The former orbits a loosely defined set of rules based on general adherence to a rational universe and scientific principles (but with enough exceptions/violations to provoke debate until the next Big Bang). The latter, to which I append the horror field and most comic books, grasps in its wonderfully malignant claws the irrational, the superstitious and that which simply cannot exist in a universe infused with what we accept as human logic.
Of course, SF – in fact, all fiction – could be said to fall within the wider framework of fantasy. And for the record, I grew up with as much passion for the novelistic works of J.R.R. Tolkien and Stephen King as I did for Arthur Clarke and Robert Heinlein, and continue to enjoy both genres.
But what annoys me to no end is the contemporary parade of films marketed as science fiction that, imho, fall into the fantasy category because one or more of its characters engage in the cinematic clichés of:
--outrunning explosions and massive fireballs.
--surviving bone-jarring falls from dizzying heights.
--winning epic gun battles with automatic weapons in which dozens of disposable villains are effortlessly mowed down.
The fact that so many of today’s so-called SF movies utilize these same logic-deprived story elements partly can be traced to the impact of videogames on contemporary filmmakers and audiences. And by inference, part of my issue with such over-the-top action sequences no doubt relates to the fact that I grew up in the age of pinball machines and the most primordial videogames, and thus am less inclined to accept such cartoonish absurdities.
Understand, I have no problem with the validity of such films. Just call them what they are: fantasies.
Here endeth the rant.