Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Towards an SF taxonomy

So if SF readers are NT (intuitive and logical - yay) and fantasy readers are NF (intuitive and idealistic - boo) (just joking NF chums) what about writers? What we need is a taxonomy of SF writers.

So there are two ways of dividing NTs (henceforward referred to as 'us') we can be extrovert (E) or introvert (I) and we can be organised (J) or disorganised (P). This gives us a handy four-way division.

In fjm's poll of SF readers the largest single category by miles was INTJ: introverted, intellectual and organised. I always say, the thing about INTJ is they are internally conflicted between imagination and logic, which pull them in different directions. Your INTJ writer is hard headed - plot structure and science have to make sense - but there's something ineffable just out of reach, just unexpressed. I'm thinking Stephen Baxter, Vernor Vinge, Gregory Benford ('Furious Gulf' is a real INTJ title, so it 'A Fire Upon the Deep').

INTP is the other way round - intellectual inside, disorganised outside - the type of writer who is unconcerned with the outer forms of logic, non-conformist, but internally tough minded and independent. I can spot INTPs when they say they don't believe in personality type. A lot of maths geniuses are INTP, and absent minded professors. I think INTP writers are less populist, might sell less, but are more avant-garde. They break the rules of writing more readily, and hurt their heroes more. I'm thinking Brian Aldiss, Joanna Russ, Kurt Vonnegut. Some INTP titles: 'On strike against god', 'Slaughterhouse 5', 'Barefoot in the head'.

ENTJ is extrovert and highly focussed, organised and logical. ENTJs are strategists, and their novels are didactic and persuasive. They try to reach into your head and change you, or they give you the impression of being impatient with the mass of people. In ENTJ novels the winners win, they win because they are clever, and they don't feel guilty. Military SF is ENTJ, so is anything that glorifies engineering. I'm thinking Orson Scott-Card, Larry Niven, Joe Haldemann, Neal Stephenson. ENTJ titles: 'The forever war', 'Ringworld engineers', 'The system of the world'

ENTP (which I am) are disorganised, intuitive, and unreliable. I also notice that a lot of us are physically brave, though I am not. For some reason a lot of ENTPs go rock-climbing, and even ENTP authors do too. I think ENTP writers are inconsistent, find it hard to sustain a story, shove in a lot of imaginative stuff, often don't finish very well, use humour and violence quite a lot. ENTP writers (I think) include M John Harrison, Alastair Reynolds, Theodore Sturgeon, Alfred Bester. ENTP titles 'Things that never happen', 'More than human', 'The demolished man'

Happy to have this blown out of the water, or suggest your own taxonomy.

Now I'm off to watch Doctor Who (an ENTP if ever there was one).

  • Phew what a scorcher

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