There’ve been recent forum threads on how to classify some stories - what genre they fit best. Some are hard to classify because they straddle genres. For example, the ‘weird western’. Here’s @SmokeAndOranges’s poll.
Two that are often grouped together in bookstores, because they often appeal to the same readers, are fantasy and sci-fi. I find that even if I set out to write a fantasy, it ends up with science or science-fiction underpinnings (of the ‘any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science’ sort). Conversely, if I set out to write sci-fi, it ends up sounding a bit fantastical - my way of showing that in any age, a lot of people don’t really understand science and technology; to them, it is indistinguishable from magic.
Some people call the crossovers ‘speculative fiction’, or think of speculative fiction as the uber-category that contains fantasy and sci-fi. Some call it ‘science fantasy’ - but a lot of stories classified as science fantasy or ‘fantasci’ are basically sciency fantasy (A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle is a canonical example).
So, my question: what published examples of fantasy–SF cross-overs did you enjoy, and why? I mean what do you think made the weird mixture work? Especially cool if you’re pretty much a strict fantasy reader, but a particular sci-fi cross-over pulled you along to the end. Bonus points if you can think of a ‘hard sci-fi’ / fantasy cross-over.
Here are three to kick it off:
- N. K. Jemisin, The Broken Earth trilogy (soft sci-fi or ‘sciency’ fantasy, nominated for both Nebula and World Fantasy awards)
- Cathrine Fisher, Incarceron (features a massive AI-controlled prison miniaturized to the size of a die and 17th century royal court politics … and a weird angel)
- Dune, by Frank Herbert, another ‘soft sci-fi’, but many will probably argue it’s more sci-fi than fantasy.