Apparently there are still people deeply scarred by the term SciFi and will jump on any poor soul who dares to ask: is this term really still derogatory? Jump on him and whip out the claws, apparently. Wow.
I have never really understood the vehement hate this term generates in people. SciFi or Sci-Fi (sometimes pronounced skiffy) has certainly been used by those who look down on our genre. But shortening it to SF and calling that more acceptable merely injects a rather nasty and unnecessary layer to the issue. With SF, you’re kind of hiding what you’re talking about except for those in the know. Does SF stand for San Francisco? (Don’t think people would be so silly as to assume? You’d be wrong.) Or, more importantly to us, does it stand for speculative fiction or science fiction? At least with Sci-Fi you know what one is talking about, as Jason said in his post.
At the risk of having Nick Mamatas say nasty things about me, I have to say that this whole Sci-Fi is derogatory/marks you as an outsider ish has always struck me as a bit of in-community snobbery. Like: “We don’t call it Sci-Fi. Pfft. That’s for clueless newbies!” with a full dose of huffiness and noses in the air. Thing is, if you’re a new person to the community and run across that attitude, why the fuck wouldn’t you just turn around, walk away, and never deal with the likes of SF fans again? Who the hell needs that level of bitchassness in their lives? If you’re going to be shunned for something, at least make it something important, like preferring Star Trek to Star Wars.
Also, I have noticed that the majority of people who raise hell about Sci-Fi vs. SF tend to be folks who are older or have been in the community for a while. Snobbery and disdain from the literary community about science fiction was, if I understand correctly, a lot more virulent in the past than it is now. I can see how that dismissiveness can hurt and make people feel really bad. Alan Bostick says Sci-Fi was used as a “nasty slur”, which is excessively sucky. But there’s no need to infect newer folks with that same mindset.
All other considerations aside, I like the term Sci-Fi better than SF for a simple reason: it’s easier to say and sounds better. Sigh-fie rolls off the tongue, EssEff is all angles and hard edges. So from now on I’m using it all the time and anyone who tries to claim that I’m not really part of this genre because of it will earn themselves a shrug. I’ll be sure to mention their objections every time I moderate a panel at a Sci-Fi convention. :P