Science Fiction vs. Fantasy: Are They Really the Same? by Mike Squatrito
Hello, Ladies! My name is Mike Squatrito and I’m the author of The Overlords fantasy series. It’s my honor to be guest posting at Shelf Pleasure today, the first stop on my current tour, “The Overlords Blog Tour: Seven Blogs in Seven Days”. Before we get into the whole science fiction vs. fantasy debate, I’d first like to share a little about me and my books.
I currently live in Tiverton, RI with my wife, Lea, and our children, Devin and Samantha. I have been writing The Overlords fantasy series for over 20 years now. I self-published the first three novels in the Overlords collection and I’m working on the fourth as we speak. The stories are epic fantasy, on the lines of The Lord of the Rings, (written for middle school and up), with the character set influenced by the original Star Wars cast. I know, a can’t miss, right?!?
Since I’m a fantasy writer, there are many works that have influenced me over the years. Obviously, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are masterpieces and molded my view of fantasy from the beginning. However, Tolkien’s works were not the easiest reads. The highly evolved story lines and vastness of characters and their lineages made it difficult to follow at times. I knew early on in my writing that I wanted to make sure my audience connected with all my characters, without giving them a brain dump of each one’s backstory and family history. I also played Dungeons and Dragons in college (I know, what a shock!), which helped form the world my characters live in as well as fine tuning their backgrounds.
You might be surprised to hear this, but aside from J. R. R. Tolkien’s works, I really don’t read much fantasy. Call it blasphemy but I have not read any of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books! However, science fiction is another animal.
Having grown up in the Star Wars generation, I fell in love with everything George Lucas created, even if the later films were a bit lacking. But I cannot express the profound influence that Star Wars had on my creativity. I thoroughly enjoy the Star Wars spinoff stories written by other authors, especially those about the Old Republic and Darth Bane. The histories and mythologies are simply fascinating. You might be asking yourself, what does science fiction have to do with fantasy? I’m glad you asked.
To me, fantasy and science fiction are one and the same with the only difference being that technology is allowed in science fiction. Let me give you a few examples from my favorite influencers to help clarify. In fantasy, characters use hand held weapons – axes, swords, maces, bows and arrows, etc. – whereas blasters, spaceships, and light sabers litter the science fiction landscape. Fantasy has dwarves, elves, and goblins; science fiction has droids, Wookies, and Yoda. The Star Wars universe is loaded with aliens and exotic creatures; ditto for fantasy stories (think dragons!)
Fantasy uses its fair share of magic, which can only be used by those honed in the craft – magicians, witches, shamans, etc. But, isn’t the Force nothing more than magic? Jedi and Sith alike must master the ways of the Force, just like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings had to master magic. In both story lines, common people and those characters that are not trained in magic or using the Force are mystified by their powers, which are basically one and the same.
Mythologies are integral in all stories, especially fantasy and science fiction. A sacred ring must be destroyed before the evil entity Sauron controls all. The Death Star is destroyed, twice, to stop the evil Sith from controlling the galaxy. OK, the ring had to be carried across a myriad of hostile landscapes before it was destroyed whereas Luke Skywalker and his friends zipped around the galaxy in their star fighters before destroying the Death Star. You see where I’m going!
For those of you who are new to the science-fiction/fantasy genre, I would give these following books a read. For fantasy, start with Tolkien’s The Hobbit and follow that with The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This is pure fantasy in its perfect form. Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is another solid piece of fantasy work, but it’s a very long read with over 12 books at almost 1,000 pages apiece. After you fall in love with fantasy, be sure to pick up my Overlords series, beginning with Legend of the Treasure (or just start here first!).
As for science fiction, give the original Star Wars book by George Lucas a read. Yes, I know you know the story inside and out, but the book is very good. I also loved the way Matthew Stover went about writing Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, and most books written about the Old Republic are great reads.
These genres give us an escape from our day to day lives and immerse us in different worlds, with interesting characters on majestic journeys. Thank you for the opportunity to share this space with you.
Mike Squatrito has been writing The Overlords series for over fifteen years. Mike speaks at middle and high schools, colleges, local libraries, and writer’s groups where his sincere hope is to inspire everyone he meets, get their creative juices flowing, and help people attain their dreams.
When not working on the Overlords series, Mike is very active in fitness and sports. He continues to play baseball where he is a knuckleball pitcher for the Narragansett Brewers. He is also the head coach for his son’s Babe Ruth team, runs 4 to 5 miles on a regular basis, does interval weight and cardio training, and takes Vinyasa yoga classes twice a week. Did we mention that he is an engineer, too, working on Homeland Defense projects? Contact Mike via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Overlords.
Learn more and order books from The Overlords series here.
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