Fantasy, for me, is where belief runs out. It’s on the other side of the demarcation line from reality, that line we draw between what we accept as real and what we don’t. In other words, it’s subjective. We each have our own levels of belief on a wide array of topics. We each have our own demarcation lines.
The Khekarian Series is very much a work of science fiction as far as I am concerned. I base every aspect of my work on realism, on science and on areas of the unknown we are still exploring.
To me, fantasy means talking horses or sponge monsters that show the intelligence equal to our own and whiz around in spaceships they cannot possibly manipulate. I’m sorry, I enjoy realism too much to write that way, it has to be feasible (even if it challenges our acceptances – the glory of discovery is often the surprise it carries in).
While many may agree on my definition of fantasy, some people do not agree with my definition of science fiction. Primarily this is because I have included psychics and a multidimensional alien species in my sci-fi series.
Why do I call these inclusions science fiction?
Psychics, just like witches and shamans, have been recognized, on and off, down through the ages. Their acceptance in society is real and documented, no matter what they can do and whatever your own acceptances are. They are part of human history in all parts of the world. There is no reason to suppose supporting belief will not rise and fall again in the future.
That doesn’t mean I make it easy for my character. Aleisha is more clairsentient (feels touch) than clairvoyant (seeing). That means she picks up trauma in the now, and not future events, so she’s really not the sort of psychic Sturn wants to aid him back into power. In the story, I hit her with every objection a reader might have against psychics. Namely, just about every character who hears of her talent, says the same thing: “Some psychic, right? If she didn’t see them coming, she’s no psychic.”
Sturn, meanwhile, doesn’t have it easy, either. He is royalty, exiled. He wants back into the Khekarian Empire and if he has to do so sneakily, he will – there’s a lot of power waiting for him if he can just get back in the door. Any edge is going to help him, but unfortunately, Aleisha is it.
What about those aliens?
There are several aspects here and I’ll cover the basics.
Being reptilian: This was decided for two reasons. The biggest is that our mammalian species only came into being because the dinosaurs were knocked out of the running, giving little rodents and their ilk enough space and time to develop into quite a large branch of diverse mammalian creatures, including human kind. There was also a dinosaur that walked upright, had a large brain and had an opposable digit – like our thumb – the very thing that enable us to use tools. Had the calamity not occurred, that very creature might have continued to develop into humanoid form. Secondly, I’m heartily sick of almost every alien species out there being mammalian (although, I exploit that, too, I confess).
Being humanoid: This is explained inside the story itself, with Andrew (resident doctor) taking into account anthropogenic development. All life evolves according to certain dictates. Put simply, a horse, talking or not, does not have the foot structure to build and operate machinery. Development has to happen along certain lines before hands and minds create a computer. Our form (and us utilizing it) gives us the progress we’ve made.
To me, psychics and multidimensionalism fits “realism” = science fiction. To you, psychic and multidimensionalism might fit “load of bollocks”/”rubbish!” = fantasy. No problem.
Finally, if we want to be truly pedantic about it all, all science fiction would be fantasy because we don’t have personal spaceships today, energy guns/swords, or teleport.
Rest assured, there’s a lot more in The Khekarian Series than psychics and multidimensionalism. There’s quite a lot of recognized science and action, backed up by heaps of research, too.
Call the Khekarian series science fiction if you are comfortable with that (I do). Call it fantasy if you prefer and it makes you feel more comfortable. Call it science fiction/fantasy if you can’t make up your mind.
Whatever you call it, I’m happy. Enjoy the read.