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What are our boundaries?

We're starting to see questions that push the boundaries of what fantasy and science fiction are thought to be, at least judging from what is found under those labels in bookstores and libraries. There was one question about Mork and Mindy which I enjoyed but thought was bordering on off-topic. And then there were the questions about Scooby Doo and Pluto which felt off-topic but I can't put my finger on why.

I see a meta question about the definition of sci-fi. I think we need one to hash out the fantasy question as well.

What is and is not considered fantasy as defined by this site?

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    This has been gone over a lot, really. Here, here, and here, for starters. Commented May 28, 2012 at 4:05

1 Answer 1


Well, I'm usually one to VTC on stuff that seems off-topic.. but for the Goofy/Pluto question my reasoning was thus: Anthropomorphic animals aren't a real-world phenomenon, therefore, to some degree or another, they are fantasy (Read as: Magical / other world) or SciFi (read as: uplifted animals, alternate evolution, different dimension, etc.) Disney doesn't seem to have defined which they fall into, but it seems that they must fall into one or the other. (Well, you could also call them transparent metaphors, but they've never been defined that way very well, either.) Where canon doesn't exist, the fanbase often does develop it's own explanations, which often end up as canon years later.

Mork & Mindy falls into the same category, to me, although barely.. They hypothesize the normal world with some elements that, as far as we know don't exit, but might.

Scooby Doo is trickier; my perception of it was always a minor mystery show, simply enacted by cartoons. But, again, you have talking animals, AND later on you have a lot of fantastic elements.

This would be an easier answer, if it was just SciFi SE, but despite the name it's SciFi and Fantasy SE.... And fantasy is a much broader topic. Fantasy can be said to encompass anything 'fantastic', and non-science based.. and SciFi grabs the other side of the house. A case can be made to include most things that aren't about this world, just as it is, as being covered somewhere between those two.

Just my 2c, and I've been wrong before :)

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    Are there actual fantasy elements to Scooby Doo (besides Scooby and Scrappy, who clearly are able to speak to various extents)? My vague recollection was that the fantastical elements were always shown at the end of an episode as being illusions of one sort or another. This is embodied and revealed by the usual unmasking sequence where it's revealed that it wasn't a ghost all along, but rather the groundskeeper, or some other aggrieved party.
    – user1027
    Commented May 28, 2012 at 22:59
  • @Keen Well, that's the typical Scooby Doo plot; the question was asking if there were any instances where they encountered real supernatural elements, so I consider it as asking about the "fantasy elements of a non fantasy work." Commented May 29, 2012 at 0:12
  • @Keen - That's exactly what I was basing my thoughts upon; there originally were no fantastic elements other than scooby. Then you had fully verbalizing Scrappy, then you had 'Guest Stars' that were fantasy, like the 'Boo Brothers'. To my mind, including such elements suggested that the setting itself had moved into the fantasy realm. Later, they had fully blown fantasy as a common element. The original episodes ALWAYS dismissed the mystical element as fraud... but that didn't last.
    – K-H-W
    Commented May 29, 2012 at 2:17

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