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This question (and its related tag) is about Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs which Wikipedia classifies as a children's picture book (and a related movie). Some books and movies "intended for children" are of course indisputable classics of science fiction (works by Tolkien, Lewis, Baum, L'Engle...) and are obviously on-topic here.

I have seen the related meta question about whether children's literature and cartoons for children are on-topic. The answer there was "would a serious fan of the science fiction or fantasy genres consider spending any amount of effort digging into the details [the work]? If the answer is yes, it's on-topic. If the answer is no, it's off-topic."

The questioner, when I asked about this, responded "It's certainly fiction based on speculative science. Wildly speculative, but still science based." So is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs something that is valuable to have on a site for serious fans of science fiction or fantasy?

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  • Seems to me that most of these "Is this scifi/fantasy" questions come down to one thing: whether those voting like the story. I don't get the Cloudy w/ Meatballs thing, but I do get the Beauty and the Beast questions that are also up. Seems too much a matter of personal opinion as to what's on topic/off when we get into pedantry, IMHO. – Gabe Willard Mar 27 '12 at 14:58
  • @GabeWillard Ouch! I certainly wasn't trying to be pedantic. I just think that SE works best when questions are asked in the most appropriate place. – Mark Beadles Mar 27 '12 at 15:10
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    I didn't intend that as a personal dig; apologies if that's how it sounded. I agree that questions should be asked in the right place, I just think that in the realm of scifi/fantasy, we should be a little hesitant to discount something. I will admit, I'd never call CwM scifi, but in the similar case of Beauty and the Beast, I totally agree that that's fantasy. I'm just an advocate of caution before migration/closing. – Gabe Willard Mar 27 '12 at 15:24
  • I agree with you on both, which is why I asked here :) – Mark Beadles Mar 27 '12 at 15:48
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We (the Science Fiction and Fantasy community) have always had a slightly uneasy relationship with children's literature, but so far had a slight preference for allowing it. A propos of another borderline subject (technothrillers), I proposed some guidelines which seem to have been well-received and include:

If the question is specifically about an sf-nal element, even if it's only a minor part of the work, it's on-topic.

As this specific question concerns an sf-nal element, it would therefore be on-topic.

While Mark Trapp's argument

I think the line is pretty straightforward: would a serious fan of the science fiction or fantasy genres consider spending any amount of effort digging into the details of a children's cartoon?

was intended as exclusive, it can be read in an inclusive way. Yes, there are adult fans of Disney movies or Dr Seuss, so why not Tiny Toons or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs?

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  • Thanks. The first guideline you give certainly makes sense, and is applicable to this case. The problem I have with Mark Trapp's argument is this: if it were the only guideline, then it would lead to any sort of Tiny Toons question being on topic. There is nothing wrong with Tiny Toons, of course, but it's not clear to me that a person looking for answers about that show should expect a "Science Fiction and Fantasy" site to be the right place. But your first guideline does draw the line clearly - if it's a SF element it's on topic, and I'm good with that. – Mark Beadles Mar 27 '12 at 18:57
  • In the case of Tiny Toons movies.stackexchange.com would be the appropriate site, imo, within the scope of their faq. – Xantec Apr 20 '12 at 19:46

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