Fantasy Vs Science Fiction

Wait.  There’s a difference?!  You mean, all these years the entertainment industry has been lying to us and telling us there is one single category: fantasy and sci-fi? The people who spend 20 million dollars to have Reese Witherspoon act for 4 months and charge us 15 dollars a pop to see us are deceitful?  I’m shocked.

We have drama.  We have comedy.  Sometimes things don’t fit neatly into little pre-packaged boxed, so we have dramedy.

We have fantasy.  We have sci-fi.  Sometimes things don’t fit neatly into little pre-packaged boxed, so we have fantasy and sci-fi.  Eh, those geeks won’t care. (Full disclosure: I am totally guilty of lumping fantasy and sci-fi together on occasion.  I’ll be more cognizant in the future).

So what’s the real difference between fantasy and sci-fi?

Fantasy for the most part is placed in an imaginary world, where magic reigns and is populated with witches, wizards and the like.  Think Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

Science fiction mainly distinguishes itself from fantasy in its uses scientific ideas (or actual laws of science-however obscure and perhaps speculative) to create and/or populate its setting.  Think Doctor Who and The Terminator.

Are these categories similar.  Sure.  They definitely overlap in places, but what possess us to consider them one genre?  Is it simply because like-minded people tend to enjoy both categories?  I personally enjoy all four of my aforementioned examples, but I would speculate that some sci-fi lovers would be turned off by a fantasy world where things can happen all willy-nilly without any reasoning to back it up.  (Us geeks tend to enjoy order, but I digress).

Any one care to weigh in on this?  And pledge with me to stop lumping them into one single entity? (You can feel free to do either.  You are under no obligation to both weigh in AND pledge).