I go to a book store and after looking around I’m forced to ask.

– Excuse me, where’s the science fiction section?

The woman points to the back of the book store, to a poorly lit section, next to the book for kids sector full of toys and little chairs. Well, at least they have a section. From where I’m standing it look like a whole section, it probably has around 500 books. There must be something that I haven’t read.

When I arrive I notice that a whole shelf consist of Lord of the Rings books. I continue scanning and I see a lot of stuff about dragons and vampires. There’s even a copy of Harry Potter left over when it wasn’t popular enough and didn’t deserve the huge tower of books in the middle of the bookstore.

Where is the science in wizards, dragons and magic rings? You know, Science Fiction is called that way for a reason. If I wanted to read fantasy I would have gone to the fantasy section, thank you very much.

This is not the worst. I’ve seen countless top ten science fiction TV shows list that included Buffy and Angel. “Science Fiction” is not a label for weird. I was throwing a huge tantrum about it and my wife, in her infinite understanding said:

– Maybe they don’t know it isn’t science fiction.

How could they not know? It says “science” in the name. But apparently people are not very logical and never think what a name means (and keep calling the United Kingdom England, The Netherlands Holland, and United States of America, well, America, which is a continent, not a country).

I’ve decided to solve this problem once and for all in the geek-programmer way, which is of course, a web site with voting. I created:

Is it Science Fiction?

Of course, if everybody voted we would end up with a mess the world is today, but I hope only geeks will put up with my bad graphical design skills and actually vote and comment so we’ll end up with pretty good results. So far Star Wars is 4th from the bottom, heavily on the not-sci-fi side of things, so I’m pretty sure it’s working. You have to be very hard core to believe Star Wars is not Science Fiction.

My goal is to build the canonical place to point to when the discussion about whether something is or isn’t science fiction starts. You won’t have to explain it yet again why Lord of The Rings is fantasy, not science fiction, just point to http://isitsciencefiction.com/items/the-lord-of-the-rings. If your favorite pet peeve is not there, feel free to add it.

Of course we are only judging whether something is or isn’t science fiction, not whether something is good or bad. Batman is great, but it’s not Science Fiction. Plan 9 From Outer Space sucks, but it is Science Fiction (well, I don’t know, I haven’t seen it yet).

4 responses to “Is it Science Fiction?”

  1. Juanjo Avatar

    Creo que hay un problema de usabilidad, fácilmente corregible. Cuando entro al sitio y empiezo a votar: si, no, no, no si, si; no puedo agregar comentarios del tipo “por qué es” o “por que no es” ciencia ficción.
    Solo cuando accedés directamente a la obra mediante un link con su nombre en él; Desde el ranking.

  2. Juanjo Avatar

    Está bien que el puntaje de una obra no se muestre antes de votar (para no ser influenciado), pero me gustaría que aparezca (plop!) luego de que voto. El problema aca es que luego de votar se pasa al siguiente candidato. No se como resolverlo, se lo dejamos al programador ;-)

  3. Juanjo Avatar

    Se ve que estoy detallista hoy, pero estoy seguro de que es bienvenido.
    Cuando accedés directamente a una obra, mediante el ranking o a través de un link que te pasa un amigo luego de una acalorada discusión, los botones Yes y No no funcionan como esperaba. Mejor dicho, no alcancé a distinguir que uno quedaba apretado y si lo volvía a aprentar se “desapretaba” y todo quedaba como si no votara. Mi primer impresión fue que podía votar muchas veces, tuve que ver cómo variaba el numero para darme cuenta de su funcionamiento.
    Posibles soluciones:
    1) Marcas más notables.
    2) Una vez que votaste, no podés NO votar. Podés cambiar tu voto, pero no No votar. Eso quita uno de los 3 estados y por ende entiendo que baja la confunción. Así lo hace Stack Overflow.

    (ahora vuelvo a IsitScienceFiction.com)

    y me doy cuenta de que todo lo que escribí en este comentario no tiene sentido. SI funciona como yo esperaría, como lo hace SO, pero no alcancé a darme cuenta! Ok, puede ser que no haya prestado mucha atención, Ok puedo ser medio nabo :) Pero definitivamente esos dos botones confunden. Tal vez tachar el botón no apretado?

  4. Pablo Avatar

    Juanjo, gracias por los comentarios. Algunos ya los había pensado pero ahora que lo nombraste están en my bug database. Con respecto al ultimo, de los botones: si, pero creo que es un problema de diseño. Ya sabes que mi design-fu no es muy bueno, HLQP :) Ya conseguiré un buen diseñador gráfico.

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