sci fi vs fantasy

little-space asks!!

teddy bear: do you have a favorite stuffy or blankie?

magic wand: what is your little age?

sippy: milk or juice?

glitter: are you more sweet or are you more bratty?

paci: do you suck your thumb?

rainbow: what’s your favorite color?

stars: are you more sleepy or energetic in little space?

playroom: what are your favorite little space activities?

sorting hat: what is your hogwarts house?

nibbles: what are your favorite little space snacks?

potty: do you wear a diaper?

sky: do you prefer playing in the sun or the snow?

heart: do you cry easily?

sugar: chocolate, sweets, or fruit?

stage: are you more confident or shy?

space: fantasy vs sci fi?

costumes: are you a prince(ss)/t or a knight?

cuddles: do you have or want a caregiver?

sweets: what’s your favorite pet name?

colors: is your coloring neat inside the lines, or is it more crazy?

Little Space Asks!!!

teddy bear: do you have a favorite stuffy or blankie?
magic wand: what is your little age?
sippy: milk or juice?
glitter: are you more sweet or are you more bratty?
paci: do you suck your thumb?
rainbow: what’s your favorite color?
stars: are you more sleepy or energetic in little space?
playroom: what are your favorite little space activities?
sorting hat: what is your hogwarts house?
nibbles: what are your favorite little space snacks?
potty: do you wear a diaper?
sky: do you prefer playing in the sun or the snow?
heart: do you cry easily?
sugar: chocolate, sweets, or fruit?
stage: are you more confident or shy?
space: fantasy vs sci fi?
costumes: are you a prince(ss)/t or a knight?
cuddles: do you have or want a caregiver?
sweets: what’s your favorite pet name?
colors: is your coloring neat inside the lines, or is it more crazy?

vardasvapors replied to your post

‘self-congratulary detachment’ ahh THANK YOU so much for putting one of my absolute least favorite things about so much of the ‘high-grade’ fanfic i encounter into words

You’re welcome! It took me a long time to put into words (and for some reason, I only managed it by fumbling around for Spanish ones!), but yes, it is very much something I associate with ‘high-grade’ fic.

(RL too, honestly, since it’s inescapably pervasive in literary fiction. If it’s not above-it-all and skeptical of sentimentality, is it really literary?! And hard sci-fi vs ‘soft’ sci-fi/fantasy, ‘serious’ mystery vs romantic suspense, etc.)

I remember back in the day, there was a lot of argument about whether AO3 fic was actually better than It skewed towards more consistently clean prose (less so now as it’s become more central, but it made for a stark difference then), but the critics argued that it was also joyless and pretentious; style had more heart without the icy smugness of AO3 fic (particularly of the awesome!!ladies!!!!! variety.) 

I tended to side with Team AO3 ( has always had a lot that’s unreadably bad), but I do think the criticisms had some validity. It’s not an AO3 thing any more (and was never as pervasive as I think the critics suggested), but the self-congratulatory detachment of supposedly top-notch fic lives on.

monsterquill replied to your post

do you have an example of this kind of story? 

My initial rant was definitely prompted by disappointment in a specific fic, and I’ve run into it countless times, but I am … uh, not quite enough of an asshole to name any in front of my followers.

So You Want To Write... Special Fantasy Megapost

Welcome to a very special edition of So You Want To Write. First of three mega-threads, this one is going to try and probably fail to cover fantasy. Remember, spirited disagreement is welcome.

So without further ado, let’s start by bashing Tolkien.

So You Want To Write… Fantasy

It doesn’t actually all go back to Tolkien - it goes beyond him. Fantasy probably goes back to the Pyramid Texts*, really. Tolkien merely codified the genre in the West (I’ll talk a little bit about Wuxia today, and while I’d like to talk about African fantasy stories I’m a bit short on info) and a thousand hacks have copied him.

I’m assuming you’ve read fantasy, of course, so let’s get stuck into the core themes of almost any fantasy work - the battle between good and evil, life and death, freedom and tyranny. Which, you might imagine, means that fantasy is actually highly politicised and very subtly so.

I always harp on about authorial statements in roleplaying, how ultimately each roleplay is a conversation between the GM, players, and reader, but this is rarely more true than in fantasy. The actions of the heroes and villains tell the reader a lot about what the author or GM consider virtuous or wicked.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a great example, being much more baldly allegorical than a lot of other works of fantasy.

Lord of the Rings says a lot about those qualities Tolkien considered good and proper.

The comfort, the utility of a fantasy world, is that it allows you to make these acts of righteousness and terrible sins concrete within the setting - good triumphs over evil because it is good, that’s what it does.

Fantasy frequently involves building a world coherent with your personal ethical and moral leanings, rather than dealing with the world we’re given which is more prevalent in sci-fi, period drama, or contemporary drama

Fantasy is also a useful vehicle for statements about growing up and responsibility, as illustrated in The Journey of the Hero, also called the Monomyth. There are about four variations on this journey, now, from Campbell’s unsurprisingly gendered interpretation (Woman As Temptress being a step on the journey), to Cousineau’s simplistic interpretation, but we can draw some common points.

There are three acts; departure, initiation, and return. Departure establishes our protagonist and the ordinary world they inhabit. They receive the call to adventure, refuse it, but are then forced to go. They enter a strange and magical world. They meet enemies and friends, face trials and experience wonders, and often they will die, or enter into some near-failure state. Then they rise, they complete their quest, and they return home. Sometimes with a MacGuffin that will save their ordinary world (I personally like the telling where this process changes the hero; she is no longer of the ordinary world, exactly, but changed utterly).

So our typical, core themes - personal growth, good vs. evil, freedom vs. tyranny.

Let’s dig into the subgenres.

On Hard Vs. Soft

Not unlike sci-fi, it’s possible to divide fantasy into hard and soft kinds. Hard fantasy is very internally consistent; the Malazan Book of the Fallen, Lord of the Rings, Mistborn, Legend of the Five Rings, Dragon Age.

Soft fantasy handwaves things a lot; John Carter of Mars, Dungeons & Dragons, Harry Potter,arguably A Song of Ice and Fire.

On Prescriptivism 

Please understand telling you what to do, exactly how, isn’t my intent. Genre implies historical context, and most genres are rife with particular semiotics which we respond to subconsciously. My intent here is to outline the typical tropes that form these genres for two reasons: 

1. By knowing the expected rules and restrictions, you can more easily collaborate and communicate with your fellow roleplayers what you’re trying to achieve in a given roleplay. 

2. By knowing the expected rules, you can break them interesting ways, blend genres, and generally do some intriguing, innovative things with the preconceptions of your reader or players.

High Fantasy

Immortalized by Tolkien, high fantasy typically has a bright and optimistic tone. Heroes are heroes, villains are villains, there’s no room for ambiguity or nuance. It’s a larger-than-life, evocative adventure. Importantly, magic and magical creatures are at the forefront. Good will usually triumph. There is normally a central protagonist.

Thematically, high fantasy will emphasize those traits the author considers positive and relevant - typically friendship, faith, courage, kindness, loyalty, and so on.

The heart of high fantasy, really, is in characterization. Everything else is a foil to your protagonist or major cast, serving to define them and their relationships. Poor high fantasy emphasizes worldbuilding over plot or character, but may also suffer from inconsistent worldbuilding.

When writing high fantasy RPs, try to aim for unambiguous goals and big, bombastic characters. Don’t shy away from archetypes, but try to add as much depth as you can. You are going to win, so make sure you add some dramatic opportunities to fail but overcome.


Steven Eriksson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, in addition to being fucking excellent, is high fantasy rife with moral ambiguity and tragic failure. Characters are frequently complex, and often unfortunate mortals caught up in the affairs of gods. The reader will usually be as lost as characters - Eriksson’s exquisite world-building permeates the text and he doesn’t hold your hand, allowing the reader to form connections and fill in gaps on their own.

Low Fantasy

A Song of Ice and Fire, right here. Low fantasy doesn’t prioritize monsters and magic, if they exist at all, and tends to shade into sci-fi a little bit - things that seem magical have a logical explanation that might be magical, but magic is largely beyond the full comprehension of the characters. Low fantasy may have more of an ensemble cast, and it may focus on politics, relationships, or a magical threat for which the characters are not prepared. In my experience, low fantasy tends to emphasize more internally consistent world-building, and deals directly with mature themes (rather than the allegorical and half-assed navel-gazing of a lot of high fantasy), Usually won’t have non-human peoples, especially not as point-of-view characters.

When writing low fantasy RPs, a good plot is vital. You can’t rely on flashy magic and weird species to keep interest; you need to have interesting personal or political conflicts. Low fantasy tends to have a darker tone and anyone can die, or fail.

Mythic Fantasy

Fairytales, religious texts, anything based directly on myth and classic archetypes fits in here. Mythic fantasy can be tricky in roleplaying - characters are often as much forces of nature as they are people, and there’s an inherent lack of agency. Prophecy and portents play out just so, often to make a point. Distinct from high fantasy in that

  1. Things are what they are without need or expectation of explanation

  2. Often a bit surreal, even dreamlike

  3. There isn’t always a clear narrative arc, character arc, or even point.

Mythic fantasy roleplaying, by necessity, needs these things. Arguably something like Percy Jackson fits under this heading, though. When writing Mythic Fantasy RPs, make sure you do your research and come up with a solid plotline. Indeed, it can just be a fun character piece - the prophecy must run its course, and the roleplaying in the reactions to it, and the ways the actions of characters, especially unintentionally, advance the destined plot.

Heroic Fantasy

Also called Sword & Sorcery, this is stuff like Conan, John Carter, anything with a Frazetti cover, really.

Heroic fantasy is rarely concerned with the mechanics of its setting; it’s normally about a REAL MAN with a REAL SWORD beating up wizards, demons, and monsters. Pulpy, a bit silly, fun. Conan doesn’t quite fit because it slips in elements of cosmic horror, but in the broad sense of a somewhat mysterious setting where the hero is strong, cunning, and doesn’t rely on (or even understand) magic. Distinct from high fantasy in terms of focus - high fantasy plots tend to threaten the whole world, while heroic fantasy plots are more personal and even petty. A close relative of historical fiction, too - you could even consider it combat-skewed historical fiction with magic thrown in.

When writing heroic fantasy RPs, building the setting with your players is a good idea. Start with a conceit, like ‘Atlantis has fallen’ and then fill in the blanks with dramatic, sweeping statements. Fill in the remaining blanks as you go on, in character conversations or descriptions of locations. Characters should be big, bombastic, with strong motivations. Magic should only really be in the hands of one player, and even then it needn’t be consistent with everyone else’s magic.

Urban Fantasy

Vampires, werewolves, faeries, all living it up in the big city. This can cover a slew of time periods, not just modern, and applies when people know supernatural elements exist. How supernatural tends to skew downard; which is to say, not very - although it can resemble a street-level superheroes narrative, like Daredevil. Thematically and aesthetically, this can get remarkably close to superheroics. Themes of isolation, prejudice, and community can come up a lot.

Good worldbuilding is useful here - how is society affected by vampires walking the streets or wizards in tech companies? Is magic creeping into day-to-day business? The plot is likely to be quite big, in scope - saving the city from an impending disaster, monsters, or ancient prophecy. Good supporting cast and a strong sense of place are vital. The city should feel alive.

Generally brighter and more positive than its counterpart, Magical Realism.

Magical Realism

Vampires are real, but no one knows. A conspiracy of silence hides them, and the shadows are deeper than you realize. Or whatever supernatural creatures you feel like hiding among us. Magical realism also uses good worldbuilding - how and why are the supernaturals hiding in the cities of the modern day? Or whatever time period this is in. It’s often modern urban centres, however.

Darker, more personal, with strong horror overtones, magical realism has more low-key supernatural elements than magical realism, often concerned with hiding evidence of the supernatural.

Thematically, it’ll tend to deal with personal moralities, and anxieties about conspiracies, alienation, and ennui. Plots are likely to be about discovery and/or escape. Personal conflicts tend to take centre stage; politics, grudges, the running of the city by its secret underworld masters.

Dark Fantasy

Could be high fantasy, could be low, but your characters don’t get time to care because everything is terrible. Tends be more like horror in a fantasy setting, and while it typically skews towards low fantasy, a dark-high fantasy setting is one where evil wins. Or at least is a status quo to be overthrown.

Thematically this tends to tie into the themes of good vs. evil, as in most fantasy, but it’s a bit more ambiguous. Our heroes may do terrible things in pursuit of a greater good. Perhaps no one is good, not wholly. At best, many characters may do the right thing for the wrong reasons, often selfish ones.

While low fantasy tends to have a neutral world with flawed people, in dark fantasy the setting itself might be out to get you. Magic is often evil by default. Indeed, the roleplaying game KULT is a good example; god is real, and he wants you to suffer.

Dark fantasy, therefore, will often emphasize horror themes, but potentially on a bigger scale than usual.

Historical Fantasy

Take a historical event, add magic. Distinct from sword & sorcery in that it tends to focus on real places, people, and times. It is, in many ways, more like a thought-experiment, a what-if on the part of the author.

Thematically, you’ll be aiming for whatever is inherent in the period or event, or what you feel to be of pivotal importance. Distinct from alternate history or alt-history sci-fi in that it uses supernatural elements which may be largely hard-waved to facilitate the plot.

If you want to write historical fantasy RPs, do research. Then spend a while examining the ramifications of adding your supernatural element. It can make for a difficult-to-follow butterfly effect, so you may want to keep it to a narrow timeframe and short plot.

Arguably, Historical Fantasy can also be fantasy based on historical periods, but not set therein. Legend of the Five Rings is an example; it’s explicitly based on the fiction of Imperial China and Japan. A culture’s own opinion of itself.


A primarily Chinese subgenre of high-flying kung-fu action. Interesting in that it doesn’t always concern itself with good and evil as opposed to competing philosophical and religious positions. The action sequences are expressions of personal philosophy as much as they are instances of flying martial artists throwing qi around.

May emphasize themes of self vs. selflessness, quests for enlightenment, and the hero’s journey. Strong characterization is key, and there’s always an element of predestination.

Magical elements are inherent and accepted in the setting, typically.

If you’re going to write a Wuxia RP, once again do the research. The pieces should fall into place quite neatly after watching a few movies or reading some stories.


The corollary to Clarke’s Third Law; any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science.

Sci-fantasy can skew towards fantasy or sci-fi, either by presenting a fantasy world which is secretly underlined by science the characters don’t understand, or where magical elements have been harnessed and employed using scientific and technological principles.

Thematically, you can do a lot of interesting stuff about belief, discovery, and progress. It can make for a nice allegory about modern science, or allow you to explore more traditionally sci-fi themes if you don’t feel confident about your scientific knowledge.

It can also just be fun, if you are scientifically adept, to apply that knowledge to fantastical stuff.

When writing sci-fantasy, try to decide which way you’re going to skew, and whether or not this is going to be a surprise for your players. This will often necessitate clear limits on magic and the like, which in freeform roleplays can be tricky.


Thanks for reading. As ever, comments and questions are welcome. I hope that this helps you; remember, I can only point to the way, not walk it for you.

*Yes, I am directly equating religious texts with fantasy fiction. Stories of magical adventure that serve as allegories for Good Living or parables of punishment for Sin? Divinely ordained quests of salvation and magical journeys into worlds beyond? Sounds like fantasy to me.

@ryansarts said:                                                                                                                            The sketches look great, I love the armor!!        

@8bitribbit said:                                                                                                                            Woah her armor looks awesome! I think you nailed the right amount of sci-fi vs fantasy!! 

aaa thank you guys !!  ;w;
i can’t wait to draw all the details and colors~

anonymous asked:

What do you mean when you say "id"? I occasionally see you using it, and I'm kind of confused.

Like so many things, this … grew.

The term comes from Freud’s theory of the unconscious. I didn’t remotely (like—at all) originate its use in a fandom context.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the theory, but if not, it’s roughly the idea that there are realms of the human psyche which affect conscious thought, but are not thought in themselves. One is the id, which is basically this wild realm of instincts, desires, unchecked emotions and drives. The other is the superego, a realm of scruple, inhibition, control, which suppresses and regulates the id. That combination of unconscious drives and unconscious suppression plays into conscious thought, as with defence mechanisms, where the unacceptable emotions of the id are blocked or redirected by the superego, without conscious realization that it’s happening.

This is all … uh, Freud has flaws, let’s say, though defence mechanisms is one of his stronger areas IMO.

Anyway, “id” has culturally taken on the meaning of those raw instincts, desires, and gut emotions that we feel without knowing why or how—or even that we feel them, often. And in terms of story, something that caters to the id is designed to appeal to raw, instinctive tastes rather than intellectual taste (it might do both, but it might… not). 

Long before the term existed, women in particular have historically been regarded as id-dominated creatures, lacking the natural scruple and conscious rationality of men, hence the need for tight controls and careful oversight. In some ways, that’s tended to reverse, with the dubious “elevation” of womanhood to sexless, nurturing purity and serenity (except the bad ones, obviously!), by contrast to men as more intense, more sexual, more temperamental, more driven, more inclined to rely on gut feeling. In general women are put under strong carrot-stick social pressures to suppress the “id”—genres that cater to women’s ids tend to be reviled, like romance, and even fantasy vs sci-fi has a weird gendered component. And fanzine/mailing list/journal/Tumblr media fandom has traditionally been a place where the female-dominated side of fandom let their ids go play. So that’s roughly what I’m talking about.

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