25 years ago: At KU, writers discuss science fiction vs. fantasy genre
From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for July 15, 1990:
Several science fiction writers were meeting this weekend in Lawrence. The Campbell Conference, held at Kansas University, had brought 24 writers, teachers, and guests, including Frederik Pohl, a longtime science fiction writer and editor, and Elizabeth Hull, the president of the Science Fiction Research Association. One topic under discussion was the growing popularity of the fantasy genre. “In 1989, the number of fantasy books published exceeded the number of science fiction books for the first time,” said James Gunn, a KU professor and science fiction author. “In fantasy, the emphasis is on wish fulfillment in a world that’s opposed to the rules of cause and effect. Science fiction has always been rooted in cause and effect.” Some conference participants suggested that science fiction is the literature of change, while fantasy represents a mythology for a static, escapist society. “Science fiction is the product of a culture of change,” Gunn said. “Fantasy is a product of a stagnant culture.” Others said they doubted fantasy’s reported popularity. “Although the number of fantasy books may be overtaking science fiction, there aren’t any magazines that can survive solely by printing fantasy stories,” Pohl said.