Particular Ramblings

From time to time I like to have a post about a single topic, but I also like my schizophrenic style of topic changing that is the norm for me. So, I've decided to double up and do a particular topic first, then (maybe) do a normal post.
First, a topic I've been looking up quite a bit of recently. Speculative Fiction, aka Sci Fi/Fantasy.
Now, these two genres are often at odds due to their obviously different philosophies regarding realism. However, the two sides tend to categorize things in similar fashions.
Firstly, on the Sci Fi end of the spectrum, things are organized according to their coordination with known scientific theory, referred to as "hardness" with the soft end representing Comic Book Science, and the hard end has everything being technically possible. This side is considered the "Serious Science Fiction".
On the other hand, you have Fantasy. (Note: the previous link goes to the blog of Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn Trilogy, which is amazing. The specified entry has information on the topic I'm currently addressing, but in the form of his own thoughts on the matter. I do tend to agree with him, though I like to expand a bit on the material I'm handed.) Which is sort of the other way, with more scientifically organized types of magic falling on the Hard end, and more ethereal, vague, and mystical type of magic in the Soft, which is considered the more traditional type of Fantasy literature.
These two systems are often thought of as distinct, but actually have more in common than one might originally suppose. My belief is that these two can be placed end to end, SF Soft meeting Fantasy Hard, to form a rather interesting gradient. One might think that the hard ends might be the ones to have more in common, which would be one line of reasoning, but Hard Fantasy (i.e., Mistborn) has more in common with Comic Book Science than the stuff on the Hard SF side of things.
Both CBS and HF rely heavily on the concept of "it just does" when asked to explain why things work the way they do in their stories, but have a pretty specific answer on the side how it works. Ask why a radioactive spider altered a man's DNA, and your source will be left at a loss, but ask what effects it has on him and you can get a whole list of the special abilities derived from such an incident. Compared to it's fantasy counterpart, which, rather than stammering for a why, can simply reply that it works by magic. Or that, perhaps, A Wizard Did It? The same list of effects can be procured as well. The majority of differences between a Jedi and, say, a Mistborn, is in the setting and style.
Now, this on its own forms a rather neat connection between the two genres, but I'm not done yet.
There is one thing that most fantasy fans tend to misunderstand when it comes to their genre. They believe that the Harder it is, the closer it is to reality, but, in reality (or fictional reality, as the case may be) it's the other way. At least, stylistically.
My point is this, IRL, there there is no magic, which is what makes fantasy fantasy, however, most fantasy fans consider HF's tendency toward scientific organization to be making it more realistic, which its not. Because of its organization, it becomes that much more prevalent in its culture, whereas magic becomes more scarce the softer the fantasy is. That's what we think, anyway.
In ancient myths from all across the world, anything that they didn't understand was called magical, simply because it was beyond their current grasp. Weather patterns, biology, chemical reactions, all were attributed to mystic forces before they were defined by scientific methods. This is the original fantasy, which has been warped as time goes on to become what we see today.
Look again at the scale which we've constructed by merging the two we had before. As you approach the far scientific end, you get more and more realistic, but on the other end, the fantasy end, the softer you get, the more real it becomes. When you reach either extreme, the setting becomes reality as we know it. Now we have a conundrum:
Why are these two considered mutually exclusive when they have so much in common?
The answer is in the way an author comes at it. A hard SF author is going to get down into the nitty gritty scientific details when they construct their world, where a soft fantasy author takes the opposite approach, the ancient way of saying that anything that can't be explained in easy terms is magic.
And in a way, both are right. Scientific explanations for everything take the magic out of life, but aren't the very effects of the explained phenomena still wondrous in their own right? A bird stays in the air, the rain falls anyway, your heart still beats. Yet these can be explained in their most basic forms through the efforts of human intellect, diligence, and ingenuity.
But what to do with the scale? If you flip it around so that the SF and HS match up, you lose the congruence we had before. But what if we bend the scales? Stretch the ends til they mesh, become a single circle of fiction.

It has a rather nice symmetry to it, doesn't it?

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Use the rule of Thumper as applied to writing, "If you can't say anything helpful, don't say anything at all." And if I see ONE "F1R$T!!" I'm going to eviscerate you.
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