Science Fiction Versus Fantasy - Which One is Best?


F is off to a flying start here, the storylines are long, complex, and epic in size and scope. They often cover several generations, cross continents and invoke powerful magics against spectacular monsters. There’s love and hate aplenty, friendships made and lost, and re-made at the end, usually when someone’s dying. There’s sacrifice and loss, redemption and even resurrection. F has it all.
S is also off with a rocket, matching F blow for blow on epicness, scale and grandeur across time, space and reality. There are also huge monsters, and instead of magic they have technology. F might have dragons, but S has cool robots, both cute and deadly.
Looks like we’ll have to call this one a draw.


F is almost expected to have to characters with an interesting past and a preordained future, with plenty of baggage and secrets and a mysterious ring/tattoo/birthmark shaped like a bagel. (No, you’re thinking of a beagle.) Many of these characters are now household names, like Harry Potter, Gandalf, and Tyrion Lannister. They, or their clones, appear in all sorts of places, and you can probably hire a generic wizard costume in any fancy dress hire shop, which will almost certainly look like Gandalf.
S is no slouch when it comes to beaming down its own collection of fully-rounded characters, with their own pasts, secrets, and coincidently, the same mysterious ring/tattoo/birthmark shaped like a bagel, which seems to be something of a universal constant. Most people know Darth Vader on sight, who’s costume will be hanging next to Gandalf’s in the shop. Kirk and his crew are widely known, as is the Alien from the Alien franchise, and the Predator from the Predator franchise, not to mention the Alien Versus Predator franchise, which is unrelated to this particular Versus challenge.
Another draw in this very close competition.


F has a high watchability factor, mainly due to the complex characters, involved backstories, and detail put into the world-building. F does lose a little in this area due to the epic nature of some stories, which build to the inevitable conclusion of the main characters triumphing over evil, even if they lose a few on the way.
S, particularly modern S, is as epic in scope and scale as any F, with the same attention to detail, complex plots and off shoots. S also suffers the same as F, despite some classic, “I am your father!” moments, we all know good is going to stomp on evil, (unless it’s film two) and everyone’s happy at the end, including the robots.
The true test of rewatchability is if you watch the same films, or read the same books, over and over, because despite knowing what happens, the material is so good. Most S and F have this factor by the bucket load.
We’ll have to call this one a draw.


Neither S nor F are known for humour, with some obvious exceptions. Some characters are obviously put there for comic relief, Merry and Pippin, R2D2 and C3PO, Joffrey Baratheon, but even then their contributions to the more lighter moments are scarce. What is it about S and F creators that makes them so serious? Most other genres, including crime, have some humour, even if it’s dark. Come on peeps, lighten up.
Neither side come out well here, no points awarded.


We all need heroes, and F provides them in a wide variety. The heroes of LoTR and Willow are little people who don’t let their stature affect them, using smarts and guile when height isn’t enough. Although F has a history of locking pink-clad flowery princesses away in towers/dungeons/macho fantasies, recent princesses have been more realistic and more capable.
Everyday people in F worlds are also becoming more gender balanced, particularly warriors, although most still insist on giving them ranged weapons, because women can’t stab people with swords, right?
S is about the same, giving us male and female heroes of various kinds, although, apart from Han Solo, most of them are young. We have more ethnic diversity as well, which in a S story should have been there right from the start. It’s a wide galaxy after all, and infinitely varied.
So, both good and getting better, so another draw.

Betterment of Mankind

F has made a major contribution to improving the lives of its fans by allowing them to forget their daily cares for a few hours. Immersing yourself in a deep story in a strange world populated by weird creatures is a great way to relax, even if the story is dark and scary.
S has made a similar contribution to F, in that it’s provided people with a place to go to shelter from the stark realities of reality. In addition, S invented robots, space travel, personal transport, computers, time, solar power, radio, gravity, and mobile phones, as well as many other life-changing scientific breakthroughs, all created by S writers before being actually discovered by science. (But not, apparently, fax machines.) Without all these things humanity would be physically, mentally and philosophically poorer.
So S takes the point right at the last minute, snatching victory from under the elven noses of F.

In conclusion, S and F are pretty equal, but S is more equal than F and so wins the tournament. Let S bask in the glory of its own success.

If you disagree with the result, noticed some bias creeping in at the last minute, or want to congratulate me on a concise and witty article, please contact me.