by Wyatt Earp
These days there is a lot of blurring of
science fiction and fantasy. Go to most Main St. bookstores
be one genre, mixing it up on the shelves. This was not
always so and when the publishers created the genres here
at Pan Historia they were obviously thinking old school.
Space ships = science fiction, elves and wizards = fantasy.
Undoubtedly the genres have a lot in common in the sense
of the play of imagination and speculation. What if? What
if we lived in the future with fantastic ‘magical’ seeming
technology? What if we lived in a past where magic was
real and the true science? Even the writers of the genres
are beginning to mix it up a bit. I can’t help but
think of Harry Harrison in this context. No elves yet,
but he’s started down the path of alternative history.
It’s all a big ‘what if’?
The best science fiction presents that 'what
a believable universe and engages our imagination down
paths that we’ve, perhaps, never gone before – not
simply giving us gadgets and cool technological advances.
Even better science fiction brings strong and psychologically
diverse characters into play – pitting against their
wits against situations that at first glance are fantastic,
but on closer inspection are mirrors to our own world.
Basically a science fiction story is the exploration of
an invented set of characters in an invented world, differing
from fantasy fiction, in the sense that science is presumed
to be the matrix that binds the universe, rather than magic,
and that some central idea is explored. What if we were
on a slow crawling generation ship between stars? What
if we made contact with beings from another planet? What
if world peace was finally achieved but only by our united
aggression against other worlds?
At Pan Historia the science fiction genre got off to a
slow start, but it’s beginning to look like that
is changing. A look at the science fiction daily index
and the sci-fi genre page will show quite a bit of activity
as more and more writers are attracted to the novels on
offer. Hopefully in time this community within a community
will move from strength to strength, as it explores this
new realm of interactive fiction within the context of
the science fiction storyline. You’ll even find that
some of the novels ‘mix it up’ a bit, blending
science fiction and fantasy. Due to the nature of interactive
fiction (role play, story play, what have you) you’ll
find a greater stress on character within the genre as
represented at Pan Historia.
So join us in this issue of the Pan Historian as we celebrate
science fiction and give you a little taste of the imaginative
stories that abound here.