Female Fantasy and Science Fiction

September 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

One interesting part of science fiction that I didn’t previously think of is its targeting readers. Though I am a big fan of science, especially scientific thinking, I didn’t have much history with science fictions or their related movies. When I asked some of my close female friends about their ideas on science fictions, I could tell a surprise in their tone. It was as if my reading taste had been questioned. Why should a girl deal with all those aliens and space crafts? Why don’t pick something softer and less rigid, like a happy-ending romance fiction?

After taking this class, the flavor of science fiction stays with me and projects its image upon daily things that I encounter. One day, I mom called me when at her time zone should be 3 in the morning. She enthusiastically told me one Korean drama that she was watching and how the main character, the “City Hunter” who restored justice to the corrupted capital city, emitted irresistible charm. My mom kept talking how strong this city hunter was, how cute couple he made with a sweet girl but from the opposite side, and how heartbreaking that the city hunter could not confess his love because of this conflicting beliefs held by them two. I knew well enough that my mom’s appetite for dramas was no different from most women of her age, but one word in this conversation got to me: city hunter.

My first impression was that this man should be a Korean version of batman, handsome, rich, well-educated and with a strong sense of justice. It was a heroic and tragic character, written out to fulfill certain fantasy of women. The story sounded nothing new, a typical mode comprised of a flawless hero, two desperate lovers and a series of impossible missions. It must be the excitement generated by those dire perils, life-at-stake situations and the collision of sense and sensibility that captured my mom. But this city hunter story touches no realism and is fantasy only. To me, the distinction between science fiction and fantasy means whether the story takes place in an “independent” world at some level above reality. The “independence” implies a complete and self-verifiable logic system to ensure that the world is built upon some solid founding blocks.

Then, I spent some extra time thinking into this distinction between SF and fantasy. I thought over those examples, such as the vampire story, Edward with Scissorhands and even Harry Porter. In those movies, we truly could see reflections of a world beyond realism and that world is not necessarily scientific or logical. Next step, I did a little comparison between the above examples and Star War. Except for more scientific settings and an endeavor to keep the story from having anything to do with magical or supernatural power, I could not tell if the latter used less fantasy than the former. But for most female audience or readers, it is quite evident that vampire stories are preferred to Star Wars.

So, I am thinking about the possibility of writing more female-targeted science fictions. You don’t want to blend those stories with fantasy nor strip too many romantic elements from them. Preferably, you could imbed romance into a well-structured scientific setting, let the story go while make sure it won’t go too far.

Yijing S.

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