Issue 4, 25th March 1996: Genre or Generalities -or- What's in a name
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Genre or Generalities -or- What's in a name

Have you ever wondered why SF is grouped under the broad category of fantasy, along with swords-and-sorcery and horror? Admittedly each have a strong element of the fantastic to it, and each depend upon personal conjecture.

Fantasy takes place in another universe; SF takes place at some nebulous future date in time; while horror is firmly set in the here and now, but takes into account an unseen universe--something beyond our ken. Thus, each contains one essential ingredient that bind them all together. The hidden or, for lack of a better term, the occult. That which is unknown and unknowable.

Yet is this a fair definition? Perhaps it is as the boundaries between the genres continues to blur. Popular nowadays is a form of fantasy that begins in the here-and-now (heretofore the provenance of horror) and slipping into a parallel universe (formerly the dominion of sf) Horror has adapted, or adopted, components of fantasy to become something else again, generally labelled of dark fantasy. While SF may fall into the category of science fantasy with little or no science to it. Although the latter phenomenon has yet to be dignified with a separate name, as has it's darker counterpart. Therefore the distinguishing factors between each genre become more and more fuzzy.

Keeping this in mind, I find I must temper my previous critical assessment on the apathy of editors. In order to keep current in the area of his or her particular "speciality", the average "fantasy" editor would have to keep abreast of all technological and scientific advancements, all experiments and elements in the rather vague science of parapsychology, along with all systems of `magic'or occult. A firm knowledge of history and mythology would also come in handy. A daunting task for any individual.

In addition today's editor would need an unlimited amount of time to explore the various aspects of a single book to ensure its accuracy. A luxury generally not made available to them. One publishing firm (which will remain unnamed) expects its editors to produce a book a week. How much time, then, can an editor give to a particular book?

As long as this situation persists one can imagine that fantasy will remain the umbrella under which the more precise and "scientific" SF must shelter. While we must satisfy ourselves with a single overworked individual who has the imagination to accept the elements of the fantastic. Leaving us to create our own definitions and categories as we go. I personally am perfectly happy to enjoy science fantasy in the same way I can put practicality aside and play with the fairies and the elves for a time when reading fantasy . . .as long as I know what to expect.

Sally Shears


Renowned author Bob Shaw passed away in his sleep on 11th February. He had taken ill on his honeymoon, following his marriage to Nancy Tucker. His books are innumerable and known to most die-hard SF fans. He will be missed.

Meetings Update

UK: Colchester SF/Fantasy/Horror meets at the Playhouse, St Johns, 12:30 the third Saturday of each month; contact Des Lewis 01255 812119 for further details.



Mar. 15-17. LUNACON '96. Rye Town Hilton, Rye Brook NY, U.S.A. GoH: Terry Pratchett, Esther Friesner. Visual Humour GoH: Phil Foglio. Fan GoH: Bruce Pelz. Origami GoH: Mark Kennedy. Registration: $33 to 15 February'96, higher at the door. Contact: Lunacon 96, Box 3566, New York NY 10008, U.S.A. Email:

Mar. 17-19. LONDON INTERNATIONAL BOOKFAIR. Grand Hall, Olympia Exhibition Centre, London, U.K. Trade fair for booksellers and publishers; not open to the public. Contact: London International Bookfair, Oriel House, 26 The Quadrant, Richmond Surrey TW9 1DL, U.K.

Mar. 22-24. 8th SF DAYS NRW. Duesseldorf, Germany. Theme: Religion. Contact: Heinrich Sporck, Am Sonnenberg 38, D-44879 Bochum 5, FRG. Tel: 49-234-461390

May 24-27. WISCON 20, Feminist Science Fiction Convention. Concourse Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

April 5-8. EVOLUTION, British National SF Convention. Heathrow (London), UK. GoH: Vernor Vinge, Colin Greenland, Jack Cohen, Brian Talbot, Paul Kincaid, Maureen Kincaid Speller. Registration: £ 20. Contact: Evolution, 13 Linfield Gardens, Hampstead, London, NW3 6PX, UK. Email:

April 12-14. I-CON XV. Long Island, NY, USA.GoH: George Alec Effinger, Doug Beekman, Tom Smith. Adult, at the door: US$28. Email: Blaine S Atkins.

June 20-23. Dragon*Con 1996. Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

July 26-28. SAARCON, SFCD annual convention. Germany. Themes: Eastern European SF, history of German fandom. Contact: Thomas Recktenwald, Huettenwerkstr. 40, D-66763 Dillingen, FRG. Tel: 06831-704555)

Queen's Birthday Weekend. CONSTELLATION. The Christchurch City Travelodge, New Zealand. Contact: Constellation, P.O. Box 29-119, Fendalton, Christchurch NZ.


March 28-31. INTERVENTION, British National Convention. Liverpool, UK. GoH: Brian Aldiss, David Langford, Robert Silverberg. Contact: Intervention, 12 Crowsbury Close, Emsworth, Hants, PO10 7TS, UK. Email:

June 26-29. Dragon*Con 1997. Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


Visit the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) Web Page for the answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Beginning Writers, Links to Web Catalogs, Model Contracts for Hardcover, Paperback and Anthology, Research Links, and much much more.

Explore the SF scene in Europe with the European Science Fiction Society.

Cross the Channel for the French online fanzine Quarante-Deux.

Check out the new SF news and reviews magazine SFX.

Read the on line SF mag, QUANTA.

Browse your way through European SF Bookstores.

Go square-eyed watching the Sci-Fi Channel Europe.

Try the new online SF-zine Science Fiction Weekly for a mixture of book reviews, movie, games and media news updated weekly.

Find all those theme tunes you keep humming to yourself.

Back Issues: 1996 January 2 1995 December 2 (Crush, Ben Jeapes), November 1 (Bad Timing, Molly Brown).


Visit London Science Museum's Star Trek Exhibition.

Visit the Star Trek Voyager homepage.

Klingon: the language of the future. Visit the home page of the Klingon Language Institute.

Let Quark the Ferengi guide you through his Star Trek Universe.

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Copyright (c) ESL 1996.
Note that information has been extracted from USENET articles, Web pages, and printed sources for this magazine. Any trademarks used are hereby acknowledged.