Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Sci-fi

From: Ivan Van Laningham (
Date: 26 Oct 2007

Hi All-- wrote:
> So it's not the term science fiction that's offensive, but its
> truncation to sci fi?

The original term, coined by Hugo Gernsback, was "scientifiction," but that was quickly abandoned due to sheer clunkiness. Science fiction
(and I have no idea who was responsible for the term), and its abbreviation, SF, rapidly became current with no competitors, and it stayed on top until the 60s. Ackerman had relentlessly promoted
"sci-fi" but he was the only real proponent until Susan Sontag happened to run across some SF books. She basically said, "Oh, how cute! How campy!" and picked up Ackerman's term. Because she was famous, the termed gained currency where before it had none.

Gary Kurtz, producer of the 1st Star Wars film, was booed at Suncon
(World SF convention in Miami) in '71 at the awards banquet because he told the audience how happy he was to be at a "sci-fi" convention.

SF and science fiction are not pejorative; sci-fi is, not because it's truncated, but because it's dismissive and condescending. To SF fans, it's the equivalent of calling an adult "boy" or "girl."

Metta, Ivan

Ivan Van Laningham
God N Locomotive Works
Army Signal Corps:  Cu Chi, Class of '70
Author:  Teach Yourself Python in 24 Hours

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