Fantasy, maybe SF" films in. Its just the obvious non-SF thats being culled. Patch86 15:02, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Note to all Editors of this article[edit]

SF fandom has frequently served as an incubator for special-interest groups which originally coalesced within it and then split off to form organizations or entire subcultures of their own. Examples include the Society for Creative Anachronism, the L-5 Society, LARP gaming, Furry fandom, and anime.[citation needed] SF fandom also has close historical links and a large population overlap with the hacker culture,[citation needed] and has been a significant vector in the spread of both neopaganism and libertarianism.[citation needed]

This entire section is pointless and unprovable, and could cause a war because of its blantent opinion. If anyone does not provide evidence of this, then I shall delete it from the main acticle because, as previous editors have noted, the page is crowded enough. Thank you for your time --WngLdr34 03:25, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

hello there Wikipedians, I have gone through with my threat, and the content in question, Imortalised above, has been erased. I just am lettng the world know so that I am not accused of vandalism or the like, nbut I was just cleaning up the article WngLdr34 21:34, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

The section is hardly unprovable; the history of most of the branched fandoms clearly goes back to science fiction fandom and conventions. However, detail is perhaps more appropriate to the article on Science fiction fandom. The deleted paragraph was somewhat redundant. I added mentions in an earlier paragraph, to be concise. Avt tor 18:52, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

What I meant to say is there were the statment about hacker culture =!- Sci-Fi fans whic when said sounded odd withouth proof, even an article in some magizine (Which I suspect is a older Vouge Issue I shall check on that) Is bad, since to a newbie, this would seem like truth. Since when have neo-Paginism been spread by Sci-Fi? I could argue that for fantsy, but the only "Big" Sci-fi series with Gods listed are MABYE Dr. Who novel fluf, Star Trek Deep Space 9 with its Pan wraith saga, Stargate franchise, and God Emperor of Dune. Libertanism I know has been spread by some si-fi novelests, but I am drawing a blank to names... --WngLdr34 00:37, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

What do you mean "since when have neo-Paginism been spread by Sci-Fi?" <sic> Have you ever been to a convention? Do you know any neo-pagans who don't have a connection science fiction fandom, at least peripherally? Fandom is where these groups get organized in the first place, and it remains a primary communication and recruiting channel for all of these other groups. Avt tor 22:19, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Anecdotally, and to some extent from experience, I agree with this. But it's disputed and needs a source. I don't think it can be included without some kind of reliable source being found. Metamagician3000 09:14, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I do know such neo-pagans, as a matter of fact - but then I am in Sweden where sf fandom is rather marginal (and there are only one or two conventions every year). I agree that fandom has been a "significant vector in the spread of neopaganism", though. (Most poly people I know, in Sweden as well as in the UK are also sf fans, for that matter.) But... that's got nothing to do with science fiction, it's a fandom thing. --Bonadea 16:36, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
As the history of science fiction shows, fandom itself is relevant to science fiction, which is why the fandom page is summarized as a section here. Ideas that come from science fiction spread through fandom and back to other science fiction authors. The four-paragraph section in the science fiction fandom article on offshoots and subcultures got summarized down to a single sentence in the main science fiction article. The neo-pagan reference, while relevant, wasn't quite relevant enough once the main article was summarized. Avt tor 19:22, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

External Links, Yet Again[edit]

I see that the External Links entries, after weeks of extensive discussion and what appeared to be a consensus, have been essentially deleted almost in toto, and with no entry I can find here on the Talk page. Being only casually experienced as a WP contributor (meaning that though I've touched many articles on diverse topics, I've never run into conflict before), I looked at the article on Wikipedia:Resolving Disputes, and found the observation, in boldface there as well as here, Do not simply revert changes in a dispute. It further admonishes us to discuss disputed changes on the talk page. The discussion of this topic began at least a month ago, and went on at some length. After reading one contributor's go ahead and edit the article, I waited a full week to see if anything further would appear; as nothing did, I committed the long-discussed changes. Several days went by with a few comments and some further changes, modest in scope, by other hands than mine. Now we have this.

I am not going to replace the uprooted material yet because I daresay it would be pulled again just as quickly, but I'd like some advice. Was my interpretation of the process faulty? I began on this Talk page, and did nothing till it seemed that there were no outstanding problems of consequence. Are not major changes--such as a reversion to one external link for a major topic--supposed to be consensus? Is it the consensus of stakeholders here that all external links are spam, and that a single reference to dmoz is all a major article needs? I have no desire to be a bad citizen, and will appreciate advice from old hands here. Owlcroft 04:04, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

I've reverted the complete wipeout, and put an invitation on Fenton's talk page to discuss the matter further here, where it belongs. I really don't think that there is much fancruft there, and indeed I'd like to add a link to; but first, do no harm. --Orange Mike 16:31, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
You quote "Do not simply revert changes in a dispute." - that is exactly what you did by re-adding them, and so they have been removed (again) with a link to the ISO left. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 16:34, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
I've re-added the link to SFWA since it isn't a spam link and it is an international organization, despite MetthewFenton's reason for erasing it.Shsilver 20:10, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

1) Just what is the spam that you are disputing, MathewFenton, that caused you to revert the spam-cleanup notice, specifically?
2) It might be a good idea to have separate Talk subpages for discussions on External Links and on Definitions / Introduction. Hu 21:25, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

All of the spam, I guess the ISO link is okay(ish) though. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 21:54, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

You are not being specific and you are not explaining. I'm taking the tag out again, since all the links there now are sites full of carefully considered cogent material that is respected and useful and interesting to people who want to know more about science fiction or read more. I suggest that you leave the tag out, and if you really feel that it might be needed, identify specific links that you feel are "spam" (define your meaning of "spam" while you are at it) and what it is about those specific links that make each one spammish. We have gone some distance to remove links that might be considered spammish and might agree to remove one or two more if you can make a really good case, while at the same time considering introducing some others that meet the criteria of usefulness and general interest. So in this case, the ball is in your court to explain. Hu 22:04, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

They are all spam and fail WP:EL. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 22:12, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

They are not spam and you are not being specific. Here's a plan to make it a little easier for you. Pick one link and identify how you feel it fails specific elements of the WP:EL page. 22:21, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
WP:EL#Links_normally_to_be_avoided - pt. #1 - #13. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 22:26, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

You are not being specific. Are you incapable of being specific? Why are you being uncooperative? Why do we have to drag out of you bit by bit your objections?

You claim it fails all 13 of the criteria. It passes the first criteria which makes it sufficient to include. Specifically, the hundreds of links contain therein to public domain science fiction writings are not links that would be included in a featured article because they are too numerous, so using the Gutenberg link to point to them is fit and proper for a featured article. The site is not "spam", the project is not "spam" and the public domain fiction is not "spam". So that specific link meets the criteria for inclusion: wide general interest and usefulness such as would be appropriate for a featured article. Hu 22:37, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Do you have a WP:COI, perhaps? You say it passes #1 ("# Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a Featured article.") - what does it provide except downloads? - there are tons of PD download sites.. why is this one particularly encyclopaedia worthy (also be civil, cheers.) thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 22:43, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I don't think he claimed it failed all 13, but it definitely fails #13; it is not symmetrically related. To add a couple more: I would say the SFWA link and Locus look should be removed -- the article could plausibly link to the WP articles on those, but not to the external links. I also think the Harris link should go -- there's nothing there to make it worth linking directly to instead of via a directory. The Google link is inappropriate; though one directory might be a good idea, picking a highly specific and detailed subdirectory such as e-zines is not appropriate for the main sf article. I don't regard these links as spam, but I don't think they belong in this article.Mike Christie (talk) 22:45, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

No I do not have a conflict of interest and it is a diversionary tactic to question that I might have one, especially since you give no evidence to create a suspicion that I might have one. Further, I have been civil, while your questioning COI without a shred of evidence is not particularly civil and may count as a personal attack. However, what we are really interested in are the issues and it has taken Mike Christie's example of how to directly address issues. We are interested in resolving the issue so it is reasonable to ask why we have to drag specific objections out of you, Matthew, as a way of prodding you to provide specifics, instead of you simply slapping the tag on without explaining. The record on this is clear. You slapped the tag on and didn't explain. We asked for explanation, and you responded without explaining by talking around the issue and slapping the tag back on. We asked again for explanation and you were not specific. It is only after further requests that you have been partially specific. Hu 23:22, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

You are right Mike Christie, MatthewFenton was not being specific, he simply said "#1-13" without specifics. Thank you for providing some actual points for discussion.

  1. The Gutenberg link is symmetric. The article is about science fiction and the link provides science fiction. It is hard to be more symmetric. Further, there are lots of generic download sites, but the Gutenberg project is a specific well-organized and well-respected project and the site in question is clearly organized and provides public domain science fiction, not generic downloads. The External links section is a service to direct readers to a large resource that provides information about exactly the subject of the article.
  2. The SFWA organization is probably the most important organization dealing with science fiction, so that is symmetric. They offer one of the top two or three awards in SF and they support people who create science fiction, which directly and vitally related to the article Science fiction.
  3. The Locus group are the oldest and largest and most respected group that are bibliographers of science fiction. They deal directly with science fiction. People interested in reading science fiction and reading about science fiction are well advised to go to that site.
  4. What you call "the Google link" is not a Google link, it is a DMoz link, the open source directory, a concept entirely synchronous with the Wikipedia idea of having people submit and other people review (sometimes the same people). Once again, it is a large useful filtered resource of broad interest to readers of the Science Fiction article.
  5. The Harris link is analytical in its essays and lists and provides a perspective of general interest to readers on the topic but the analysis is too large to include in the article, hence we provide the link to the Harris site as a service.

I agree they are not "spam", which is the name of the tag that MatthewFenton wants so much. Hu 23:22, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

To PeregrineFisher, who has been invited to discuss the issues here, but has not done so even though sufficient time has elapsed, and has replaced the spam-tag again: just because a page has an invitation to join, doesnt' make it spam. Wikipedia has a similar invitation right at the top of its page ("anyone can edit") and that doesn't make Wikipedia spam either. Hu 23:33, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Let's take this link by link. Starting with SFWA: why would we link to the external site when we can link to the SFWA article on WP? The presumption is that readers will want to know more about SFWA (after all, we are an encyclopaedia), not that they will want to go to the SFWA site. I think a link to SFWA is fine from the SFWA article -- and in fact there is a link there. Why do we want a link to SFWA outside the SFWA article? Mike Christie (talk) 00:19, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Technically you could make the case you have regarding the SFWA link (still doesn't make it "spam"). However I think 3 to 7 external links are helpful (another objective of this encyclopedia), so I'm inclined to keep the link until replaced by a good link. Let's see what some other people might add to the debate. Hu 02:41, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

I'd agree with Hu. I'm not entirely convinced of the specific sites linked from here, but I do think SFWA and Locus have some merit. I'm not entirely convinced by the dmoz or James Wallace Harris links. Shsilver 02:51, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Let me put in my two cents about some link candidates on an item-by-item basis, which--I hope and believe--is the way everyone wants to see it done.

The Open Directory: has anyone looked at this page lately? I myself originally included it on the ground that dmoz is High And Holy, but in reality this particular page's listings (at least) suck toxic waste through a straw; I would be inclined, after all, to omit it.

The Ultimate Science Fiction Web Guide: as noted, encyclopedic but obsolescent. I am ambivalent: inclined to keep it owing to its size, inclined to drop it owing to its being increasingly out of date in a fast-moving field. But it's hard to snoot over six thousand links to science-fiction-related pages as a resource for newcomers.

The SF Site: this is a must-have link; the question is whether it should be here or at See Also, linked to the corresponding WP article; but a glance at the current See Also list shows that (besides now bordering on risibly over-long) it is category-oriented, not site-oriented. I would thus keep this here pending some revision there.

SF Hub: I am not well familiar with this site, but a quick glance suggests to me that it is over-specialized for a link at this top level; but others seem to think it important and I would defer to them.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America: Reading Lists: the point that seems to have been missed is that this is not a link to the SFWA but a link to its "Reading Lists" page, which seems overwhelmingly obvious as a wise place to refer visitors to the main article. Let me dilate, as this point comes into play on several further candidates:

The WP page "Science Fiction" is, or certainly should be, designed as an access point for visitors who have little or no familiarity with the field; it seems obvious that inquirers who do not fit into that category are almost certain to already be searching WP for more finely particularlized topics. The main article will thus rightly be an overall introduction to the field--as it more or less is, with defects that are not germane here--wrapping up with a list of destinations within and without WP to which those wanting or needing further enlightenment should be referred. The distinction of "within" or "without" turns on the existence or lack thereof of a reasonably complete discussion of the sub-topic within WP. But one sort of "within" that will never exist, owing to WP's own (and perfectly reasonable) code, is that of detailed, particularized reviews and similar material--which is, in fact, what we are talking about for several of these candidates. A visitor comes to the WP article "Science fiction" and learns enough to want to pursue the topic; who can doubt that a paramount need in that article, then, is one or more resources suggesting reading in the field, where the suggestions are something more than a publishing current-events page (as most of the magazine sites are) or some fancruft slop? To not provide at least a few reading lists with some degree of credibility is virtually criminal. One obvious starter, surely fitting the description "with some degree of credibility", is the list that the SFWA has assembled.

Classics of Science Fiction
The Complete Review
The Scriptorium
Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works

That lot seems to me--and, in full disclosure, I remind all that I maintain one of them--to be, along with the SFWA list--not just the cream of the review crop, but really pretty much all of the credible merit-based review sites. But the five listed (including the SFWA) can and should be evaluated on their individual merits by discussion here. The question once raised here of where does one draw the line on review sites seems clear to me, and the list above is just that, above the line; but others may have other criteria.

Gutenberg Australia SF Project: I think the issue here is that there are a good half-dozen sites offering free on-line works (there are many more--the Wikipedia:Digital Library article, though to my eyes a bit messy, includes quite a few, though it seems--at a hasty look--to omit some); the ones I know of can be found here. I think what's wanted is an edit of the Wikipedia:Digital Library article, or a new article on SF On-line free reading, that would point to all the significant resources.

P.S. added later: the appropriate Wikipedia link would appear to be List of digital library projects: Literature/Science Fiction, to which, I reckon, PGAustraliaSF ought to be added (though there is, of course, already a main entry for PGAustralia itself).

Littera Scripta: whether this page on collecting sf books should be linked at a lower level, I can't say; I recommended it because it seemed relevant and not covered elsewhere. Someone who knows something about the topic could either start a new article (if necessary) or link to an extant WP one if there is such for the topic.

SF Lovers: I don't feel I know enough to offer a useful comment; others thought it worth listing and I have no complaint.

Locus Online: I would not include this, inasmuch as there is a link at See Also to On-line science-fiction databases which article (actually Bibliographic_database#Internet_Speculative_Fiction_Database, which includes a reference to Locus).

So for the candidate list by item; now for a general thought or two. The applicable portions of published WP policy on these matters were quoted extensively and verbatim (and more than once) in the earlier discussions that have now been (thank heavens) archived off, but I reckon everyone remembers them; and no one ever showed how or why the quoted material--which was not selectively extracted--not only failed to disallow but effectively endorsed the addition of useful links of the sort being discussed here. It could all be quoted here again, but how many times must we repeat the same things? Why do we suppose there even is a routine heading External Links?

On its very front page, WP calls itself the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. It does not call itself the free encyclopedia that no one can ever edit if even one person disagrees with the edit.

Such are my comments on a particular set of link candidates. Owlcroft 08:14, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

(Added a P.S. at the Gutenberg Australia link discussion.) Owlcroft 11:17, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Please see the second note at the See Also heading farther below this area; it relates to the free-online-reading links. Owlcroft 08:19, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Having touched up the See Also links (see that discussion, below), I am preparing another go at the External Links. I have discussed these above, and in prior messages, so I won't further discuss the choices, save to say that a few that I propose to now drop are, I believe, covered by those See Also links--but if anyone disagrees, please say so here.

What I propose to end up with is:

Further General Science-Fiction Information:

Reading Lists and Critical Reviews:

And, since none of those sites is any obscure secret, I also propose to remove the spam warning. Owlcroft 12:13, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

No. There are still way to many. Need I remind you Wikipedia is not a link farm? thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 12:43, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
I would agree to removal of the Spam warning, as far as I can tell, and from his refusal to elucidate beyond saying that "Wikipedia is not a link farm," MatthewFenton would appear to believe that every single external link on Wikipedia should be labelled as Spam. Shsilver 13:10, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
I like the above list. A good number of links, and all of them look useful. Saying "too many" and "Wikipedia is not a link farm" is not a useful argument. KarlBunker 15:11, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

(Back to no-indent level.) Curiously, Wikipedia has an article explaining what a Link farm really is. And it bears zero resemblance to what we are discussing here. Mr. Fenton: the Wikipedia article on External links has been cited here at great length, and clearly supports the sorts of links being discussed, and most especially the critical-review sites, which are inherently not Wikipedia material, yet are resources of potential value (whether actual equals potential is a matter to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and will depend on the utility and interest of the site to the typical visitor to this article). You appear to have a dogmatic opposition to External Links anywhere in Wikipedia--will you not explain for us in some reasonable detail what the basis for that opposition? I, for one, would like to see your issues discussed on the merits: but you do yourself no favors by denying us, and you, that opportunity by setting forth only blanket condemnations that amount to "No, no, I won't have it".

The WP:EL--to re-hash just the highlight--says, at What should be linked [internal emphasis added], "Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article, such as reviews and interviews." (It also refers to "Sites that contain neutral and accurate material that cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to . . . amount of detail . . . or other reasons.") Further, if one looks at the other list, the 13 non-nos that you yourself cited earlier, it is clear, point by point, that none of the candidates breaches any of the 13, not even the last.

It is my intention to cut in the changes as fully set forth above in another day or so, unless I see a gush of opinion differing from what has already been set down. I suggest that if anyone sees major problems, they explain them here in some detail rather than just wait and do a revert. Owlcroft 03:40, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Owlcroft, I really don't think we have consensus here. It's clear to me you're arguing in good faith, but it also seems clear that Matthew Fenton and I are unconvinced by your arguments. There appear to be four or five people who support more external links to some extent. I have to admit that I find your habit of writing long sections in support of your arguments difficult to deal with; I only have so much energy to expend on Wikipedia, and reading and responding in detail to your thoughts would take a great deal of that energy. So I have tended to pick specific points to respond to, such as my earlier selection of the SFWA link as an example of an external link we don't need.
We had a discussion of the SFWA site in progress (further up the talk page); Hu and Shsilver responded. Your subsequent responses again were very long, and there was no substantive discussion of that particular link thereafter. You did make a good point, which was that the SFWA reading list was a good reason to link to that site. The issue of linking to readings lists is worth discussing. But can I suggest that if we truly want to reach agreement here, we stick to the issue of that one link until we reach consensus on it or give up trying? I think this is the best way to avoid revert wars. Once we're agreed on that link (which may take a while, as not everyone posts daily) we should find that subsequent discussions go more quickly. Personally I feel that linking to reading lists is not worth it; a link to a directory that lists such reading lists might be suitable, though I'd tend to prefer linking to that directory higher up, at the global SF coverage level. Mike Christie (talk) 13:11, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
I am of Einstein's opinion: "Things should be made as simple as possible--but no simpler."
In any event, it's not "that one link"; it is, as you say, "reading lists" that is the crux. The question was why would we link to the external site when we can link to the SFWA article on WP? The presumption is that readers will want to know more about SFWA (after all, we are an encyclopaedia), not that they will want to go to the SFWA site. That presumption is correct as stated, but incorrect as applied to the particular SFWA page of Reading Lists.
My view, always, is consider the visitor. Despite some leading evidence of prevailing opinions to the contrary, I still cling to the belief that the proper purpose of a Wikipedia page is being of maximal usefulness to the typical visitor, not being a running scoresheet of games played between editors.
I think it beyond question that the typical visitor to this page will be relatively (or completely) unfamiliar with science fiction. Anyone already conversant with the field will be going direct to some more detailed page (or, of course, might be coming here looking for leads to such more-detailed pages). That visitor reads the material here, which is necessarily high-level and thus quite general. He or she is interested, intrigued; a need is felt for follow-ons to some more particular material. The See Also section helps (we all hope). But--as has been pointed out for now-numberless times--it cannot lead to things like detailed reviews (much less broad critical surveys) because those are expressly (and wisely) excluded from Wikipedia.
Surely one of the very first questions a visitor here turned on by the general information on this page is going to ask is "Well, then, what can or should I read to sample the field?" Whence an answer from within Wikipedia? Rhetorical question: answer "nowhere", necessarily (as just explained).
All that is an argument I am amazed needs making, so obvious do I consider it. Now a reasonable question on which folk of good intention can disagree is which lists are good places to send beginners? I have suggested five which, in my experience, constitute the entire answer. Others may disagree with some of those five, or have others to add. But I feel strongly that each of those five here will do visitors a useful service, and that none will do any least disservice.
With which parts of that do you disagree? Eric Walker 07:50, 4 January 2007 (UTC) (finally figured out how to get my name here instead of my id)
Right. Four days, no further comments, up she goes. I also moved the Commons and Wikibooks boxes to the See Also section, as they seemed more internal than external, but if that is procedurally wrong, I expect someone will fix it. Eric Walker 08:20, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I haven't done research to comment on notability of every link added, but I agree in general. Discussion should (a) be posted here and (b) be link by link, not wholesale deletion. I have restored Owlcroft's edit. Avt tor 08:57, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Quick note re Locus: yes, it is a major resource, no argument; but there is a link at See Also to science-fiction databases on line, at which target there are two Locus links. Mind, those are to the database, but I think that the importance of Locus at this high a level of discussion is its database. If, however, anyone feels strongly that it should be separately linked here, I have no problem--I'm just explaining what my thoughts were. Eric Walker 04:53, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Matthew Fenton has single-mindedly taken up vandalising this entry - even though he has shown absolutely no ability to qualify his position, other than "links are spam". His contributions are also focused on TV shows, which probably explains why he has no idea what constitutes a quality science ficiton and fantasy resource in the literary genre. People like Matthew Fenton beg Wikipedia to have a complaints procedure to help limit the damage individual editors whom overreach their expertise do to Wikipedia.

Genres, subcategories, and topics related to science fiction[edit]

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Main Article link under See Also, whose anchor text is the title of this area, having remained dead-end through two broad hints on this Talk page, I undertook to do something about it, and the link now reaches a real page.

I am not proud of the page, which is a hasty cobble-up, but it does seem to me as or more complete than the existing Topics page, which in any event is just that, Topics, and not Genres/Themes/Topics. In my cobble-up, I linked to the existing individual pages on Genres, Themes, and Topics, but--as that last seemed awfully incomplete--also provided a new list of "Topics" articles and Categories. Some most Helpful Soul jumped in before I had even finished (possibly losing me some text in an edit conflict) to point out that there is that existing Topics page (of which I was aware, as I linked to it there), something that has nothing whatever to do with a page for the link here to point at.

Anyway, for better or worse, there is now something at that link. If anyone views it with horror or disdain, please, by all means, feel free to do whatever you like with, to, for, or about it: I put my time in, now I'm outta there. Owlcroft 10:54, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

P.S.: Perhaps it's now time to clean up this article's overlong See Also list, but I'd prefer not to get involved in that just now, and not out of laziness, either. Owlcroft 10:57, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

(But, as can be seen, I did anyway--a glutton for punishment.) Owlcroft 10:34, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

See Also[edit]

It appeared, to me at least, that that area had become seriously over-crowded. It is not, and I daresay should not be at this level of abstraction, a complete or near-complete list of science-fiction-related pages on Wikipedia, of which the full number is huge. My criterion for placement was which articles and categories seemed most likely to be of immediate value or interest to someone just beginning an acquaintance with science fiction, which sort of person seems to me the far and away the most probable visitor to this main page. I am not married to either any of the insertions or any of the deletions, and do not intend to further intervene in any subsequent changes here. I only suggest that changes be made with the idea of keeping the links in that section to a low number, each at a fairly high level of abstraction with respect to the overall topic science fiction. An article on self-powered vehicles would scarcely have a direct link to an essay on the Chevrolet Nova. Owlcroft 07:39, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

I have added the PG SF Shelf and the PG Au SF Project to the WP article on digital libraries at Science fiction, and have correspondingly added a link to that heading of that page in the shortened See Also lists here. I believe that that materially reduces or, really, eliminates the need for those to be on the External Links list here, but have left them pending others' thoughts. Owlcroft 08:17, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

I have now materially condensed the See Also lists, having looked at each link again and having tried to consider each from the point of view of a novice. I think it important to keep the number of See Also links small, else they lose value and become an unfocussed laundry list.

I did this also in part to prepare for some work on the External Links list. I wanted to be sure that if I pare something from that list, it is provided for in a short, useful See Also list. I will add some comments in the External Links Talk section about that. Owlcroft 11:55, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Revision in progress[edit]

Please review the draft in progress at Talk:Science fiction/Draft revision. It is important for each section to be clear, concise, relevant, and reasonably comprehensive, but not all detail from the existing article should be saved; some of the detail should be moved to subordinate pages to keep this summary page readable, in an effort to comply with WP:SIZE. Avt tor 18:38, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Have made significant progress on the draft revision. Comments, input, even edits welcomed. This draft will be completed soon and will replace the existing page unless there are significant objections. Avt tor 17:05, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
draft revision is nearly complete, with only two subsections remaining to be done. Feedback to date is appreciated. I am interpreting silence as tacit approval, so will likely be uploading the new version later this evening. Avt tor 00:34, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Copied the overlong section on "Science fiction and fantasy to Talk:Science fiction/Section (old):Science fiction and fantasy, along with the unlinked references, for later use by editors if needed. Relevant material should here should be incorporated into the (shorter) article on Science fiction and fantasy. Avt tor 03:25, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Okay, it's done and posted. Avt tor 03:41, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Several relevant sections previously ignored have been incorporated, making the article slightly longer. Most of the new material is summarized from related (section main link) pages. Avt tor 03:43, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Both See Also and External Links are gone. Was that intended to be more or less permanent, or is putting them back part of the revision scheme? I don't want to just drop them back in without knowing what's what. I also have some concerns about the new lists of works and of authors: I'm not sure it's wise to try to present such lists here at all, especially abbreviated ones, when there is an awful lot of room for argument about what constitutes "most influential" or "great" or "major", or even of what the criteria for such classifications might be. I should think that that sort of thing is the very reason external links are important--so that readers can be exposed to a broad variety of full-length examinations of what works and authors are "great" or "major". I'd be strongly inclined to see those entries cut back to mentions of the major award categories, with WP links and/or a reference to See Also and External Links for further discussions. Eric Walker 10:03, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Re "See also" and "External links": As recommended in the previous version of this article, these links have been incorporated into the body of the document itself. The online resource links have been moved into the "Online Resources" section, under fandom on the Internet. In my view such links belong at the bottom if they are relevant to the article as a whole, but all the old links seemed to fit better into sections of the article. This is not an objection to future links relevant to the old article. And if people want to pull them out of sections and move or copy them to the bottom, that's up to the community of editors.
Re the lists: I believe the purpose of this article is to provide a useful overview of the subject. For criteria, I have cited references and/or included comments within the Wikicode. So I am supporting Notinasnaid's second option below. However, note WP:OWN. I have offered text to clean up choppy prose, added sections that were useful, and done some research, because I found the old version awkward and difficult to use. Beyond that, I am now but one of many with opinions as to what is relevant and useful. I think if people agree this information is useful, it will be practical to maintain it, but as to whether it is useful or not, that's subject to consensus. Avt tor 11:20, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree: lists of "major" or "notable" become fan magnets for driveby editors: I have seen this in many articles. There are four possible solutions: ad hoc strict policing of the list according to whim (not ideal); defining the criteria for inclusion - in such a way that the list remains pretty short and enforcing that; spawning the list as a separate article (which does nothing to solve the problem or improve Wikipedia, but gets it out of sight of irritable editors); or dropping the list. I favour the last. Both lists (books and authors). Notinasnaid 10:08, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Bear in mind it will be a constant battle if this list remains and it is not to just grow exponentially. I already did one today. Also the removal of what are always good faith edits can have a disillusioning effect on potentially promising editors. Notinasnaid 11:23, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
The two things that bother me deeply are these. First, listing the sites shown under Online Resources and References under the heading Fandom on the Internet (itself under the broader Fandom and Community umbrella) is shocking; I don't think a one of those links is "fandom" in any sense whatever. Second, I repeat that the listing of a handful of books and authors in lists denominated "great" and "major" is unwise; "major" is perhaps a little less dangerous, but "great" is just asking for trouble.
I suggest replacing #4 in the current ToC with a heading something like Notable Authors and Works, then including, as subheads 4.1 and 4.2, a brief list of (4.1) authors and (4.2) of works, each carefully labelled "some notable" whatevers (with the notes on how and why these ones are listed), followed by a new 4.3 listing "some critical surveys of science fiction" (contents as long since set forth).
That would not pick up the links now at 6.4.1; those, I think, need to go at the bottom after all, inasmuch as the "links belong at the bottom if they are relevant to the article as a whole" criterion seems--to me, anyway--to clearly include at least 4 of the 5 now listed (perhaps the e-zines link could go elsewhere in the body).
I will see what others say here, but am itching to cut these changes in asap.
Let me also stop to say that this major revision is a heckuva lot of hard work well done, and many pats to its authorship. Eric Walker 05:04, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
I'll just explain my own perspective on the parts that I edited to help people understand, not that my view is definitive.
The reason I included specific lists of noteworthy SF books, authors, films, and television is that if I were explaining the field of science fiction to someone unfamiliar with the field, I would really want a specific list of things to refer them to, not just verbal generalities. That's my opinion, so I invite others to say what they think about this. As to the specific lists; I was heavily influenced by the Locus polls and the film lists cited. (There isn't nearly as good a list for television, so I relied mainly on longevity.) There is a Schroedinger-esque effect that the Locus polls work quite well as authoritative lists as long as we don't officially grant Locus editors or readers the right to proclaim such things. However, I am fairly reluctant to name any of these sources as the definitive criterion. If the consensus believes these lists are useful to the article, then I believe consensus can also confirm or reject specific entries the usual way of discussion on this talk page (so basically, the anon editors slapping in their favorites without discussion will be reverted, and people will discuss the serious suggestions seriously.
As for the short list of links in 6.4.1... it happened that as I was reorganizing the page, most of the links moved out of the "See also" and "External links" section, leaving me only with a short list of links that was harder to classify. Of those, the one I recognize as noteworthy is the Locus Online link, an online resource by fans for the benefit of fandom, so I created a subsection for these. This was certainly intended as a provisional draft. I don't claim expertise about the other links, so if someone else had a better idea of what to do with them, I could hardly object.
I don't think reviews or review sites or lists per se are notable by themselves. What makes SF Site, Locus, and SF-Lovers notable is the large community of people who contribute to and rely on thse resources; the quality of these resources is as much an effect of their popularity as it is a cause. Again, just my opinion. Hypothetically, it might be appropriate to create a subordinate article about science fiction reviews and criticism where the lesser-known links would be more relevant, perhaps.
Short version of this if, if you feel like rewriting someting, feel free. :) Avt tor 07:55, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
I see someone has already replaced the lists with links; I'd not have gone that far by myself, but so be it. I have slightly jiggered the presentation of the Locus link to--I hope--better fit under the "Authors" head (on my system, it looks aligned with the "main articles" line, but if it's cocked up on your display, feel free to jigger it some more). I also expanded the sole SWFA link to what I think are the leading critical-assessment sites available. Not so big a change after all, at least from how I found things.
Also: I would like to suggest a page of my site as an external link under the Art heading, but I'll leave that up to everyone else, in that here's the link-- Science-Fiction and Fantasy Art--and if anyone thinks it worth adding, please do it. I will not do it myself, for the obvious reasons. I think it's a neutral but useful page, but let others decide. Eric Walker 11:42, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

First sentence in revision[edit]

I think the intro sentence in the revision is an improvement, but it's rather convoluted. I also think it should mention the fact that most sf takes place in the future. Here's the current revision first sentence:

Science fiction is a broad genre of fiction in which the setting, characters, plot, and/or themes involve speculation based on discussions or theories found in the science.

And here's my suggestion:

Science fiction is a broad genre of fiction which often takes place in the future and usually involves speculations based on current science.

From a legalistic point of view, the word "current" is completely unnecessary, but I think it helps the flow of the sentence. KarlBunker 11:27, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Speaking only for myself, I am broadly amenable to any reasonable definition of science fiction which refers to "fiction" and "science", and I approve of clarity. Avt tor 12:08, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

"Mainstream" SF[edit]

I mentioned in the "mainstream" section that Phil Dick wasn't published as mainstream until late in his career. That datum was deleted for size reasons, with a note that it should go in the subsidiary article; but there is no subsidiary article. What do we do here? I could write a long article about the mainstream delusion that "this isn't sci-fi, it's literature (i.e., non-crap)"; but it would reek of PoV!!!! --Orange Mike 21:59, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

I understand the problem. I'm sure your comment was accurate. I feel guilty (a little).
I intend to slash and burn the Conventions section (that I worked so hard on) to something much smaller, time permitting; The page is still about 10-20KB longer than it might be. The purpose of the rewrite was to address the issues in the GA to-do template. The reader part of me is fine with the length of the article, but the writer side of me wants to fractally compress this to a smaller word count without loss of meaning.
If I may make a suggestion, you could step back a bit and perhaps create an article on "science fiction and mainstream fiction", similar perhaps to the Science fiction and fantasy article. I would consider this useful and filling an existing gap. You could simply discuss the relationship between science fiction authors and novels and those in the mainstream, maybe talk about people like Michael Crichton, Margaret Atwood, whatever. If you feel a particular opinion is informative in the article, instead of just writing what you think, find a writer with a pithy quote (it can be one you agree with), and use that. It doesn't have to be a big fancy or well-thought-out article; write a short paragraph, stick a stub template on it for now, that's fine. It would make perfect sense to use a main template to link to whatever you (or whoever) might want to put together. Avt tor 22:14, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
If anyone creates an article like this, they really must read and cite The Span of Mainstream and Science Fiction: A Critical Study of a New Literary Genre by Peter Brigg, which is the best scholarly study I know of the topic and pretty up to date. However, they should also take into account the extensive review and critique of it published in the New York Review of Science Fiction # 210 (February 2006). Disclaimer: I have some interest/connection here. OTOH, I also have some expertise here. Metamagician3000 00:28, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I do not claim knowledge in this area, so I defer to others. Avt tor 00:35, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Bluntly, if I did it, it would be a long sneering rant in the Cordwainer Bird tradition; totally unencyclopedic. (But can you give me a cite for the Brigg book, Mm3K?) --Orange Mike 00:38, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

The Span of Mainstream and Science Fiction: A Critical Study of a New Literary Genre by Peter Brigg (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Co, 2002). I don't have the ISBN handy - I have a copy of the book somewhere, and could dig around and locate it, but my shelves are in a mess - but I imagine the book would be in a lot of uni. libraries and/or available from Amazon. I actually think that Brigg tends a little to fall into the no-true-Scotsman fallacy - in this case, "no true sf book has literary qualities". But that does not vitiate the worth of the entire book. Metamagician3000 01:18, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Don't mention the evil that is A*****! (I work for an independent bookseller.) I can find it on WorldCat, which tells me we have a copy a few hundred feet from where I'm working, in the UW-Milwaukee library! --Orange Mike 03:48, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I'd think any article on this topic should touch upon Kurt Vonnegut's "On Science Fiction" (New York Times 1965-09-05, reprinted with modifications in Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons). While it is certainly not a comprehensive source, it provides an anchor point for clarifying what the SF/mainstream relationship was in the 1960s, and studying how much (little) that relationship has changed in the decades since.
Plus, it's by Kurt Vonnegut, and he's a funny man. Anville 14:31, 13 January 2007 (UTC)


This article lists Jack Kerouac as a speculative fiction writer. I've read quite a bit of Kerouac and never have I seen anything that remotely resembles speculative fiction. Burroughs I'll go with you on, but Kerouac seems absurd. Eric Rosenfield 02:15, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

The section History of Science Fiction is simply a summary of the article History of science fiction. I suggest your question go to that talk page; any changes that emerge that affect this page should then cause appropriate edit here. (That's a "shrug, heck if I know.") Avt tor 04:54, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
The History of Science fiction page's only reference to Kerouac is "With the help of Jack Kerouac Burroughs published The Naked Lunch," which is factual and does not make the claim that Kerouac himself was a Science Fiction writer. That being the case I think I'll rework the sentence on this page unless there are any objections. Eric Rosenfield 19:28, 15 January 2007 (UTC)


I came here looking for information on the US TV Channel Sci-Fi, and actually had to follow two links from here to find it. Perhaps the redirect notice on the top should mention it, or at least the Sci Fi Channel disambiguation page? At the very least, I updated the link in the television section to point to the right place instead of being recursive.--GauntletWizard 14:42, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Interesting. Okay. Avt tor 15:48, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Noteworthy films[edit]

The following films were restored to the list of noteworthy films, for the reasons stated:

  1. 4 worldwide box office, four Hugo award nominations (one for each film)
  1. 2 worldwide box office, three Hugo awards (one for each film), eleven Academy Awards (tied for record)
  1. 3 worldwide box office, Hugo nomination for earlier film
  1. 32 Vanity Fair greatest films of all time, Hugo nomination
  1. 11 Vanity Fair greatest films of all time, #6 American film institute greatest movies

Note re the above: per the Hugo nominations, fantasy clearly should be included, as stated in the section intro, so none of these should be specifically excluded just because they are fantasy.

The following films were removed from the list of noteworthy films, for the reasons stated:

not discussed on talk page

not on anybody's list of best or best-selling films (well, maybe Wired magazine...)

Main reason for reverting these was simply the lack of discussion. I'm actually reconsidering. Avt tor 16:18, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

I did make a discussion, at the top of the Talk Page. Of course NOW I'm remembering my etiquette that new Talks go at the bottom of the page (doh)......oh well :P
Woops, my bad for not noticing this; I usually go through the page history change by change. Sorry. Avt tor 15:47, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Didn't just change without discussion though, so no fear, I'm not going to get into a revert war or anything. As I said above, putting Fantasy films on a list of influential SF is silly- Harry Potter, Toy Story and The Wizard of Oz really has nothing to do with the Sci Fi genre, legendary and influential films or not. As for the 2 I added (mostly to repopulate the list a bit) Blade Runner was a Hugo winner, insanely popular, and the first of the prolific Philip K. Dick's many adaptations. Brazil has frequently been rated as one of the most influential British SF, but I'll do a bit of looking first and report back here. Patch86 01:36, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Well according to Wikipedia's own Brazil article, Total Film magazine named it 20th greatest British Film of all time, Time magazine had it in it's unranked list of 100 best films of all time, UK Channel 4 had it voted as one of its 50 Films to See Before You Die, and (as has already been mentioned) Wired magazine called it it's 5th greatest SF movie. True that none of this is a Hugo award, but it's still a measure of greatness. Not that I'd argue if there are serious objections about it, but I personally think it's worthy. Do you personally object? 'Tis worthy of debate! Patch86 01:46, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

After further consideration, I have added Blade Runner. 1983 Hugo winner, #10 on IMDB list of top-rated SF films (by users), seminal work influenced and helped define the entire cyberpunk literary genre (per William Gibson and others). I have removed Toy Story; on second thought may not quite have met the same standard of notability that the other films listed have met. Avt tor 16:22, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
I do not believe the fantasy films listed above should be included. This article is at pains to distinguish fantasy from science fiction, so it just muddles things. The list is correctly labelled, but why the label? The Hugo nomination is a red herring, since Wikipedia says "The Hugo Award is given every year for the best science fiction or fantasy..." Notinasnaid 20:04, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
I'd second the exclusion of fantasy films (or books for that matter) from an article on SF. Pace whatever Hugos have gone to fantasy films, the World Science Fiction Convention is not the arbiter of genre classification. Blade Runner and Brazil, on the other hand, are clearly science-fictional in intent and imagery and motif. As to whether the latter is "noteworthy," I suppose we can discuss criteria for inclusion. (This list-making stuff always descends into advocacy for one's own favorites--better to cite other lists--award-winners, critics' picks, box-office successes, and so on.) On a slightly different matter, I wonder about lumping comic-book films with straight SF--I know that the motifs they use are often science-fictional, but they have always struck me as having their own set of protocols and that the overlap with SF is not as significant as, say, the conventions of secret identities, strange powers, and such. I'd call the whole comics/pulp (e.g. the Shadow, Doc Savage) world contiguous with SF but distinct from it. Of course, I'm revealing my own biases here, but this is another place where it might be useful to plant a boundary marker and point to separate articles rather than trying to be the final word on all things even vaguely related to SF. (After all, where's the section on space toys and tin robots?) RLetson 00:08, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
While on Wikipedia such questions belong to consensus, I have a few comments:
  • The article refers to two definitions of SF: the narrow definition (which excludes fantasy, etc.) and the broader definition (synonymous with "speculative fiction", which include as subsets fantasy, horror, superheroes, magic realism, etc.). Both definitions are valid in the context of this article, as long as they are clarified in context.
  • The World Science Fiction Society is the arbiter of genre classification in this case. ;) Seriously, if you go to almost any science fiction convention, fantasy is an integral part of the program, it's just a category within the broader field.
  • In movies and television, the audiences for (narrowly-defined) science fiction, fantasy, superheroes, and related genres essentially completely overlap--viewer preferences very much tend to be show by show, not by whole genres--so the boundaries are not as firmly defined in films and television than they are in books.
  • Regardless of the content of this list, I am starting to resign myself to the fact that in order to make this a "good article", the lists have to be chopped out to meet WP:SIZE. <sigh>
Not that my opinion is worth more than anybody else's. Avt tor 01:45, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Fantasy and SF are distinct categories of Speculative Fiction (which has its own article, if you wish to talk about speculative fiction). This article is about SF, not fantasy (and the article on fantasy is about fantasy, not SF). Otherwise we might aswell just merge the SF, Fantasy, Horror, Alternate History and Cyberpunk articles (among others) in to one. Presuming we do not want to do this, we need to keep a sense of focus- keep the Science Fiction article focused on SF, Fantasy article focused on fantasy, and use the speculative fiction article to bridge the gaps. Patch86 01:51, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Here's a thought: so as to avoid getting into a long and protracted debate as to what is SF (something many academnics and authors have been struggling with for decades) lets just agree to this: all the films on the list must appear on this list. If its not on that list (such as, for example, Wizard of Oz or Pirates Of The Caribbean), then we'll assume that in Wikipedia's eyes it is not science fiction. Does that sound alright? I am going to make said change, but as always, feel free to revert pending discussion. Patch86 12:34, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
You're right that academics and authors have been struggling with this topic for decades. In such cases, it's appropriate to explain points of ambiguity so that the reader can (a) make their own judgement and (b) understand what other writers may mean by a term.
Taking note of the apparent majority opinion, an editor should be reluctant to revert to their view more than once (which I've already done). I agree that this should be a summary so I agree that the debate can occur on a subordinate page. Avt tor 15:45, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
The article is about science fiction. That is a much narrower category than whatever is covered by the Hugo Awards, which, despite their name, have always included fantasy. There is no plausible definition of science fiction according to which it includes The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Metamagician3000 13:46, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
"Plausible" is POV. Some hard SF authors and editors would say it just the way you have (certainly John Campbell would have and Rob Sawyer pretty much still does), but many authors and certainly publishers and fans have a definition of "science fiction" in which "fantasy" is a subset. Certainly the fans who voted for Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings as best works of science fiction would be using this definition, and statistically they have been a majority of the voting sample. (If you don't agree, the place for the discussion is at the business meeting of the World Science Fiction Society.) Avt tor 15:45, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

It would be highly point of view to claim that fantasy is a subset of science fiction. Tne more common view that one often sees expressed is actually the other way round: that science fiction is a branch of fantasy with technological trappings (Terry Dowling certainly thinks this, as one example, but I have seen many reputable people express this view, without having citations handy for its original provenance). Northrop Frye actually science fiction as part of a return to myth (I disagree with both Dowling and Frye, but their views are notable ones). I actually think that the relationship is far more complex than anything discussed here. How fandom does things with the Hugo Awards is not relevant: having run (with a couple of others) the academic tracks of two world science fiction conventions, I know a fair bit about fandom and how it interacts with the academic side of the study of sf - I cetainly know enough to know that fans are generally happy for the Hugo Awards to embrace fantasy, but don't seriously think that fantasy and sf are the same thing or that one is a subset of the other. I have never seen any serious science fiction scholar claim that vsst range of work covered, in practice, by the Hugo Awards relates only to science fiction in the strict sense.

Really, we should be reporting on what is known about science fiction, as assembled by people who have studied it in a scholarly way. We should be giving most weight to the views of the leading scholars and theorists, such as Darko Suvin, rather than getting caught up in interpreting the implications of how fandom does things, or in developing our own theories. Metamagician3000 12:57, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

And if we want a view very different from Suvin's, the obvious place to look is in the body of theoretical and critical work published Gary Westfahl. Metamagician3000 13:01, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

"I said burn it! Burn everything!"[edit]

(My favorite SF quote, and (boo-hoo) the movie isn't even listed under "notable films")

I propose that the "Science fiction in media and culture" section be removed completely, and replaced with a list of links to other articles. Sections like this are nothing but a trash can for collecting the favorite movie/TV show/game/trading card/comic book/ad pukeum of every passer-by. And every alternate passer-by is going to delete his least favorite whatever from the list. It's just a source for endless strife, discord and garbage-accumulation, so why not palm that off onto other articles like Science fiction films? KarlBunker 15:08, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

I understand the concern, but I strongly believe that reference sources should be developed with an eye for utility to the user, not the creator(s). I think it's the job of the editors who care about this topic to ensure the article's accuracy and integrity from the predations of drive-by wankers.
That said, I think the definition of what's relevant and important is subject to consensus/majority opinion. I think a newbie needs a good reference list of the best works as a place to start. But the article is long and the lists could probably be separated out to distinct pages. Avt tor 15:45, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Though I myself characterized the problem as being mainly drive-by wankers, that isn't the whole picture. Newbies aside, I don't see how there can ever be consensus on this these lists. I'm not a newbie, and think the current movie list is hooey. No Forbidden Planet? Superman is included? And Back to the (ugh) Future?? You can argue the list is based on such-and-such references and criteria, and people will just counter-argue that different references and criteria should be used. KarlBunker 16:18, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
A few comments:
  • I think box office is a relevant criterion. (Forbidden Planet was a great movie, but only geeks have seen it. Superman and Back to the Future are iconic in their categories. Like them or not, tons of people are familiar with them; these define the vocabulary in which we discuss other works in the field. The relevance of box office is that science fiction is significant to our culture because so many people are exposed to it through movies and television.)
  • I think the list is very useful to newcomers. It may belong on a separate page (or different lists on different pages).
  • If we agree that there should be a list with some criteria, then the group can discuss the criteria, and then individual editors can maintain the list on the basis of criteria representing the consensus of the group.
I try to write in a coherent and logical way, but ultimately my list of titles and criteria was just a suggestion. I hope that my suggested list has helped clarify the discussion, at least. Avt tor 18:00, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
The single biggest step in getting Cyberpunk to FA was moving all the lists to the "list of cyberpunk works" dustbin. Anville 20:42, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Speculative fiction[edit]

The assertion that "speculative fiction" is an umbrella term covering SF, fantasy, horror, and related non-realist genres needs to be examined more carefully. The only place I have seen it explicitly referred to in that sense is in the Clute & Nicholls Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Elsewhere (notably in Wolfe's Critical Terms) it is clearly a stretching of traditional notions of SF to allow into the fold SF-like texts that violated one or another of the more restrictive rules (e.g., that the science must be plausible). See, for example, the citations at Jessesword ( The more common umbrella term for the literary family that includes SF is "the fantastic"--it has been in use for longer than I have been working in the field and is part of the name of the major broad-church academic organization dedicated to studying its various forms: the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts ( Any evidence of actual usage would be welcome. Wikian consensus is a fine idea, but it sometimes seems like voting on the value of pi. RLetson 06:36, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Well to be brief, googling reveals (as it's second hit from the search for "speculative fiction") . While you are probably right that "the fantastic" is the older term, I have heard used (and have used myself) the term speculative fiction to refer to SF, fantasy and horror many times throughout my Literature degree, and am no doubt that it does mean approximately what Wikipedia has it defined as.
What I personally take it to mean, and have used it in the context of, is a broad term covering the various fictions dominated by fantastic elements, notably fantasy, science fiction, most horror and various sub-genres (such as Cyberpunk, alternate history, and so forth). I don't see a problem with its usage here. Patch86 12:45, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Todorov uses the expression "the fantastic" in a totally different sense. I think the more usual term is, in fact, speculative literature or speculative fiction. Metamagician3000 13:41, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
You're absolutely right that the terms are not completely clear. One definition for "speculative fiction" is as a supercategory including SF, fantasy, horror, etc. That is the current commonly preferred term by SF convention organizers, which is a group John Clute would be plugged into. The former term for this supercategory is "science fiction", and most people recognize this usage for the sake of clarity with earlier sources, even though we don't actually use the term this way much today. There is a more academic (foofy, I would say) definition that refers to "speculative fiction" as slipstream or other vaguely-defined subcategories outside the modern narrow definition of "science fiction"; Margaret Atwood, for example, has argued that The Handmaid's Tale is speculative fiction but not science fiction because there are no aliens or starships. (I think her specific quote is less flattering but along those lines.) Since both "speculative fiction" and "science fiction" have two meanings, one of which is the same for both terms, it's useful to point this out. I know "the fantastic" was a term used by a few writers to refer to the in-between stuff, but this is kind of a POV usage that overemphasizes classical roots over contemporary influences, IMO. :) That said, given the ambiguities, the text should explain different meanings, if it can be done concisely. (The old "definition of SF" section was way too long.) Avt tor 15:57, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
At the risk of appearing to pull rank and being unwikian, there's a point at which one ought to listen to the experts rather than the polls. I've spent more than four decades studying and writing about this area, and I think I understand its terminology and the taxonomy that leads to it. "The fantastic" is not just the "older" umbrella term, it is the one still used by those who study the family of contra-realist traditions and genres. The fact that, say, convention organizers are less precise in their usage isn't a very strong argument for an encyclopedia article to adopt their usage. Lexicographers do take note of shifting usages and (when there's enough weight of citation) record the new ones. But this isn't a dictionary (I think I read that somewhere). One can make a case for almost any definition by citing some single or even subcultural example--Google even makes the legwork trivially easy. Thus the example of Margaret Atwood, whose denial that her novel was science fiction because it lacked some of the furniture that she associated with the genre is a measure of her ignorance of the actual field and/or her snobbishness. Similarly, fan websites are not the best places to find evidence for standard literary notions such as what a genre is--you don't ask random people on the street for medical advice, and you don't ask hobbyists for systematic taxonomies or detailed scholarly research. (And yes, I know that SF scholarship owes a huge debt to amateur scholars.) I keep pointing out that there is no need to keep reinventing the wheel in these articles--that there is a huge body of scholarship and even meta-scholarship in which the terms are defined, the history outlined, and major agreements and disagreements are worked out. About a half-dozen books could settle the vast majority of problem issues raised in connection with all the SF-fantasy articles. (Aside to Metamagician: Todorov's notion of the "fantastic" is a rather idiosyncratic one, rather like Freud's uncanny/unheimlich, and a bit of a dead end for the kind of genre theory that is most useful here.) RLetson 06:01, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not actually a fan of Todorov, but in my experience when literary scholars hear the expression "the fantastic" they immediately think of Todorov. I would be happy to concede that "fantastic fiction" is another expression (like "speculative fiction") that is frequently used to cover science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
As an aside, it's probably better to avoid pulling rank, even though I did so to some extent just above. Several people here have made it obvious that they are big name fans, significant sf critics, or whatever. Several of us have claims to expertise and to have published work that could be citable. I think that's part of the problem: we actually are experts, in various ways, but in a field where the fundamental theory is disputed. For that reason, I've been confining myself to the talk page of late. For that reason, too, I'd rather we concentrate on the views of the most eminent theorists, such as Darko Suvin, even though I actually disagree with Darko about quite a lot of things.Metamagician3000 13:10, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
I understand where you're coming from, but I don't see how any individual academic opinion can authoritatively ignore or deny common usage. From an encyclopedia perspective, where a term is widely used in different ways (and this is), it's appropriate to clearly explain the common usages. The article does that, with six references. I have found sources that claim that they are separate marketing categories, and others that claim that the marketing category of science fiction includes fantasy. Broadly speaking, both contradictory statements are correct. The article is obliged to explain that. The most an academic can do is define the term in the context of their own writing (which is certainly valid for the sake of clarity). As you say, the fundamental theory is disputed; that's the point. The statements in the article, that authors and editors work in hard science fiction and in fantasy in the same professional organization, that science fiction conventions include fantasy programming as a category, and that works of fantasy win science fiction awards as part of the broad field of science fiction, are all true. Insofar as the definition belongs to anybody, it belongs to the community of people interested in science fiction, which is to say fandom. And to the extent that fandom is organized, it generally considers fantasy to be part of SF, in practical usage. Avt tor 16:14, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

But fandom does not claim that fantasy is part of sf ... it is just that it has never bothered changing the name of sf conventions to "sf and fantasy conventions", though everyone in fandom knows that's what they really are.

That's POV. Avt tor 00:19, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

I probably don't have as much experience in organised fandom as you, but I've been to worldcons in Australia, the US, Canada, the UK, and the Netherlands, and to many other conventions, have sometimes played a prominent role on programs, have been involved in programming at worldcon level, etc., so I have a good sense of how fans think. However, none of us can really draw our own inferences about how "fandom" sees things - that would be original research.

Hence the cites. If you don't think those are representative, I can find another hundred. Avt tor 00:19, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

We'd have to find someone who says: "'Fandom' evidently believes that fantasy is a branch of science fiction because it frequently gives science fiction awards to fantasy works." The trouble, is that you won't easily find people who say that, because it does not reflect the reality on the ground, where fans actually have a clear sense of the difference between fantasy and sf, even if there are overlaps, etc. In my experience, actual writers are very aware of the difference and some sf writers are positively hostile to fantasy. I well recall debating this with the late George Turner, for example - he hated fantasy - and you ought to have a talk with Gregory Benford some time, if you don't believe that this sort of hostility exists within the profession.

You're right that some authors feel this way, but this is a minority opinion. A hundred years from now, the genres may become separate, but that process has quite a long way to go, and it may well go in directions we don't expect. It's not our role to impose a strict boundary that isn't at all strict in the community of authors, fans, publishers, editors, and booksellers. Avt tor 00:19, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Be all that as it may, I agree with you about "speculative fiction" or "speculative literature" being used as a compendious term, though as I said I do also see "fantastic fiction" and similar expressions (but not "the fantastic", despite the name of IAFA and its journal) used as a synonym.

I mentioned Darko Suvin only as one example, though I do consider him the leading theorist of the genre. In my view, his perception of sf is too narrow, but he offers simply the most important definition and body of theory out there. The point is that we should draw on the views of the academic experts, as we would in other articles. It's not just Suvin. Here's a partial list of other people who have theorised and written about sf at a very high level: John Clute, Peter Nicholls, George Turner, Samuel R. Delany, Ursula Le Guin, David Hartwell, Gary K. Wolfe, Robert Scholes, Gary Westfahl, Brian Aldiss, Damien Boderick, Brian Stableford, George Slusser, Jim Gunn ... and also see the entire list of editors and editorial consultants printed in the inside cover of any edition of Science Fiction Studies, the flagship academic journal for the field. You'll find quite a diversity of viewpoints among those people, but this body of scholarship should certainly be consulted and the different viewpoints within it represented. Metamagician3000 21:57, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Let me try to put this simply: If you exclude any mention of fantasy from a discussion of science fiction, you leave out information that people will find pertinent. The statements put into the short subsection about fantasy are true and sourced. You can't discuss science fiction in a meaningful and accurate way in terms of publishing, bookselling, or fandom without including mention of fantasy in the discussion. This isn't just literary criticism.
In fact, if you wish (if it hasn't been done already), you could create an article about science fiction as literature, and you could just ignore all the cultural and commercial context. There is tremendous room for expansion of the subject in that direction. The old version of this article really only discussed the history of science fiction literature, leaving out a tremendous amount of information about how science fiction fits into the lives of ordinary people. Avt tor 00:19, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Has someone suggested not even mentioning fantasy? I would be totally opposed to that. The article really must have a discussion of the undoubtedly complex demarcation problem between science fiction and fantasy, and of the attempts that have been made to compare, and distinguish between, the two. I have never been arguing the contrary case. My point is simply that there is a difference (even if there is also some overlap) so we can't simply treat fantasy as a sub-set of sf, or treat sf as a sub-set of fantasy. Don't take me as trying to say anything more than that. Metamagician3000 10:57, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
So, we have two irregular shapes on a Venn diagram, which different people label in different (and mutually inconsistent) ways, and which various people might see as disjoint, overlapping, or completely co-incident. Great! Anville 13:19, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
The article says that there is overlap of authors and fans, in the professional organization, at conventions, and in awards. These are all relevant issues, because sometimes people get confused. I believe the phrasing I suggested referred to "in many contexts", which are then specifically explained (or at least summarized) in the section on fantasy. As a journalist, I defend opinions, not individual sections of text. I have a broad range of experience that I consider to be relevant and representative, whidh I might explain if anybody were really interested; please do not interpret this as disrespect for your own accomplishments. There is a semantic ambiguity where similar terms are used in different ways. The article should explain the different semantics in different contexts, and I think it does. I thought the article was unclear and missing stuff, so I clarified and added stuff. People who want to improve it further are free to do so. Avt tor 17:42, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Glad you're all here[edit]

Let me just comment quickly that I'm glad so many people are expressing opinions and making changes (even when I don't agree). One of the problems this article had before was that it was so weirdly organized, with some sections overemphasized and some sections ignored, that it was hard for people to make sense of it, so a lot of people just ignored it. It's good that people are making an effort to improve this article.

I invite interested editors to join WikiProject Science Fiction to help improve the quality sof SF-related articles within Wikipedia. Avt tor 16:10, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

some of the most influential authors in the field of science fiction.[edit]

This list is HORRIBLE. I definitely think we need a (short) list of SF authors in the main SF article, but the current list seems to be somebody's idea of a joke: Asimov, Wells, Shelley, Dick, Gibson and other crucial authors are missing, but we have Martin and Gaiman. We are deceived by the footnotes: the lists referred to look nothing like the one we see here. Kdammers 00:20, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

You saw a version in the process of being edited. Avt tor 01:14, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Re: tags[edit]

Any editor may tag an article with cleanup tags, obviously this article needs some major work, it's in a state at present and is also missing a ton of citations and is not written in an encyclopaedic tone. See also Wikipedia:Guide to writing better articles - I welcome any discussion on how we can "fix" the article. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 01:03, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

The article does need sources. The list of items in the to-do list is being worked on. Even after considerable summarization and removing detail to subordinate pages, there are still many more sources than were here before the revision process began, and that's just a start. Discussion has been ongoing for weeks. It does appear that many people here aren't happy about negative tags being added or sections or links being diverted without discussion, as we observed before with the external links discussion. Makes sense to streamline the text first and then source the points that remain in the text. Avt tor 01:24, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't see any particular examples of an unencyclopedic tone. Using "SF" rather than spelling out the words doesn't count, any more than it's unencyclopedic to refer to a person by his last name alone in a biography article, or to use "U.S." in the United States article. KarlBunker 02:11, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
SF is ambiguous, this is also an encyclopaedia, and it's a term some people use not everyone. The title is science fiction, unless this is fixed soon I will re-add the tone tag. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 09:00, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
The term is clearly defined in the first paragraph and is clearly relevant within this article. It is routinely used, not least by organizations in the field, as noted in the article. As previously noted, best not be slapping in tags when there's no agreement here about it. Avt tor 09:22, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
The term "sci-fi" is widely use (probably even more widely) - it being established in the lead-in is not good enough reasoning to write informally, and we've discussed this before with consensus not to use either abbreviation. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 09:33, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
"Ambiguous" is a funny one. I imagine legions of readers scratching their heads, thinking "Wha?? 'San Francisco's golden age'? What's that doing in an article about science fiction?!" As for it being "too informal" for an encyclopedia article, it takes more than your personal fiat to make that the case. The Encyclopedia Britannica article on science fiction, for example, uses "SF" extensively. KarlBunker 11:35, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
This has still not been fixed and I am unwilling to fix it my self as I'm not willing to participate in a revert war, if it isn't fixed I will retag with {{tone}} soon - WP:MOS#Identity states:
"Use specific terminology: People from Ethiopia (a country in Africa) should be described as Ethiopian, not African."
"Do not assume that any one term is the most inclusive or accurate."
The problem here is "SF" is not a specific term (and I my self find it very ambiguous) - secondly the title of this article is "Science fiction" (lets not forget that!) - thirdly it is certainly not "the most inclusive or accurate"
I'd also consider this a NPOV violation due to the fact "SF" is not neutral due to the fact there are "SF <-> sci-fi" debates, and it wasn't widely used in the original article before a rewrite. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 23:47, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Woh! Someone read my mind and fixed it while I was writing :-o thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 23:50, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Tags as of 1/22/07[edit]

MatthewFenton, your comments and edits on this issue are sufficiently irrational that I am coming to suspect that you are trolling. Alleging "ambiguity" with regard to the term "SF" in this context is a one example, asserting that a "NPOV" tag is required due to alleged non-neutrality in an alleged "SF vs sci-fi" debate is another. Your justifications for adding your pet tags, although lengthy and well-referenced, make no sense whatsoever. KarlBunker 16:36, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

To make it easy for you I'll spell it out for you all below directly quoting:
"Forrest J. Ackerman publicly coined the term "sci-fi" in 1954, however, many authors and fans <-- weasel words alert! associate the term "sci-fi" with low-budget, low-tech films'<-- whole sentence is non-NPOV!!, and with low-quality pulp fiction publishing. This led to Susan Wood coining the pronunciation "skiffy" for "sci-fi"'<-- whole sentence is non-NPOV!!,[citation needed] to distinguish it from serious science fiction. Long-time fans generally prefer the abbreviation "SF".<-- weasel words alert! // non-NPOV // citations given not so accurate!! David Langford's monthly column "As Others See Us" offers numerous examples of "sci-fi" being used in a pejorative sense by people outside the genre.'<-- whole sentence is non-NPOV!!"
The burden to fix problems with text lies with those wishing to keep it, I wouldn't object to scarping the whole thing, hence why I will not invest my time fixing it only to have my good faith edits reverted (oh.. and called a troll..) thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 16:45, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Re "the burden to fix problems ... lies with those wishing to keep it". Maybe so, but a lone objection isn't necessarily indication of a problem. You're not the sole arbiter of policy. Avt tor 17:51, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Regardless of the quality of the article, putting in this tag without specifics or consensus is inappropriate. Using huge warning boxes to support a point in a debate, where a simple discussion on the talk page would work far better, seems a violation of WP:POINT. Avt tor 16:48, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Consensus is not required to tag an article that is in a state of disrepair, do you think every new article that is poorly written the tager goes to the talk page leaves a message and waits a year? I've repeatedly stated that this article s in a poor state, stated that problems and added the correct tags to make other editors/readers aware of the problems. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 16:56, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
The specifics help clarify your point. However
  • Using the <big> tag seems a bit overcaffeinated
  • You're objecting to a single section, not the whole article. tagging the whole article for this is clearly inappropriate.
  • The comment is sourced. It's intended to explain the topic from the point of view of authoritative parties. If you don't like Harlan Ellison's opinion, take it up with Harlan. Quoting a representative source isn't non-NPOV. Avt tor 17:01, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I won't deny being over caffeinated (7 pepsi, 2 coffees) - The big fon't is to draw immediate attention and add strong emphasis, it's not a NPOV as it isn't balancing each side, there should also be a sourced bit of text from the other side of the fence (the "sci-fi"ers) thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 17:07, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
There is no "other side of the fence". Can't cite sources that one can't find, and I won't cite sources that are not authoritative or at least representative.
As for consensus, if I'm thinking about making a change to a page that might be contentious, I post to the talk page first to get some feedback (as, in fact, I did with this page). Arguing in the talk page is one thing, but if the majority is wrong on a subject (which occasionally happens) one must bring sources if one doesn't want to be reverted. Avt tor 17:44, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I'd like to thank you for using the large/bold font in your comment. It helps to verify my opinion that your comments are devoid of meaningful content, and are intended to serve no purpose beyond calling attention to yourself and being disruptive. Perhaps you would be so kind as to take this little hobby to another article? Thanks. KarlBunker 17:20, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I'd also like to thank you for proving my point in that you have no interest in actually fixing up this article. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 17:26, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I thought I'd wade in since one of the sentences Matthew objects to as being NPOV was one I added earlier today. I said previously that this wasn't something I felt strongly about, and I still think it isn't something to die in a ditch over. I understand Matthew's point, and he's correct to say there's another side of the fence even though I'm not on it. I'm one of those science fiction fans who always says SF and thinks of "sci-fi" as a vicious pejorative, but that may be because I'm very old, or because I'm an academic, or because I attend non-media-related SF conventions, or because I prefer reading books to watching movies and playing games. However, I recognise that this is a minority POV, and most science fiction fans aren't any of these things -- so to them "sci-fi" is a natural abbreviation (I believe there's even a TV channel of that name). As regards people who either dislike science fiction or have no opinion of it, I suspect most of them would recognise the term sci-fi but not SF. I still think it's wrong to use "sci-fi" in the article (except the mention right at the beginning) but by the same token why not eliminate SF as well? Changing to "science fiction" throughout only adds a few bytes to the article, which would be offset by deleting the subsection on SF versus sci-fi. If some people are as irritated by SF as I am by sci-fi there's nothing to be gained by alienating them. Andrew 21:23, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I've just gone through and tagged that section with a few fact tags - in the new GA criteria about citations, anything controversial must have a citation. "(b) the citation of its sources is essential, and while the use of inline citations are not mandatory, they are highly desirable, in particular for longer articles. Unambiguous citations of reliable sources are necessary for any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged.[1] Articles whose topics fall under the guideline on scientific citations should adhere to the guideline." - Malkinann 09:40, 23 January 2007 (UTC)


Per previous discussion here, I've shortened this article down to 37K. I've reached a limit; it's not obvious to me what can be cut that won't interfere with comprehensive relevance or comprehensibility. If anybody else wants to trim wording further, or suggest sections to be reduced or removed, or sections to be restored or expanded, feel free. I'm going to start working on sources. Avt tor 02:47, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Soft/New Wave SF[edit]

"Soft" science fiction (a term attributed to Judith Merril)...

I believe this may be incorrect, and in any case it's not cited. The only reference I can find credits Merril with coining "New Wave SF", not "Soft SF." This issue, in turn, brings up how/whether to deal with New Wave SF. It's my understanding that while there's a lot of overlap between Soft SF and New Wave, they're not at all synonymous. For one thing, while Soft is still around, New Wave seems to refer to a style that arose in the late 60's and was pretty much history by the early 80s. So maybe "New Wave SF" should dealt with briefly in the "Soft" section? KarlBunker 21:07, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

The citation covers two sentences. It's there (#30 last I checked).
As for "New Wave" being an early form or subcategory of "Soft", I have no opinion. Avt tor 00:08, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Take a look at the reference you're referring to. :-) The only occurrence of the word "soft" is in the sentence: "Many New Wave authors write "soft" science fiction; that is, they are primarily concerned with sociological and psychological themes." There's nothing about Merril coining "soft science fiction." KarlBunker 00:45, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
You're right. Fixed. Thank you. Avt tor 01:37, 18 January 2007 (UTC)


Where is steampunk from this article ??? Frigo 13:58, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

This seems to be about right. It is in Science fiction genre, linked in various places include "more genres" in the infobox at right and under the "Related genres and subgenres" heading. This article should be no more than an overview. Notinasnaid 14:15, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Langford reference[edit]

Something that occurred to me a few weeks ago (and it isn't something I feel strongly about -- I was just bored at the time) is that a significant number of people who know nothing about science fiction use the term "sci-fi" as a virtual synonym of "worthless, childish trash". I made an anonymous edit which added, inter alia, the following:

However, there are also many purported works of science fiction in which a superficially "sci-fi" setting is superimposed upon an otherwise conventional tale, and it is this "lowbrow" form of the genre that is most widely recognized outside science fiction fandom. As such, there is often a perception that science fiction is escapist or juvenile. <ref>For numerous examples of this, see the regular feature " As Others See Us" in David Langford's monthly fanzine Ansible.</ref>

A few days later, Avt tor made a major revision of the article, and while this effort is greatly appreciated, I think the Langford reference got a bit garbled in the process such that it now reads:

David Langford's monthly column "As Others See Us" depicts "sci-fi" works that notably fail to meet the standards expected of SF. <ref> (same reference)

I don't think this is quite right. While Ansible does sometimes make fun of bad SF, the "As Others See Us" column is really about people outside the genre making sweeping judgments on the basis of very little understanding. As I said right at the beginning, I think this is of borderline importance for mentioning in an encyclopedia, particularly the new streamlined version of the article. Therefore I would be in favour of just deleting the Langford reference rather than trying to make it more accurate, but I'll let someone else decide. Andrew 20:52, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

IMO, the point being made seemed useful. I perhaps did not perfectly understand it, and my version would certainly have been an attempt to make the phrasing more accessible. The comment should be short and succinct. The "streamlined" version of the article was not intended to remove important information from view, simply to serve as a pointer to subordinate pages where more detail could be found. Certainly seems to me there is an opportunity for an article about science fiction in society, for which this comment would be right on topic. Avt tor 23:34, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback -- that's an interesting idea about a "Science fiction in society" article. In the meantime, I've modified the wording slightly in the main article -- I think it's OK now. Andrew 12:23, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Several edits, one revert[edit]

Several edits were made to change "SF" to "science fiction". I think this makes as much sense as having to spell out "USA" as "United States of America" every time it comes up. The abbreviation has other meanings, just as "GM" might refer to the domain code for The Gambia, to "gamemaster" in a role-playing game, or to genetically-modified foods, but in an article about the largest automaker it would unambiguously be understood as "General Motors". Spelling out the abbreviation every time is clunky and makes the article harder to read. There is a debate about the connotations of the term "sci-fi", not about the use of "SF" as an abbreviation.

I reverted one edit which wasn't clear, where a definite article was used without a clear antecedent and where different prepositions made the meaning of the sentence confusing or irrelevant. Mentioning here in case anybody else wants to suggest improved wording. Avt tor 00:42, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm with you on this one. "SF" is the least contentious abbreviation and it is unnecessary to spell it out each time. Metamagician3000 02:41, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
"Sci-fi" is the least ambiguous and probably more widely known abbr. to the avg. reader, and probably most widely used, saying that we shouldn't be using abbrs. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 02:47, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
As the cited (and uncited) references make clear, "sci-fi" has non-neutral connotations that make it inapplicable as a synonym for the entire genre. Avt tor 07:32, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
One approach that was taken in Ace Books when it was up for FA was to identify the abbreviation the first time it was used, and thereafter to use the abbreviation. The second line of the lead includes ". . . publishing its first science fiction (sf) title in 1953 . . ." and "sf" is used after that. I picked "sf" rather than "SF" partly because that's the style used in the Nicholls/Clute Encyclopaedia, the main current sf reference, but I suppose either would do. I would avoid "sci-fi" simply because it's contentious -- using "sf" doesn't particularly irritate anyone, but using "sci-fi" certainly will, to no benefit that I can see. As for not using abbreviations at all -- I think they should be avoided if doing so is easy, but "science fiction" is so ubiquitous in this article I think it looks odder without abbreviations, and will tire a reader. Mike Christie (talk) 03:01, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Using a single short form for a long term is a standard approach in encyclopedias.
It would seem too territorial for me to revert this, so I'm just expressing an opinion. Avt tor 07:32, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I changed several instances of "SF" to Science Fiction in the headers because I believe it's easier for novices to follow if fannish abbreviations are avoided. For a layman, this article could be the first time that they come across SF as an abbreviation. That, and the use of the full term avoids the 'sci-fi vs SF' debate in the rest of the article - as Wikipedia is supposed to be neutral. - Malkinann 03:31, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Many articles use abbreviations. I used to like the lower case "sf", which is widely used by people who study the field, but most people who are not scholars of the genre would be expecting something with caps. So, "SF" it is. No serious discussion of the field uses the expression "sci-fi", which is considered by many people in the field to be offensive. We shouldn't even be considering using this term (as opposed to reporting, at an appropriate point, on its history and the contention that surrounds it). Per Avt tor there is nothing at all ambiguous about "SF" in the context of this article, and, per Mike Christie (talk), we can introduce it in the lead (compare, for example, the lead for Second Life, which introduces the abbreviation "SL"). Metamagician3000 04:46, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

About SF/sf--this is purely a house-style matter and subject to change. When I started writing for Locus in 1990, lower-case was the rule, and now it's upper. I don't know about the house styles for the academic journals these days, but my suspicion is that it's all just local option. We can settle on anything that most of the editors can live with. My own language sense says that SF is preferable because most abbreviations in American English tend to be upper-case--but that's maybe just MHO and YMMV. (See? CYA in case of things getting SNAFU'd.) Of course, cell-phone text-messaging conventions may be trending otherwise, but I'm way too old to know about that. And "sci-fi" still strikes me as an annoying, out-of-register substitute, no matter what Forry Ackerman says. I'd also suggest not using abbreviations in section headers--a decorum preference, I guess. RLetson 05:33, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Imprecision in History section[edit]

Various glitches.

  • Para. 2: The founding Galaxy editor who challenged Campbell's hegemony was H. L. Gold; Fred Pohl edited the magazine through the 1960s (and continued the challenge); The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction under Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas also should be mentioned in this connection for this period.
  • Feel free to clarify (succinctly).Avt tor 07:54, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Para. 3: Poul Anderson was writing influential hard SF in the 1950s; Larry Niven's early important work appeared in the 1960s, as did Le Guin's. (The latter info is also in the source footnoted in the article.)
  • Para. 4: Star Wars was released in 1977, though its influence was felt through the 1980s and beyond. But it was instantly influential (for example, the clearly imitative Battlestar Galactica appeared in 1978 and Buck Rogers in 1979.)
  • Without specifically defending the existing text, the underlying thought in the draft I wrote was that for the purpose of historical and cultural analysis, centuries and especially decades are not precise boundaries. If alternate wording will enhance understanding in a succinct way, feel free to suggest/amend. Avt tor 07:54, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Para. 5: The supernatural fantasy films and TV shows cited have little to do with science fiction despite an overlap in audience demographic and the tendency of the Sci-Fi Channel to program anything in the fantastic realm. Nor are they "speculative" in any useful sense. (I'm not giving up on semantic rigor easily.)
  • Am obliged to argue this point. Joss Whedon, Peter Jackson, and J. K. Rowling opened up a lot of doors for all the speculative genres. Publishers and studios wanted more product, including both fantasy and SF. The text here does not say the genres are interchangeable, merely that they share channels and audiences, which is true. Sci-Fi programs fantasy because it's of interest to their audience. Fantasy is certainly "speculative"; it is based around questions like "What if the world worked like this? What if magic were real?" etc. This is just a non-scientific version of speculation, but still widely recognized as being closely related. Avt tor 07:54, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I could have just done the edits, but thought it better to post these observations here first. RLetson 06:19, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I hope others will comment.Avt tor 07:54, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

A mess[edit]

This article is a mess, packed with weasel words and is not written from a NPOV - unless it is fixed the maintenance tags should *not* be removed, also note that I've added the NPOV dispute tag due to the fact I dispute it is NPOV. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 16:24, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Karl are you under the false impression a vote is held before tagging poor articles? If this is the case you are mistaken, you've also removed a dispute tag *twice* - this does not resolve the disputed section, if anything aggravates it. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 16:35, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
See Talk:Science fiction#Tags as of 1/22/07 Avt tor 16:44, 22 January 2007 (UTC)