The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) The Way of Kings question

Bill Bill Feb 05, 2014 09:48AM
While I love reading most types of books my favourite genres are historical and fantasy fiction.
The only type/genre of books I don't enjoy and avoid is science fiction.

Currently I am reading The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson which I had seen described as fantasy fiction. I have to say I am really enjoying this book but to my mind I would say there are strong elements of science fiction also as far as this book is concerned.

Does anyone know of a distinct line between the 2 genres and if so what determines which category they belong to?

This is copied from Yahoo but is also what I have read elsewhere:
Science fiction deals with things that might possibly happen (or, in the case of the subgenre of science fiction known as alternate history, things that possibly could have happened); fantasy deals with things that never could happen.

There is always a path from our here-and-now to the milieu of a science-fiction story: usually that path simply involves time passing and plausible advances in science and changes in society taking place during that time.

There is never a path from our here-and-now to the milieu of a fantasy story: no matter how much you might want to get to the fantasy world, you can't, because magic and supernatural powers do not work in our universe -- you can't get there from here.

Hello :) Science fiction has something to do with futuristic elements such as spaceships and complicated guns for example. While Fantasy fictions involves Magics, Dragons etc. Way of kings belongs to Fantasy fiction. Although you might confuse time travel by someone in way of kings, it is considered his magic and not some device to make you go back or go forward in time. Hope this satisfies your curiosity :)

deleted member Feb 28, 2014 06:39PM   0 votes
To me, "Science Fiction vs. Fantasy" is not a very helpful distinction. They're both speculative fiction (dealing with things that aren't real, and maybe aren't even possible in our world.) But within spec fic, there's a huge range of technology levels (and magic levels, for that matter.) Hard/soft sci fi, science fantasy, steampunk (/atompunk/dieselpunk/cyberpunk/a thousand other 'punks), magitek, urban fantasy, low/high fantasy...

WOK definitely falls on the fantasy end of the spectrum, since the emphasis is on the magic, not the machines. Maybe in the magitek range (a fantasy world with relatively advanced technology, but powered by magic rather than steam/gasoline/electricity.)

deleted member Mar 03, 2014 05:09PM   0 votes
There is no definite line. A lot of times, yes there are books that fall under a very clear and specific category. However, there's a lot of blurring.

As far as the speculative fiction umbrella goes, there are four basic genres: fantasy, science-fiction, horror and alternate history. Then there's the two fairly popular odd-ball genres: weird fiction and steampunk.

These two oddballs, while are very definitely their own thing, each draw elements from the four core spec-fic genres.

LotR is very clearly a fantasy novel and Fire Upon the Deep is quite clearly a science-fiction novel. However, guys like Brandon Sanderson write things that blur the lines. While yes, it is epic fantasy, it's clear he was paying attention to science when writing TWoK and all of the Cosmere novels in fact. While it doesn't necessarily use science we ourselves are completely familiar with, it pays strict attention to its own internal logic and science.

Yes, it definitely dips over to sci-fi a bit. But I consider it an epic fantasy novel. Not that it matters how it was labeled anyway, I'll read anything and would have found this masterpiece eventually, and loved it all the same.

Natalia Really? Sanderson is typical fantasy for me. I have never seen any of his work as even remotely sci-fi. Probably because I have read about the distinc ...more
Mar 03, 2014 11:20PM · flag
Christian I've never seen a convincing argument for steampunk being a separate genre. To me all the identifying traits people bring up seems largely aesthetic a ...more
Oct 19, 2014 05:28PM · flag

I'm wondering if the strong magical systems and so on in place in Way of Kings is giving you this feeling of science fiction.

The fabrials for example seem to me to be Brandon's answer to modern technology in a fantasy world - wireless communication for example through paired fabrials.

It's definitely a fantasy book in my opinion. Science Fiction more often than not takes a modern age+ timeline and bases anything fictional on a real scientific - or pseudo-scientific - phenomenon.

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