SciFi and Fantasy sharing space at bookstores.

14 years ago | apocalypsenovel (Member)

It bothers me a great deal that in most large book sellers (i.e. B&N) these two gendres have to share space. Why not Romance and Fantasy, or SciFi and Thrillers? Yes, there is a crossover among some authors, but no greater than in other gendres. Most Fantasy readers that I know don't like Science Fiction, and vise-versa. (In full disclosure I am in the vice-versa category, though some writers here are trying to convert me)
Am I out to lunch? (Okay, too open ended and open to interpretation taht may embarass me)
Does it bother anyone else and why? (Better - avoids me)

Read responses...


  1. Alex McG (Member)

    Posted 14 years ago

    It really only bothers me when there's only one or the other. If there's a sci-fi/fantasy section, that's okay (not ideal) because they do share a lot of characteristics and readers (not sticking to actual "realism" for one thing).
    However, it does bother me when there's only a sci-fi section (or, less frequently, just a fantasy section) and all the fantasy stuff is just stuck in there. Fantasy is not sci-fi. That's like putting all the thrillers in the mystery section or something like that.

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  2. Sonja Nitschke (Member)

    Posted 14 years ago

    That is a pet peeve of mine.

    Nothing bothers me more than beelining towards the SCI-FI section and finding Fantasy, with a few Sci Fi stuff hidden in there for good measures.

    Drives me batty. It's like false advertising. Dashed hopes. Stealing candy from a baby.

    ...maybe I'm overreacting.

    Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand. -- Kurt Vonnegut
  3. apocalypsenovel (Member)

    Posted 14 years ago

    No. Definitely not over reacting. I feel the same way. Having to look through all the hot new fantasy books.and finding the same old copies of "I, Robot", "the Mote in God's Eye" and the Ender series... Drives me crazy! When I have to resort to convincing myself tha SM Stirling is scifi or that perhaps I should read another Steriber book ' cause Communion was good...AAAARRRGH!!!

  4. NiSp (Member)

    Posted 14 years ago

    keep sci-fi in its place, i say! erm, that is on its own lovely shiny set of shelves. It's those high-browed literary types who turn from the imagined stench of anything they can not understand (sci-fi and fantasy) that rack 'em and stack 'em. we are all labelled (authors and readers of such trash) under the same heading 'undesirable' and it's assumed we're interchangeable. so why not save time and effort and lump our books together?

    ok, some sweeping generalisation there but perhaps it answers your question. over the years i've learned to deal with it, but your question has forced me to think again. why should we put up with this false characterisation? why lay down quietly and accept what some snot-nosed kid too lazy to use his imagination says? i shall become a crusader for the rights of... then i remembered reading some other section signs at my local bookstore: mystery/thrillers and self-help/religion...

    huh. maybe i'll just have to infiltrate the ranks and work quietly from the inside...

  5. Miladysa (Member)

    Posted 14 years ago

    I am a supporter of mixing everything together and having a good rummage! Labels can often do more harm than good.

    Since I stumbled across this site I have been reading my way through numerous stories and making new discoveries about my taste in fiction. I have discovered genres - I am not ashamed to admit - I had no idea existed!

    Cyberpunk - There is no way I would make my way to a section with that heading yet having just read all the available chapters of Street I would now call myself a fan.

  6. Tahjir (Member)

    Posted 14 years ago

    Huh. I don't think I've ever been in a bookstore that mixed Fantasy and SciFi. All the Chapters' I've been to in Canada tend to have the two separated by a shelf or two, and even separate stand alone authors from stuff like Forgotten Realms and the like.

    I've never been in a B&N, so I've always assumed that's the way everyone did it. Weird.

    Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy
  7. Eli James (Moderator)

    Posted 14 years ago

    This bothers me, even though I'm not really a sci-fi fan. I've read quite a few from both genres, though, growing up, and I simply cannot understand what these two genres share other than a minority fanbase.

    On the other hand, though, I'm glad that there actually IS a scifi/fantasy section in my local bookstore - the day that they throw everything out for bestsellers and chick-lit is, I feel, the premise of a horrible nightmare.

  8. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 14 years ago

    Where I live (the US), I've pretty much always seen the two genres mixed through each other. I'm sure that someone with a better grasp of the history of publishing than I do could make a good guess why.

    My best guess is that back when people really looked down on the genres, the powers that be decided that neither of them can really happen so they'd put them together. Interestingly, horror usually seems to be near them, but not mixed in.

    Now, of course, we're kind of stuck with the division/mixture. I don't think that libraries and bookstores will have any reason to change it unless either science fiction or fantasy becomes extremely popular.

  9. acetachyon (Member)

    Posted 14 years ago

    The categorization never really bothered me, so long as there IS such a section in a bookstore.

    I tend to see it more as a result of bookstore marketing departments subscribing to existing genre categories.

    I'm sure if you go to a specialty bookstore, one that deals only in science fiction and fantasy, you'll likely find divisions. SF on one side, Fantasy on the other. And broken down even further by sub-genres.

    KAT AND MOUSE, GUNS FOR HIRE When the going gets tough, the tough shoot back
  10. DustinM (Member)

    Posted 14 years ago

    In my part of the country I usually go to Borders for my dead tree literature. Some stores mix scifi\fantasy and some don't. It seems to depend on the size of the Borders store. I find the practice mildly irritating, but not enough to do anything about it. Maybe after more frequent trips to the bookstore I'll change my opinion.

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  11. allantmichaels (Member)

    Posted 14 years ago

    I can't say I'm too upset by it. But then, I read liberally in both genres. I'm just as happy with a good fantasy yarn as I am with a good sci fi one. And one of my favorite series I've ever read (the Adept series, by Piers Anthony) does a great job of mixing both.

    I'm much more upset by Hollywood's tendency to make every sci-fi film a horror film as well. But that's a subject for a different thread.

  12. Pete Tzinski (Member)

    Posted 14 years ago

    I've always wished that they'd just do away with genre shelves and just alphabetize the whole bookstore. Although I recognize that wouldn't be very easy. (Genre divisions are a fairly recent invention, after all, and have less to do with the fiction and more to do with bookstore shelves.)

    There was one bookstore that organized everything by color. We could go with THAT system, perhaps? :)


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