SF or Fantasy?

I wrote Shades of Green as a fantasy story set in Aphanasia. That’s the same fictional world many of my stories are set, (Sister Margaret being the only one published at the moment) but Shades of Green takes place long before any of them. The story has swamp elves, humans and reptars (lizard-dudes).

I was very surprised to find that my publisher had read Shades of Green as a science fiction story with characters who, rather than being fantasy creatures, were instead, aliens.

It’s given me a fair bit to think about. What does it say about the reader/writer partnership when something like this happens? And really, what are the differences between fantasy and science fiction? Does it matter? Did I, as the writer, fail to make my setting clear enough to the reader? Are elves alien creatures?

When I am shopping for books I am far less likely to buy something called a science fiction novel than I am to buy one labeled fantasy. What does that say about my preconceived ideas?

I’m going to be pondering these things for a while to come, I expect, and will be interested in what other people think once they’ve had a chance to read the book.

What about you? Are you more likely to read a book described as fantasy or science fiction, or does it matter to you?

Incidentally, I would be a bad author if I failed to mention that it is available for pre-ordering now at Genre Mall. I don’t want to be a bad author 🙂

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2 thoughts on “SF or Fantasy?

  1. I’m more likely to pick up a fantasy book versus a science fiction but if the story/snyopsis really grabs me I don’t even notice the genre.

    When I think of races such as humans, elves and reptars I think of fantasy. But when the setting is in a world that has experienced some trauma (like the decaying village the reptars live in) then I think of science fiction.

    So maybe the publisher thought the setting for Shades of Green was more important than the races of the characters when picking a genre. 🙂

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