Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir Sci-fi

From: foxbrick (
Date: 26 Oct 2007

--- In, DJ-Anonyme@... wrote:
> Richard wrote:
> ". . . sorry but the term "Sci-fi" is considered by some to be a
> pejorative . . ."
> I've heard this, but not being much of an SF reader, I've never
> understood why. I do understand why some might prefer the label
> Speculative Fiction because Sci Fi is too confining a term, leaving
> many of the subgenres, in much the same way Crime Fiction is preferred
> by many over Mysteries (which seem from the inside to describe
> whodunnits, but not so much whydunnits). However, I don't understand
> why it's seen as insulting. Is it thought of as dismissive?

Richard, in his posts, gets at the original history of it, and Mike Resnick is one of the most vociferous objectors.

The reasons it's seen as pejorative run along the lines of

--it's cutesy. Do you call the fiction usually under discussion here Cri Fi or My Fi?

--it's usually been picked up most enthusiastically, since it is cutesy, by those who wish to dismiss or otherwise belittle the field, so it's often been used dismissively. Those who take their sf seriously, like those who take their CF seriously, are probably not going to use cute pet names to describe it. Someone who wants to pretend that all science fiction is at the level of STAR WARS or US re- edits of GAMERA films is more than happy to use the neologism.

--and, arguably out of arbuably not-undeserved snobbery, those most serious about the fiction are often not too impressed with the usual run of film and other a/v representations of sf, the fans of which are often also happier with the rhyme with "hi-fi"...itself a pretty antiquated term. Wonder how long the term "wi-fi" will have currency...

Todd Mason

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