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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Good Example of Science Fantasy

 I enjoy both fantasy and science fiction.  I tend to like well written books that combine aspects of both genres.  So I was pleased to review The Lodestone Trilogy for The Bookplex.


I agree with those who have called this book science fantasy. I define this sub-genre as science fiction for people who prefer fantasy.  It feels like fantasy. This is a quest narrative which is a fantasy trope.  There are numerous parallels to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings which include a fellowship of individuals from several different species pursuing the quest. There are also some noticeable similarities to the Darkover science fantasy series created by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  Like the planet of Darkover, the world where this trilogy takes place has evolved a technology that sets it apart.  On Darkover it’s called matrix technology.  In The Lodestone Trilogy, the technology is built on lodestone.  There are explanations for how these technologies work, but they don’t exist in our real world.  So it’s fictional extrapolation rather than actual science.  There is a long tradition of science fiction extrapolation, and it’s perfectly legitimate within the genre. I personally don’t have a problem with Mark Whiteway’s extrapolation because the supporting explanations are internally consistent.  This means that his work is conceptually solid.
The first and third books in the trilogy are very action-oriented, but the middle book is more character driven.  We delve into the central characters and get to know them better.  Since I like in depth characterization, I was glad to find it in this trilogy.  The character development from the second book carried me into the third feeling more invested in the protagonists.  I consider this a narrative strategy that made The Lodestone Trilogy more compelling.

I didn’t care for the abrupt ending.  No doubt this was an attempt to insure that there would be interest in the sequel.  I prefer fiction that’s more self-contained.  I feel that the quality of The Lodestone Trilogy is sufficient that readers would be eager for more without the obvious tactic of leaving the story unfinished.

 About Science Fantasy

"Science fantasy" has been very subjectively defined and there are a number of different perspectives on what it means. So I thought I would give you a sampling of these perspectives.

Here is an amusing essay by Randy Henderson that appeared in Fantasy magazine:
Is It Science Fiction or Science Fantasy?

Here is a guest blog article by science fiction romance author, Heather Massey:
An Ode To Science Fantasy

Here is an article from which attempts to define where Star Wars belongs in the genre landscape:
To What Genre Does Star Wars Belong?

At the end of the day, whether you enjoyed the book is probably more important for a reader than what genre box you put it in, but many people really like to classify.  I am one of them.  I draw genre lines my own way.  Other readers are also welcome to do so.  Have fun with it.


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