Among the other works of fiction, sci-fi and fantasy are some of the most widely read literature today. In fact many of the bestselling books in recent years are either sci-fi or fantasy books. To cite an example, we can look at the success of fantasy books like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter or sci-fi novels like 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson and The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett, to name a few.
But some people may disagree and say these books or novels are far removed from reality and hence, their popularity may only be credited to good marketing. On the contrary, fans will say that these genres represent reality and the books only serve as vehicles for messages that all writers would want to convey.
In truth both science fiction and fantasy, like all fiction, present us with things that do not exist, including imaginary characters, events, creatures, devices, and ideas that are all beyond our the experience of our daily normal lives.
Though they are similar in some ways, sci-fi and fantasy are two distinct genres – each with its own qualities and literary characteristics.
For one, fantasy may be considered the oldest form, which our early ancestors used to explain things or the inexplicable such as thunder, rain or the birth of a baby. Such events that our ancestors could not explain in simple terms, they made possible through stories of fantasy.
Science fiction, on the other hand, may have started more recently, or as early as 17th century. In fact, science, as an element in fiction, is contained in the works of Francis Bacon (New Atlantis 1617), Johannes Kepler (Somnium 1634), and Francis Godwin (The Man in the Moone 1638), to name a few. It was only in 1851, that the term “science fiction” was coined by the English author, William Wilson in his book A Little Earnest Book on a Great Old Subject .Jules Vernes and H.G. Wells may be considered as the fathers of modern science fiction, who both used literary devices with reference to technology.
However, there are also books that may not be categorized into either of the two genre or what may be called as the gray area. Star Wars, for instance, is primarily a fantasy adventure with a touch of science fiction. The same is true with Star Trek which does not only deal with science and philosophy but also has characters with psychic abilities like the Vulcans.
The Riddle of the Red Bible is another example where readers are treated to a different type of fiction that they cannot find in any sci-fi or fantasy book. This novel has a distinct way of telling its story, woven into the intricate lives of its characters. In this novel, the subject of ghosts and time travel has found a common ground. While ghosts, as we believe, belong to the paranormal, the inclusion of physics, time travel and adventure has provided a new twist to the way readers look at a sci-fi or fantasy book. In this novel, both fantasy and science fiction have been fused together to present a better way to explain things or to send the message across to people in a new, innovative way.
K.T. Jae, a British writer, is fascinated with time travel and the paranormal. The author has been writing since 1999 and a graduate of the University of East Anglia and Mountview –Academy of Theatre Arts London.