Blood-Sucking Isn’t a Science

When Amy Berg, showrunner and executive producer on SyFy’s Eureka, tweeted about her show’s nomination for TV Guide’s Fan Favorite Awards in the Sci-Fi category, I went to check it out – and was immediately irritated to see that 3/5 of the candidates had no business being there.

There’s a lot of debate amongst readers and writers over the definition of science-fiction, and what’s shaded by that umbrella. And even though someone like Neil Gaiman, a writer I admire immensely, doesn’t believe there is a right or wrong answer to the question of ‘What is Sci-Fi?’ I’m going to go on record as saying science fiction ought to have science in it.

I don’t think there’s anything particularly scientific about demons, angels, vampires, and werewolves.

If you want to relabel the genre speculative fiction so as to squeeze non-sciencey things onto the shelf at Barnes & Noble, fine. But we have labels like ‘science fiction’ and ‘fantasy’ and ‘horror’ for a reason. Let’s treat these nice categories as individuals, and not pretend that they’re interchangeable.

Shotguns filled with rock salt scare ghosts. Real scientific.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for example, is not science-fiction. Her powers are based in magic, and her best friend is a witch. That’s fantasy. Possibly horror if you focus on the demon of the week.

On the other hand, Fringe is very much science fiction, because even if the explanations of some of the more radical abilities are glossed over, they’re still given a basis in reality. Sure, it’s not likely that these things could ever happen, but they’re still more possible than vampires.

Dumping shows like Supernatural, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries in with science-fiction is actually an insult to multiple genres. It implies they’re all the same and can be judged on the same merits. It also serves to get them out of the way of ‘normal,’ mainstream categories. Why wasn’t Supernatural nominated for favorite drama? It’s certainly more dramatic than Hawaii 5-0. But it’s got monsters, so it goes in the discard pile.

If they want to be accurate, they should really rename that category Favorite Show About Weird Shit. I still think Fringe would win.

This article has 2 Comments

  1. I guess it’s a question of what the umbrella term is. If Science Fiction is the umbrella term for SF, Fantasy, Horror, Supers, etc, then it should count.

    Though really, Science Fiction novels get nominated for the World Fantasy award, and Fantasy novels get nominated for other SF awards.

    This is why I prefer the umbrella term of Speculative Fiction for this matter.

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