Should fantasy be included in this? I know many people mix them up, and there are definitely cases which can be very hard to distinguish. So, the question remains, should we include Fantasy, or not include it? Or where do we draw the line?

What I propose is we have people present their proposed view, and people can vote up on the one they like best. No reputation is gained/lost here, so... If you have some additional arguments for/against a particular point, put it in the comments.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about a question which literally does not exist in any form whatsoever now that the site is "Science Fiction & Fantasy". Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 5:31

7 Answers 7


The simplest way to draw the line is to not draw it at all.

If we try to say "Ents bad, Kzinti good," then we're going to just get into a million arguments over where to put Tribbles.

If we try to differentiate with tags, then we're going to get into tag edit wars.

So, here's my idea: let's just… not.

If we have to have some differentiation of what is/isn't on topic, let's think about it the way the Hugos do (emphasis mine):

While the World Science Fiction Society sponsors the Hugos, they are not limited to SF. Works of fantasy or horror are eligible if the members of the Worldcon think they are eligible.

and also here:

anything published in the correct year that the voters think is either science fiction or fantasy.


Think about it this way: do we really want to try to say (as just a single example) that questions about the World Science Fiction Society's 2009 Best Novel winner are off-topic?


My proposal:

Anything the community wants to ask about here is fine. Let's see what the community itself finds interesting.

  • 1
    +1 for this, I highly doubt those reading Discworld novels or LotR will be asking here simply because of the domain name. If somebody isn't sure about it you can always line out the difference and answerability (is this a word? ^^) in the question. Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 13:42
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    I think this one is the winner. Commented Jan 13, 2011 at 1:09
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    On top of that even Amazon groups them together: Amazon.com: Science Fiction & Fantasy
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Jan 20, 2011 at 8:37
  • I'm right there with the WSFS - why bother to draw the line?
    – TML
    Commented Jan 21, 2011 at 22:31
  • I clearly didn't notice the distinction, and asked about Discworld novels. I'm happy to participate in a SF site, and happier if both my addictions are fed by a mixed SF&F one :) Commented Jan 28, 2011 at 18:10
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    I strongly agree with allowing all speculative fiction - "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" and all that. Plus, it would seem silly to allow questions about Barrayar, but not Chalion.
    – Martha
    Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 18:05
  • Is it just me here? I find it very silly to separate the F from SF&F. Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 3:13

The Science Fiction Stack Exchange has been officially renamed "Science Fiction & Fantasy". Both subjects are now explicitly in scope for this site!


I would argue that we should allow fantasy in, and just tag it differently. There are definitely sometimes where it's very hard to draw the line, so...

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    For example, the world of China Mieville's Perdido Street Station
    – Niall C.
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 1:30

Isn't it a Norman Spinrad question ? In france, he is known for having said something like

A science-fiction book is any book you can find in a science-fiction bookstore shelf.

I suggest we consider each question this way.


Um guys what about "The Wheel of Time" series by Robert Jordan?

As any fan of the series will tell you, the Age of Legends WAS sci fi (hover cars, power lances, etc alongside Mr Jordan's version of magic/power).

Granted the series is set in a seperate age that is pre-industrial, however 1/2 the characters (and most of the bad guys) are FROM the age of legends and have an appreciation of sci fi concepts. Seems like a grey line to me.


I say draw the line at true fantasy. Lord of the Rings, no go. Star Wars? Yeah, ok.

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    I agree with this. If the author doesn't even try to make it barely feel like science fiction, then it shouldn't be here. Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 23:40
  • I also agree. The blacks and whites of this are obvious (No to LOTR, yes to Star Wars), however it's up to the community to differentiate the grey areas e.g. Are Vances Lyonesse books valid here? They are undoubtedly fantasy, but so is much of the rest of his work even though it is set in space or the very far future (e.g. Dying earth). P.S. Anyone trying to say any Vance isn't valid here will have ME to contend with :)
    – Binary Worrier
    Commented Jan 20, 2011 at 18:23
  • . . . also, speaking as an LOTR aficionado, I'd rather not see LOTR questions here. LOTR tends to attract Anoraks something fierce, and believe me you don't want a heap of those coming out of their caves and setting up home here, Trekkies and Trekkers tend to be more fun and less pedantic (IMHO).
    – Binary Worrier
    Commented Jan 20, 2011 at 18:28
  • @Binary Worrier: I don't think it get's much more fantasy than Star Wars. Hence "Yeah, ok." But it at least pretends to be SF. I think we should just stamp out raw fantasy like LOTR, Dragonlance, so on. Sci-fantasy and Space-fantasy have enough SF bits to be ok.
    – DampeS8N
    Commented Jan 20, 2011 at 18:39

Maybe someone should propose a fantasy site? I'm kind of surprised this one wasn't built out that way as sci-fi/fantasy, since they cross boundaries so much.

UPDATE: Ah, and there is a proposal: Fantasy.

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    I think these two proposals should be merged - my biggest concern is that you might not have enough traffic to justify EITHER getting to launch, so merge the two (which really fits with Dori's proposal).
    – TML
    Commented Jan 21, 2011 at 22:29

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