YMMV The real reason behind this trope. The Sci-Fi Ghetto reflects a long-lasting stigma which has been applied towards the science fiction genre, which frequently leads creators and marketers to shun "Sci-Fi", "Science Fiction" or "Fantasy" labels as much as possible, even on shows that have clear science fiction or fantastical elements.
It also reflects the tendency for critics, academics and other creators to near-automatically dismiss or disdain works which cannot escape this label being applied, regardless of relative quality or merit.
Conversely, if these critics, creators and academics do feel that the work possesses merit by their standards, expect them to strenuously insist that the work is not science fiction or fantasy How could it be? It's ''good'' , regardless of how many tortuous hoops they might have to jump through in order to do so. A lot of this has to do with snobbery. A somewhat contradictory perception about science fiction in general is that it is somehow both too complex for mainstream audiences with 'simple' tastes and yet simultaneously not literary and sophisticated enough for critics and academics.
This perception tends to be drawn from two extremes. In the first place, science fiction is often dismissed as lightweight, formulaic and poorly-written rubbish churned out by talentless hacks who never met a cliche they didn't enthusiastically regurgitate. On the other end of the spectrum, science fiction is often seen as aloof, dreary Doorstoppers which essentially take the form of tedious and over-complicated scientific essays poorly disguised as stories , apparently written by people who have multiple doctorates in the hard sciences yet have somehow never managed to interact with another human being before.
In either case, the result is considered the same; material which is poorly written with lame plots and characterization, almost entirely lacking in literary merit.
This, of course, unfairly prejudges a massive and wide-spanning genre by its worst extremes, and ultimately takes a fairly narrow and limited view of the genre. Nonetheless, there is plenty of evidence at both extremes to support these views — lots of works of science fiction have fallen in the trap of focusing so much on the Big Idea that the other elements of storytelling can suffer. Even accepted classics of the genre can get so caught up in the hypothesis they're developing that they can be lacking in other literary merits.
And works of science fiction tend to age less gracefully than literary fiction, because both Technology and Society Marches On. For example, Stranger in a Strange Land hypothesizes Starfish Alien Martians and fascinating new technologies, but still relegates women to sexy secretaries and nagging wives. It's not just the works, either — unfortunate stereotypes of science fiction fans as a bunch of weird dorky obsessives with no social skills hasn't helped the overall impression of science fiction as a weird, off-putting, and aloof body of work.
Of course, when a literary author is a weird obsessive with no social skills, his introversion and eccentricity are signs of his genius. Fantasy fiction suffers from this as well to a similar extent due to the difficulty of defining the line between science fiction and fantasy. In fact, fantasy fiction often has it even worse , as it is speculative in a completely implausible way science fiction is just mostly implausible.
This possibly resulted from the craving for and excitement over science in the s: This is probably why a section in a bookstore containing science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative fiction genres will almost always be referred to as the science fiction section. The reverse of this also crops up, but it's somewhat rarer. This happens to horror as well, especially when it overlaps with Sci-Fi and Fantasy. It's been a little more accepted than those two genres, at least on the literary front and, lately, television as well , but you'll rarely see awards given to horror works.
With cinematic horror in particular, with the exception of Hays Code -era classics like Universal's monster movies or the works of Alfred Hitchcock and a selection of other indisputably great films most of them dating to no later than the '70s , you'd be hard-pressed to find professional film critics who don't view horror as a land where grisly violence and exploitation stand in for plot and characters.
And while there is a degree of snobbery involved, much like with the disdain for sci-fi and fantasy, there are also a very large number of films that bear out the worst stereotypes of the genre also much like the aforementioned genres. Much like sci-fi and fantasy fans, horror fans also have their own arguably more insulting stereotypes attached to them, often portrayed as people who get off on violence, sex, and the juxtaposition thereof , and may be using such films as a way to vicariously live out their own sick fantasies.
None other than famed horror director John Carpenter once remarked that horror is viewed by the mainstream as being just a notch above pornography.
On a related note, Porn with Plot often falls into the ghetto, no matter how good the story is. Last but certainly not least, there's the romance genre. In general, many critics view romance novels as nothing but the Extruded Book Product of companies like Harlequin and the worst depths of YA fiction , pandering to a Lowest Common Denominator of housewives and teenage girls who want to dream of an exciting new man.
Romantic films get treated with a bit more respect, especially older ones see: Casablanca , Annie Hall , much of Audrey Hepburn 's filmography , but the very existence of the term Chick Flick shows that the stereotype exists there, too. In this case, it typically overlaps heavily with the Girl-Show Ghetto , the implication being that no self-respecting man would ever read a romance novel. Inversions of the ghetto occur too. One example of such a case is with the label "postmodern", which is often lumped with critically acclaimed authors, regardless whether or not their work actually is this.
Some authors that critics considered to be "postmodern" even had spoken out publicly that their works do not fit that genre. To most critics, "postmodern" works can not even be genre writing. The term does have an actual use, but only those who take the term for what it actually is will tell you that there are genres that can be defined by their usage of postmodern elements such as Reality TV.
Some embrace the Ghetto eagerly. Some writers have few pretensions to attaining the True Art status their peers yearn for, and gleefully embrace the whole pulp pot-boiler or B-Movie aspect of the genre, or the chance to expand on a complex idea to a smaller audience they know will get it.
Similarly, some fans eagerly embrace the ghetto and will prefer or, in extreme cases, only engage with media from within it, often dismissing those who engage with media outside of it as morons lacking imagination.
This attitude, of course, tends to overlook the fact that it also takes energy, creativity and imagination to construct a fine non-Science Fiction work, and can be indicative of a similar kind of snobbery to that which creates the idea of this Ghetto in the first place. It's important to remember that the Ghetto isn't bad because "quality" literature or cinema is bad; it's bad because it assumes science fiction, fantasy, horror and romance cannot be quality literature or cinema.
This is slowly changing, however; more and more creators and critics who aren't ashamed to acknowledge an interest and inspiration from "niche" genres are producing and discussing more works in such genres which are gaining both mainstream accessibility and critical acclaim.
For the sake of overall cohesion, terms like " speculative fiction ", " magic realism " and " psychological thriller " have cropped up to help distinguish the extent and degree of science fiction, fantasy or horror influence in a work.
Though some will complain that these are simply arbitrary distinctions having to do with stuffy ivory tower academics looking for excuses not to pay attention to "science fiction", a brief gander at those pages should indicate them as being clear subgenres or supergenres. The terms themselves, however, can be misused for this purpose, usually by people who don't fully understand the distinctions between them.
On a related note, detractors have often been heard to refer to science fiction, fantasy and horror disparagingly as "genre" fiction crime, romance, detective novels, Westerns and the like are often lumped in as well — as though proper novels don't belong in their own respective genres.
Keep in mind the trope may actually be americentrist, as talented authors back in Europe helped to give Sci-Fi credit since the 19th century. Most known is H.
Wells and Jules Verne , who is to this day the second most translated author in the world behind Agatha Christie. Besides, it doesn't concern only literature. Not to be confused with Industrial Ghetto or Fantastic Ghetto. Comic Books Charley's War: It's an extremely realistic series of WWI war stories. As mentioned in passing above, there's now a bit of a ghetto where the only "serious" or "artistic" comics are ones that have no science fiction or fantastical elements to them.
Kieron Gillen admitted that for some time he believed in the fantasy sub-ghetto mostly because of being critical towards the Standard Fantasy Setting and related tropes and would prefer to call himself a "speculative fiction writer" until his ex-girlfriend pointed out to him that if the speculative aspect of his works boils down to magic music then he is a fantasy writer. Watchmen won a Hugo Award and was declared one of the best English-language novels by Time.
When people read it, they are often stunned by its depth When they don't, they say, "Oh, if it's so good, why isn't it as popular as Batman and Superman comics? Some thought that this was an attempt to avoid having to give the "best novel" award to a comic book. In though, they added a separate category for Best Graphic Story won by the then-current print volume of Girl Genius.
Although the claim that comics are artistically "inferior" to prose is just ignorant snobbery, it is legitimate to argue that comics should not be judged in the same category as prose, because comics are a fundamentally different medium. Judging a graphic novel alongside a prose novel is like comparing the prose novel to a play, or to a poem, or to a movie, or even to a painting.
They are self-evidently different types of storytelling. Calling them the same thing probably does aid comics in gaining the prestige that prose is afforded in our society, but it makes it difficult for a contest's judges to objectively compare the merits of two such different things. This is the argument that led the World Fantasy Awards to change the rules regarding qualification for the award after an issue of The Sandman specifically Sandman 19 , entitled A Midsummer Night's Dream won in According to the revamped rules, comic books cannot even be entered for the award, much less actually win it again.
Comic books can now only be considered for the Special Award Professional category. The World Fantasy Awards claims that this is not a change in the rules; however, that Sandman issue won as a short story, not as a special award.
Classified , in which, faced with an apparently alien invasion, Batman is forced to resort to the contents of his literal "sci-fi closet". In a general sense, there's a tendency when complimenting a Live Action adaptation of a comic property to credit the adaptation for 'fixing' a particularly odd element or character. This often goes hand-in-hand with True Art Is Angsty or Comedy Ghetto , as often the characters being touted as 'fixed' were never broken, but were just not as Darker and Edgier or wearing such dark outfits.
A common sentiment even among comic fans concerned the character Batroc the Leaper when he was adapted into the MCU with Captain America: There were a lot of people praising how 'somehow they made Batroc cool', when Batroc had often beforehand been one of Captain America's most reliably capable enemies and an Ensemble Darkhorse due to being a Badass Normal Noble Demon who just so happened to be a crazy-looking Frenchman.
A number of articles ran during the premier of Jessica Jones Season 2 due to them featuring the Whizzer, a Golden Age superhero who served as an Alternative Company Equivalent of The Flash, positing that the show 'fixed' the character. In the show, he's depicted as an overweight awkward nerd who's brutally murdered by the Big Bad of the season, whose attempts to seek Jessica's help initially are dismissed because she refused to take him seriously.
How exactly this is considered 'fixing' him is unclear. Somewhat fuelling the Fandom Rivalry between fans of the comic source and its adaptation , there's a tendency for fans of the latter to posit that the Darker and Edgier treatment given to Green Arrow in the Arrowverse is an improvement on the character. Normally, he's a wisecracking loudmouth with a wide sense of humour, while the show turns him into a brooding stoic expy of Batman , to fit its initially darker setting.
What's overlooked is that the comic itself has often gotten dark, with Green Arrow himself having abandoned his Thou Shall Not Kill philosophy on multiple occasions, but generally Oliver's cavalier attitude serves to contrast the dark setting he deals with.
As a result, it comes off less that there's any real fundamental improvement happening, but just snobbery and the belief that being dark and realistic by nature makes for a better story.
Film As a general rule, film buffs are slightly less snobbish about "Genre" horror, fantasy, and science fiction movies being True Art worthy of actually serious criticism then almost any other medium; there are several reasons for this, the three most prominent being that genre films are 1 usually the best looking of a given era, 2 are usually remembered longer, and 3 frequently the most directly engaged with their Central Ideas And Themes.
That being said, the Sci Fi Ghetto is still something of a thing in film, as the following demonstrates: A young ballerina with an overbearing mother is so dedicated to getting the lead role in a production of Swan Lake that she starts going crazy, having hallucinations that may or may not include Body Horror and her sultry rival for the role.
Had it been released in The '70s , it would've been called a horror film. Released in , it's called a psychological drama and wins Natalie Portman an Oscar. It's about a man who is born old and ages in reverse. That sound like Magic Realism to you? Sorry, I had something in my throat. Sarcasm Even compliments can do this at times. Roger Ebert 's review of The Dark Knight starts off by declaring: Batman isn't a comic book anymore.
Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight is a haunted film that leaps beyond its origins and becomes an engrossing tragedy. Richard Kelly has repeatedly said it is a comic book movie, and Donnie is a superhero, and the Director's Cut drives this home. Get Out averted this and Minority Show Ghetto so far. It gets rave reviews from critics, is a huge commercial success, and touted as the most successful directorial debut by a black director.