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Sci-Fi > Does it bother you that Bookstores lump Sci-fi with Fantasy?

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J.D. Stroube | 2393 comments Mod
I'm not a huge fan of Sci-fi, but I am an adoring fan of fantasy. Being on the other end, I was curius if it irritates you that Sci-fi and Fantasy are always lumped together?
I find it bothers me, because although to some they might be similar...I feel that they are vastly different! I hate sifting through one genre to find the other.
Does that bother you?


message 2: by new_user (last edited Jun 27, 2009 10:52PM) (new)

new_user The only real similarity between them is that sci-fi is a kind of fantasy in the strictest sense. However, with the exception of a few books that blur the boundaries, they're usually vastly different, the most obvious being that one usually takes place in the future with technology, the other in another reality/universe altogether, often with minimal or no technology.

I usually don't have a problem because the sci-fi books are easy to identify and few in comparison. I would probably be more annoyed if there were a huge stock of sci-fi books I had to rifle through.


Lauren | 244 comments It only bothers me when I can't find a book. Some times my borders will put a book in the fantasy/scifi section or the romance section for example- I have found Laurell K. Hamilton all over the place. the worse part is it just has to be some kid messing it up cause her Anita Blake series is not even together some are over there some over there ugh drives me nuts. they really should just block out a section that says All Paranormal here. hehe


Eastofoz Being that I don't read either I thought "what's the difference?" --thanks for the info NU ;)


J.D. Stroube | 2393 comments Mod
LOL When I was younger I was more into fantasy than any other genre. I HATED that they lumped them together, b/c they are different. I think that bookstores need to begin separating the genres a little more.
For instance, like Lauren said paranormal fantasy and historical fantasy are REALLY different too. It would be a lot easier to find what I was looking for, if bookstores separated the two, but put them next to one another. I would be sooo much happier. LOL Although, I realize that this would complicate the lives of the people who had to take the time to separate the two...


Terri (TerriLovesCrows) | 185 comments IT doesnt bother me because I read it all.


Karyn (HonestbutEvil) | 37 comments It doesn't usually bother me but the bookstore I use most regularly is cutting down the fantasy and sci fi titles they carry and refused to order in the book I wanted. They were kind of rude about it too. I think that when they have such few sci-fi and fantasy titles in stock then they should organise the shelves better to show which is which.


LaTrica | 121 comments Doesn't bother me but I don't usually browse bookstores. I browse internet web site, keep a list, and buy whatever is on my list when I go to the store.


J.D. Stroube | 2393 comments Mod
I'm really big on browsing Barnes and Noble so I hate that the two are lumped together. It isn't as big of a deal if I know what I am looking for...


Terri (TerriLovesCrows) | 185 comments Karyn wrote: "It doesn't usually bother me but the bookstore I use most regularly is cutting down the fantasy and sci fi titles they carry and refused to order in the book I wanted. They were kind of rude about ..."

It seems to me ordering a book is a guaranteed sale so that is really weird


Karyn (HonestbutEvil) | 37 comments It's a crappy store these days. They won't stock or order Laurrel K Hamilton, J.R. Ward or anything that isn't on the best sellers and they charge a fortune for books by Irish authors which is ridiculous as almost their entire customer base is in Ireland. It's easier for me to use ebay now. Paying the extra cost for postage is worth i as I get the book I want.

The store used to have a really good fantasy range which was beside the Sci Fi section but clearly marked. Not anymore. Fantasy and sci fi take up about four shelves and when both genres are all mixed in together when they have so few titles it becomes annoying.


J.D. Stroube | 2393 comments Mod
Karyn wrote: "It's a crappy store these days. They won't stock or order Laurrel K Hamilton, J.R. Ward or anything that isn't on the best sellers and they charge a fortune for books by Irish authors which is ridi..."

Maybe you should look for a different bookstore? Do you have any other ones near you?




Karyn (HonestbutEvil) | 37 comments Not really, but so far everything I want I can find on ebay. It's just the sitting knowing that a book I can't wait to read is at the mercy of the postal service.


Elvia (elvb) | 576 comments It only bothers me when I'm looking for a book. That's why I search online first for the specific title. USUALLY it can tell you what section to find it in lol. Books-a-million is HORRIBLE at sectioning their books correctly. I found LKH in the Romance section AND the Horror section. Wth?! lol I think if it were in a SciFi section I would ALMOST understand that...it's close enough to Fantasy...sort of.


J.D. Stroube | 2393 comments Mod
Elvia wrote: "It only bothers me when I'm looking for a book. That's why I search online first for the specific title. USUALLY it can tell you what section to find it in lol. Books-a-million is HORRIBLE at se..."

I get irritated at that too. I can't stand it when I find a book in a section that is the polar opposite of its genre! :O



message 16: by Jerry (last edited Dec 03, 2009 10:59AM) (new)

Jerry Travis (jerrytravis) | 16 comments As a sci-fi reader and author, yes it does bother me a lot to have fantasy grouped with it. No offense to fantasy readers! It's just that they're so different. In my mind, sci-fi is something that could really happen in the real world, if technology and circumstances happen to move in a certain direction. Fantasy usually constructs totally fictional worlds that operate on their own "laws of physics", totally alien to our own. There are exceptions of course, such as Dune, which seems to be both - to my mind anyway. But most sci-fi and fantasy are distinctly different and should be grouped accordingly.


Jerry Travis (jerrytravis) | 16 comments As an author, my books seem to deny the concept of genre. They have elements of sci-fi (probably more than anything else), historical fiction, speculative fiction (in science, philosophy, politics and religion), and even a little romance and paranormal romance - if I understand those last two correctly. When writing, I actually have fun jumping around from one construct to another as is required to tell the story. I think it's a fatal error to write for a specific genre just to turn a buck. In ten years, most of those books will be gone from the human scene. I would like to believe that what I write has some substance to it and will be around for many years to come.


message 18: by Debra (last edited Feb 11, 2010 04:43PM) (new)

Debra Harrison (BookCollecting101) | 1 comments I am old enough to remember when going into a bookstore and looking for science fiction was easy - You went to that section and there it was. There was little if any fantasy (I am not usually a fan of fantasy).

Now when you go to a bookstore, you have to search through reams of fantasy just to find science fiction - and there do not seem to be a lot of new science fiction books coming out these days. It used to really bug me and I still long for the good ole' days...

I finally gave up and now read across a broad range of genre so it may have been for the best...

At one point, I read so much science fiction that it was hard to go to a bookstore and find something I had not already read. That is no longer a problem as I read many types of fiction.

Short answer - Yes, and no...


stormhawk | 1175 comments If you haven't done so already, head straight for "S."

John Scalzi

I particularly recommend Android's Dream.

Then read Old Man's War and Ghost Brigades.

Old school hard SF with a modern sense of humor.


Chriss | 15 comments It doesn't bother me at all that bookstores lump sci-fi and fantasy into the same shelves.

1. There are many books that kind of straddle the line; McCaffrey's Pern series, China Mieville's The Scar, Gail Carriger's Souless, etc.

2. Some Sci-fi and Fantasy (SFF) authors write stories in both genres and you can more easily discover more works by an author you like if they're next to each other. For instance, A. Lee Martinez (Too Many Curses, Automatic Detective).

3. So you've got to look at some fantasy when you want sci-fi and sort through sciency stories when you want fantasy. Shopping for SFF books is like shopping for fruit; you should be able to tell a mango from a potato and not be greatly inconvenienced by them sharing the same 20' of the produce section. If you follow my loose metaphor.

I just noticed it's almost opening time at the library so I'm hoping off the soap box and scurrying off to get my fix.


aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot) (CheshireScratches) It only irritates when I'm in a mood to browse a specific genre.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

It doesnt bother me much, because I find sometimes I will browse and find new books to read that I might not have otherwise chosen if they were seperated. However I agree with the writer above who mentioned how small the section was. That can be irritating especially considering the recent popularity. :)


Carolyn F. The thing that irritates me is the library bunches fantasy with sci-fi even putting a picture of an alien on the spine. Most fantasy books have no sci-fi in them at all so I don't get how they can put them in that category.


Elvia (elvb) | 576 comments It irritates me when my HUSBAND does it. He said vampires/werewolves are scifi. What? I read a book where vampires were created from a virus. That might be considered scifi. But vampires based on the mythology....NOT scifi. He didn't understand that at all. He actually said I was wrong. hahaha


Brian Woods (brianwoods) | 1 comments Many years ago the sci-fi section and the fantasy section were so small they grouped them together. But now they could stand apart but I personally see no reason. Most readers that like fantasy, also like sci-fi.


Jason Anderson | 4 comments it's like putting pretzels in the beer isle. they go well together


Carolyn F. Elvia wrote: "It irritates me when my HUSBAND does it. He said vampires/werewolves are scifi. What? I read a book where vampires were created from a virus. That might be considered scifi. But vampires based on t..."

I agree with you, it has to have something even minuscule that has to do with "science".


Wendy Dwight | 3 comments I think both genres are equally good in both their own rights. Give them each the space they deserve. They are not necessarily interchangable and desire their own shelf each. I mean they like fire and ice. Granted therre may be some melting together in the middle but most of it is very different. They can be shelfed in neighbooring sections just as long as they each get their own section.


S.C. | 6 comments In the Barnes and Noble I frequent, the section is called Science Fiction and Fantasy, but the fantasy and sci-fi tend to be separated by shelves. I'm a big fantasy reader though and I'd like to see that genre broken down a little further. It can get a wee bit frustrating.


Janet | 45 comments I prefer sci fi and fantasy grouped together on the shelves; it's still more specific than the even wider variety of novels called simply "fiction." I think bookstores could do a better job with subgenre displays though. Most displays seem to only feature one book at a time, or put totally unrelated best sellers near one another. I imagine publishers are paying for the privilege.. but it would be nice to have at least some displays grouping topically.


Stefan Wit | 3 comments It's a little frustrating, mainly from an author's perspective, given that the consumer typically expects the science fiction genre to be more fantasy-like. There are a number of authors whose works fall into an adventure sci-fi genre, possibly something like Total Recall, which is pretty much my writing genre. I would definitely like to see a separate genre labeled Futuristic Thriller, for example.


Valerie | 265 comments J.D. wrote: "I'm really big on browsing Barnes and Noble so I hate that the two are lumped together."

Barnes & Noble is pretty much my home away from home! LOL I'm not a fan of sci-fi... and I do read a little fantasy. I don't like that the 2 are usually "lumped" together... to me they are quite different. It would be nice if they were separated so people who liked those specific genres could find them easier, and in their own sections


Andrea Jackson (paperbackdiva) It does bother me, quite a lot. I feel like someone in the bookstore doesn't know what the genres are. Off on a tangent-- I think television is even worse. I'm still way annoyed about the Sci-fi channel changing its name to Sy-Fy. It makes the genre sound so stupid. But then again, they have so many straight-up horror movies on that they seem to think are sci-fi...or maybe that's in the sy-fy genre?


stormhawk | 1175 comments Stefan wrote: "Igiven that the consumer typically expects the science fiction genre to be more fantasy-like."

I've never heard that before.

Most "real" (i.e., hard) science fiction readers wouldn't be caught dead reading fantasy. They're actually more likely to read an author like Tom Clancy rather than fantasy.


Stefan Wit | 3 comments To clarify; my comment is only in reference to the amalgamation of the two in a retail environment. Fantasy is a much larger genre and overpowers the true sci-fi authors, resulting in a selection bias. It's really has nothing to do with what sci-fi readers prefer to read. Apologies for misleading you.


stormhawk | 1175 comments It's a matter of perspective. You like fantasy, and see fantasy as the larger, more significant genre.

I, on the other hand, know that to be true of science fiction, and always resented the sf shelf space being cluttered up with dragons and fairies.


Meg Mims (httpwwwgoodreadscommegmims) J.D. wrote: "I'm not a huge fan of Sci-fi, but I am an adoring fan of fantasy. Being on the other end, I was curius if it irritates you that Sci-fi and Fantasy are always lumped together?
I find it bothers me..."


TOTALLY agree. Such different genres, but with fewer shelf space in the dwindling bookstores, it won't matter because the ebook universe has PLENTY of elbow room! LOL. And all genres are expanding beyond the boundaries - for example, comedic mystery, including hot sex/romance.


Valerie Douglas (ValerieDouglasakaVJDevereaux) | 24 comments There are the crossover books, like the Dragonriders series, fantasy mixed with sci-fi and romance. The dragons were created by breeding and altering the DNA, and the original settlers arrived by spaceship. Dragons and DNA...


Jenn (bookishevents) | 9 comments I'd like to see them in separate sections that are close to each other, I'm not much for Sci-Fi for the most part but Fantasy is one of my favorite genres. I wouldn't mind them side by side but I'd like to at least seem them slightly sorted out.


Michelle (In Libris Veritas) (Shadowrose) | 534 comments It doesn't really bother me. I see the two genres as being fairly close to one another and there are quite a bit of crossover genres now. For the most part I ignore sci-fi so I really don't even notice the books if I'm in that section.


Susan | 14 comments It doesn't usually bother me since I do read both unless I am looking for a particular book and I can't find it because of how the book store classified it.


Janet | 45 comments Andrea wrote: "I'm still way annoyed about the Sci-fi channel changing its name to Sy-Fy. "

It's the fault of that woman who took over who didn't even like sci-fi and changed so much about the station. It's so sad, since there were so many good shows on SciFi back around 2000. Now that she's gone maybe there's hope again.


Janet | 45 comments Susan wrote: "It doesn't usually bother me since I do read both unless I am looking for a particular book and I can't find it because of how the book store classified it."

That is annoying and bookstores have no excuse, since they have enough copies they could put the books in both places, instead of making people hunt for it. For example Kim Harrison should be in both paranormal romance and sci fi, not one or other. And Jim Butcher should be in both mystery and sci fi.


eleanor | 73 comments The B&N by my house has for the last several years, as well as Horror & Fiction. I believe to make room. There's a Larger selection of YA books out there now. IMO


Nancy Janet wrote: "I prefer sci fi and fantasy grouped together on the shelves; it's still more specific than the even wider variety of novels called simply "fiction." I think bookstores could do a better job with su..."

I used to work at Books a Million and I really wish we could've grouped our books differently, especially in the fiction section. I remember one customer who asked me where the horror books were and I had to tell him that they were lumped in with all the fiction books. It's ok if you know a specific title or author you're looking for, but it can be frustrating for the customer who is looking for new authors to read in a specific genre, like horror.

I'm not a real big science fiction fan (I prefer fantasy), but it doesn't bother me that much that the two genres are lumped together. I've gotten used to having to look through the sci-fi books to find the fantasy ones.


Vivian (samuraibunny) | 130 comments It never bothered me either, although I could understand where everyone is coming from. I, too, have learned to overlook the sci-fi books when searching for fantasy. I also agree on the giant "literature/ fiction" section, SUPER annoying to me, especially when I'm trying to discover new genre books.


message 47: by Larry (last edited Aug 11, 2011 07:31PM) (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) Fantasy is currently the leading sub genre of speculative fiction. Fifty years ago it was Sci-Fi hands down. Thirty years ago Romance novels far exceeded fantasy. If not for Tolkien's Ring trilogy, fantasy might never have become that popular.

Murder in the Pinelands (Inside Story) by Larry Moniz


Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) Janet wrote: "Andrea wrote: "I'm still way annoyed about the Sci-fi channel changing its name to Sy-Fy. "

It's the fault of that woman who took over who didn't even like sci-fi and changed so much about the sta..."


"Sy-Fy" has solidly established itself as the identity of the channel. As branding is one of the more important aspects of marketing, it's HIGHLY unlikey the name will change unless there's a drastic drop in market share. If that happens, it's just as likely the network will change its programming format to something else. Just my take after many years in marketing.

Self-Promotion for Authors by Larry Moniz


Cheryl | 24 comments I read both sci-fi and fantasy. It used to bother me more that bookstores usually combined the two but I don't mind now. I'm usually browsing rather than looking for something specific.


Jessica (applejess) The only thing that's ever bothered me about bookstore setup is when they don't alphabetise their books. Stick sci-fi with fantasy, lump it all in with fiction, I don't care... just put them in order so I can find things!


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