The Sword and Laser discussion

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Science Fiction meant a different thing when I was growing up... (pic)

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message 2: by Dennis (new)

Dennis | 90 comments We used to call it "merchandising".


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

We used to call it "screw it, no one will pay attention anyway"


message 4: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments Wow, the guy who took that picture predates Edgar Rice Burroughs. Must be pretty old.


message 5: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6203 comments Sean wrote: "Wow, the guy who took that picture predates Edgar Rice Burroughs. Must be pretty old."

By Edgar Rice Burroughs, do you mean Robert Jordan?


message 6: by Colin (new)

Colin | 278 comments According to my local library, "The Blade Itself" is adult science fiction...much like that photo.

Oh well. At least they didn't call it "genre"....


message 7: by Kate (last edited Feb 22, 2011 02:35AM) (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments If you start getting mad about marketing categories it will destroy you. I spent about 20 minutes in Waterstones patiently rooting through both SF and Fantasy looking for Thicker Than Water which is part of the Felix Castor series is about a London based exorcist who battles demons and ghosts, I'd call it urban fantasy, but Waterstones doesn't have a Urban Fantasy shelf so that should be shelved at Fantasy, right? Wrong.
I caved and asked at the information desk, where they told me it was probably in Horror.
Eventually I found it shelved in the Crime section.

My local indie bookseller had How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe shelved in Gen Fic. When I pointed out that it even had 'Science Fiction' in the title I received a blank look. The world simply doesn't care for pedants.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

My local library uses stickers on book spines to identify all the science fiction and fantasy. The sf gets the planet-with-rings sticker, and the fantasy gets the little rearing unicorn.


message 9: by Vance (new)

Vance | 362 comments Some bookstores at least have the (lazy) sense to call the whole genre "science fiction/fantasy" so they can be correct more often without having to put out the slightest effort.


message 10: by Bob (new)

Bob (shack) | 103 comments I love the "I hope these sell quick" section located at the front of the store. I have a very hard time locating books my son ask me to pick up for him. Usually young adult type books, but they could be in any of 5 sections. Fortunately the computer search is your friend.


message 11: by aldenoneil (new)

aldenoneil | 1000 comments Tamahome wrote: "Sean wrote: "Wow, the guy who took that picture predates Edgar Rice Burroughs. Must be pretty old."

By Edgar Rice Burroughs, do you mean Robert Jordan?"


Wait, what do either one of you mean?


message 12: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 1081 comments Those are all fantasy, many thse days mix the two together, some thinks that Science Fiction is more grow up so they try and say both are Science Fiction.


message 13: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 1081 comments mauve1976 wrote: "My local library uses stickers on book spines to identify all the science fiction and fantasy. The sf gets the planet-with-rings sticker, and the fantasy gets the little rearing unicorn."

I think, not for show, but many libraries do that.


message 14: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6203 comments aldenoneil wrote: "Tamahome wrote: "Sean wrote: "Wow, the guy who took that picture predates Edgar Rice Burroughs. Must be pretty old."

By Edgar Rice Burroughs, do you mean Robert Jordan?"

Wait, what do either one of you mean?"


I think he's joking that I grew up before all the books in the picture were published? If not his humor is too deep for me. :)


message 15: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments aldenoneil wrote: "Tamahome wrote: "Sean wrote: "Wow, the guy who took that picture predates Edgar Rice Burroughs. Must be pretty old."

By Edgar Rice Burroughs, do you mean Robert Jordan?"

Wait, what do either one ..."


Many of Edgar Rice Burrough's series, such as John Carter of Mars, Pellucidar, and The Land That Time Forgot, are commonly labeled science fiction even though they're pure fantasy by most standards.


message 16: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6203 comments Ohhhhh, now I see. I don't know, if something is in space, I would call it science fiction, like I would call Star Wars books science fiction. You may say it has bad science, and doing the Kessel run in 12 parsecs is impossible.


message 17: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6203 comments Maybe he was saying he found a shortcut through the Kessel run.


message 18: by Paul (new)

Paul Crittenden (mophreo) | 20 comments Categorizing anything is such a complex, subjective process. I know I'm forever tweaking my browser bookmarks and how I categorize my feeds in Google Reader.
I used to work for a big mega-bookstore and I often found it confounding how the higher-ups in marketing decided to categorize particular books. The thing is, a business has to put the products where they are most likely to sell. If more people buy books labelled "science fiction" than "fantasy" (and I have no idea if that is true or not) and there is even the slightest question about a book's category (even if readers like us would never raise that question) then the marketing department is always going to categorize the book "science fiction." I have no idea if that is the case with this particular picture but I know this happens.
Of course it could also just be ignorance on a random employee's part.


message 19: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6203 comments I also have a pet peeve about Computer Music magazine. It should be in the Music area, not the Computer area, at B&N, but confusion is understandable.


message 20: by Stan (new)

Stan Slaughter | 359 comments Adrienne wrote:

Unfortunately I don't think I've found a science fiction book yet that I think doesn't have bad science. I majored in physi..."


I'm a warrior barbarian from the mountains of Cimmeria and unfortunately I don't think I've found a fantasy book yet that I think doesn't have a bad fight scene...

:)


message 21: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6203 comments Stan wrote: "I'm a warrior barbarian from the mountains of Cimmeria and unfortunately I don't think I've found a fantasy book yet that I think doesn't have a bad fight scene..."

Sam Sykes & R A Salvatore have good fight scenes, at least they say they do.


message 22: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6203 comments Btw, I just saw the exactly same display at a 2nd B&N. I guess it's not a big deal, but it doesn't look to me like the home office knows about books.


message 23: by Ed (last edited Feb 25, 2011 08:22AM) (new)

Ed (edwardjsabol) | 170 comments Prior to 1980 or so it wasn't uncommon for bookstores to have separate science fiction and fantasy sections. This got increasingly confusing as more and more books were published that blurred the line between the two. Eventually, bookstores combined the two sections under "Science Fiction/Fantasy". As time passed, bookstores have started to drop the "/Fantasy" part.

There used be a movement (and still is in some pedantic circles) to redefine "SF" as meaning "speculative fiction", of which science fiction and fantasy were subgenres. It's not a bad idea really. The problem for bookstores is that customers may not know what "SF" means.


message 24: by Paul (new)

Paul Crittenden (mophreo) | 20 comments I think the real problem for bookstores is that their lunch is being eaten by Amazon. There is only so much physical space in a bookstore and they have to use that space for the big movers like Eat, Pray, Whatever and Moody Vampire Chronicles and bookstore owners have to shelve these popular books where people will find them. That means less space and attention is given to other parts of the store. Actually it's a big step backward for bookstores. B&N and Borders looks more and more like Waldenbooks with a coffee shop every day.


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