Editorial: Reply to a Heckler

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17-18

[page 17] _Robert Bloch, @Weyauwga@, Wisconsin:_ SFP passes without leaving any work for the street-cleaners. A clean, excellent job throughout, and I'm delighted with it... I can substantiate Isaac Asimov's letter--the Convention Banquet doors were opened @befor@ he spoke: as a matter of fact, Randall Garett proceeded him. ((????-ljm)) But some of the fans straggled in and some struggled in and it took time before they all @arrive@. Nobody in his right mind would set a fee for hearing Ike talk: everybody knows that his remarks are priceless..... Wish I could agree with Anna Sinclare's definition and precepts which classify @LORDS@ OF THE RING as science fiction, but if I did so and ad- mitted that "All things can be affected by Good and Evil" and therefore, stories deal- ing with the effects of these "natural forces" are science fiction, then I'd be forced to classify all fantasy as science fiction too--because Good and Evil as natural for- ces are the primary concept employed therein. I'm afraid all of the longtime arguments involving distinctions between fantasy and science fiction tend to revolve around the element of _possibility_ or _probable reality_; this is a hypothetical concept and makes for hypothetical distinctions. As of _today_, I have as much faith in ghosts as I do in spacewarps, and I am as prepared to put as much belief into the existance of vam- pires five hundred years ago as I am into the existence of teleports five hundred years from now. I've yet to come across a definatory distinction between fantasy and [page 18] science fiction which was not affected by the prejudicial beliefs involved, and there are plenty of rabid fanatics at either extreme. But I don't think that a firm faith in the "miracles" of the past or a firm faith in the "miracles" of the future are, in themselves, the basis for an objective definition. It's a problem for UNIVAC, no doubt. Once you introduce the term "imaginative fiction" into the discussion, it's almost self-evident that both fantasy and science fiction fall into the same category. Personal preference or prejudice depends on what a given reader likes to imagine. Fantasy-lovers regard Willis as Ghod: scientific-minded people think he is merely a mutant. And who really knows? Madeleine, of course; but she won't tell. Blame it on our censorship laws, I suppose. science fiction which was not affected by the prejudicial beliefs involved, and there are plenty of rabid fanatics at either extreme. But I don't think that a firm faith in the "miracles" of the past or a firm faith in the "miracles" of the future are, in themselves, the basis for an objective definition. It's a problem for UNIVAC, no doubt. Once you introduce the term "imaginative fiction" into the discussion, it's almost self-evident that both fantasy and science fiction fall into the same category. Personal preference or prejudice depends on what a given reader likes to imagine. Fantasy-lovers regard Willis as Ghod: scientific-minded people think he is merely a mutant. And who really knows? Madeleine, of course; but she won't tell. Blame it on our censorship laws, I suppose.

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