Arthur C. Clarke has claimed that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” In a book about elves who use magic to create race cars, Mercedes Lackey wrote that “any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology,” quoting the author Larry Niven. Which leaves me with the question: is there really a difference between fantasy and science fiction? When it comes to a story, is there a fundamental difference between a spaceship with a teleporter device and a mage with a portal spell? What is the difference between an alien and an elf?
So readers, help me sort this out: What is the difference between fantasy and science fiction? Do they serve different purposes? Do you read both genres?