The This or That Tag

What’s up, guys, I’m doing a tag. (Also can you say this post title five times fast)

The wonderful C. M. (or as I like to call her, Mademoiselle Tomato) over at Project Pursue Wisdom tagged me for this not too long ago, and y’all should go check out her post (and her lovely blog in general) if you haven’t already, because it was a really fun post to read. (All the Red Rising quotes. I’m dying to read Red Rising now.)

Anyway, rules! Or…not, since I don’t plan to follow them. So, questions!

Fantasy or sci-fi?

Fantasy, my dear sirs and madams, fantasy!

I can tolerate certain types of sci-fi, particularly if they are particularly excellent, but the trappings of the genre are just not my favorite.

Sci-fi is a very philosophical genre, where for her setting the author has to create a possible future. Sometimes that future is bleak and sometimes it’s supposed to be optimistic, but there’s a certain horror that steals into the back of my mind when I have to imagine any of these worlds; the optimistic ones are just as bad as the bleak ones, because if that’s your idea of a good future…I’d hate to see your idea of a bad one.

Whereas fantasy doesn’t have disturbing connections to the real world – not like that. Fantasy is about the Other – our half-forgotten desire to see what’s invisible, to communicate across barriers, to enter a world that’s different from ours, and to encounter both beauty and peril more intense than the kind we run into here. Really good fantasy is an Experience (the exhilarating kind).

Fantasy feeds my sense of wonder, while sci-fi feeds my sense of despair.

Plus fantasy has the sub-genres of, like, fairy tales and whimsical middle grade and mythology and magical quests. It’s just my thing.

Tragedy or comedy?

What’s wrong with you, asking this question? I don’t know.

I would think comedy (happy endings are the best kind), but I have no faith in modern people’s ability to write comedy. (Modern people as in the modern people writing well-known stuff, not as in every writer I’ve ever met – some of y’all, I know, write excellent comedy. An example might be… oh, Friends, for instance. Can’t stand that show. Or any modern action-comedy I’ve ever tried to watch. So plastic.) They’re better at tragedy, because you can write effective tragedy even if your understanding of redemption is lacking, so long as your understanding of sin isn’t.

In an ideal world full of ideal stories, though, comedy. They have happy endings and laughter, my two favorite things.

Fiction or nonfiction?

If I had to only ever read one or the other…….

I hate this question…….

I think I’d go with nonfiction, though? I love fiction, I do, but no more history, no more science, no more philosophy? No. I couldn’t deal with that.

One still has one’s imagination. I need to be able to feed my curiosity about the world and its workings more than I need imagination help. (Much more, actually. :P)

Snow or rain?

Oh, but I love both.

I…really love both.

Snow makes me happier, just because it’s rarer. I have a lovely memory from high school, actually, involving snow.
See, I’d been sick. For a week. And this was in the middle of the hours-every-night rehearsal season of the musical I was in. (I was just ensemble, but you still have to be there all the time at this point.) And so obviously I went back as soon as I could, but I was not really well yet, and for…several weeks afterward, I had no energy, no joy, no anything. I was a shell of a person. It was actually rather odd.

But, two nights before the first performance, as I was driving the two of us – my sister and I – to rehearsal, just as we turned into the parking lot, snow started falling. These little flurries hit my windshield, one after the other after the other…and remembering it still gives me this pang of joy at how beautiful and worth living life is.

Rain has never had quite that effect…so snow it is.

Orange juice or apple juice?

They’re both good in moderation, and I don’t drink either very often. I think orange juice elevates a breakfast to an extent apple juice doesn’t. But a glass of apple juice floating with ice cubes to be sipped at leisurely on a hot summer afternoon (or at your right hand doing its best to impersonate whiskey while you play poker with your sisters and the neighbors)…well, that’s exceedingly pleasant too.

I might like the taste of orange juice a smidge better?

Christmas or Easter?

They’re inextricably connected, obviously. Rather like the beginning and the ending of a book. And I prefer beginnings, in a way. Not because wonderful endings aren’t the best thing in the world, but because beginnings promise that ending to come and are cozy to boot. Christmas is a very cozy hearthside holiday, while Easter is more like being on the lake in a high September wind. You can’t pick between them, it’s not like that. But if I’ve got to pick, Christmas.

Middle-earth or Narnia?


But Middle-earth. Middle-earth has the Ents. There are other reasons too, not that you need them. Because Ents.

Marvel or DC?

Uh…Marvel? I don’t know that that’s fair, considering I’ve never seen anything DC (not that I’ve wanted to either – even Marvel I was forced into).

Well, that’s not true. I did once see the tail end of a TV show episode where a tied-up and unconscious Batman was being slowly conveyor-belted into a huge flaming oven…? And then there was dramatic music and the episode was over.

So, Marvel.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Trek.

I like Star Wars, I do, but I didn’t see it till I was a teenager. It was that movie my parents really liked that they were always saying we should watch, but then we never did because we didn’t own it and we didn’t watch movies much anyway. When we finally did watch it, my sisters were young enough to get obsessed with Luke Skywalker, but I…wasn’t. Sadly.

I wasn’t even young enough to get obsessed with Han. I have no idea why my middle sister liked Luke better than Han, actually…wisecracking scoundrels are sort of her thing.

I still like Star Wars, quite a lot, but I grew up on Star Trek and I’m ridiculously fond of several of the ridiculous characters. (And the premise appeals to me more.)

Old movies or new movies?

So, I think when it comes to movies, I’m like those people who don’t care about prose in books. Because sure, color and sound quality and editing techniques and such things are much better in new movies (I guess), but I genuinely don’t care. The story and the dialogue are all that matter.

Plus, I like the black-and-white aesthetic. And even when old movies aren’t in black and white, they have a style of dialogue that I like much better than modern movies. I like dialogue that’s not just clever, but smart. Quips that require you to know something, or have paid attention to something, to get. Dialogue in modern movies often feels sloppy and lazy to me, at least in comparison to dialogue from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Also I tend to prefer older acting styles, I think. They’re maybe less realistic, but they’re somehow more convincing. To me.

I don’t know why, really. I just know I tend to like old movies better.

Old books or new books?

Well, I hate to be predictable, but old again. There are new books I love, but…while my reading life would be a little poorer without them, it’d be way, way, way poorer without all the old books I have read. Seriously, no Tolkien, no Rosemary Sutcliff, no Chesterton, no Robert Louis Stevenson, no Helen MacInnes, no Song of Roland, no myths, no fairy tales, no Charles Dickens, no Sabatini, no Lucy Maud Montgomery, no James Herriot, no A. A. Milne? Horrible thought.

(I could go on. I just stopped myself there because I really could go on and on.)

And that’s not even to mention all the old books I’m still dying to read. There are a few new books I’m mildly interested in (okay, MORE THAN MILDLY when it comes to The Silent Bells and Boys of Blur and Return of the Thief and West of Yesterday), but…old books are where it’s at, my friends. The history, the depth, the…the vast swaths of time across which books have been written, wherein you can dig for manifold treasures! I want to read all the old books. All of them.

So much I cannot say for the new ones.

Thank you again for tagging me, C.M.! This was a very fun, if painful, post to write up. And…am I allowed to just tag all of y’all in the comments? Because that’s what I’m doing.

Author: sarahseele

A Christian, cat owner, college kid, and writer. Fond of stories. Fond of rain.

17 thoughts on “The This or That Tag”

  1. I guess…if we’re all tagged in the comments and that means you want us to answer the questions in the comments (which I assume it does, based on how you worded it)…I can just put my thoughts about your thoughts at the same time as my answers to the questions? Yeah. We’ll try that.

    Fantasy or sci-fi?
    Fantasy. For the same reason, and also because fantasy is almost always good, and sci-fi is very seldom good. (But when it’s good…oh boy do I adore it. Ender’s Game? Speaker for the Dead? Deep Impact? GIMME ALL OF THEM. And I do think you’re right that sci-fi is a very philosophical genre, which might be why it’s hard to get right? Not every author is good at philosophy, let’s just say).

    Tragedy or Comedy?
    I think that in general I like comedy better, if we’re including every book/movie/etc. that I’ve ever read. Because, happy endings. But you’re so right that the modern comedies are often awful (not always. but often). Probably because the modern understanding of happiness is awful.

    Fiction or nonfiction?
    Ahhhhhhhhh why are these questions LIKE THIS? I don’t think I could choose. I am very grateful that I don’t have to read one or the other for the rest of my life. Because for me, reading fiction is like breathing, but at the same time, I ADORE nonfiction, because I love learning about things. Any things. All the things.

    Snow or rain?
    Ooh, I LOVE your memory! That’s such a beautiful moment! I live in a place that rains all the time, but very rarely snows, so when it does snow, no one knows how to deal with it (most people don’t even have chains! What is this insanity?) and so everything gets cancelled. So while I do love sledding and how the snow looks, I think I’m going to have to go with rain. Because it’s much less inconvenient, and I do love it. 🙂

    Orange juice or apple juice?
    “Doing its best to impersonate whisky” <<XD XD This is fantastic. I think I'd go with orange juice, m'self, just because I like the way it tastes better.

    Christmas or Easter?
    THANK YOU. Because YES they are not *separate* holidays, they're inextricably connected.
    That said, while I love Christmas, Easter is my favorite holiday of all. There's just something about the leadup of the extremely solemn liturgies of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, helping decorate the church on Holy Saturday, and then the Easter Vigil, which is probably my favorite liturgy of all time. (The church starts out all dark, and then the priest goes outside and blesses the fire and the server brings in the Easter Candle, and sings "Lumen Christi", and everyone in the church sings back "Deo Gratias", and it feels like we're in the catacombs, and everyone lights their candles from the Easter Candle…and then there's the Exultet, which you actively have to go read. (Actually, scratch that. You have to listen to it sung. in this YouTube video from 5:01 to 12:53. I hope you don't mind me assigning homework to you in the comments. XD But it's so beautiful and you HAVE to listen to it. Although you can save it for Easter if you want. ;)). And then the rest of Mass is just as gorgeous, but it's the beginning bits that are my favorite. And the joy of greeting people with "Christ is Risen!" throughout the Easter Season.
    Um. That got long. Moving on.

    Middle-earth or Narnia?
    I agree that this is not a fair question. But I concur about Middle-earth. Because, Ents, yes, but also hobbits and dwarves and elves and Rivendell and Rohan and Gondor and EPICNESS. (Also, it helps that the world hasn't ended there yet. XD)

    Marvel or DC?
    I also have not watched much if any DC…but still. MARVEL.

    Star Wars or Star Trek?
    I still haven't watched much Star Trek (I'm working on it! But the one night we were going to watch Star Trek, we ended up watching Men in Black instead! XD), so I think I'm going to have to say Star Wars. But I have a feeling Star Trek will win out once I've watched more of it.

    Old movies or new movies?
    I really *like* a lot of old movies, but most of my favorites are new(er), and I tend to like new *animated* movies a lot better, so I think I'll have to go with new movies. But that's not to say I like all new movies (because I don't).

    Old books or new books?
    "it'd be way, way, way poorer without all the old books I have read.” <<EXACTLY. Old books for the win. Tolkien alone would convince me to keep the old books rather than the new. 🙂 (But you do have to read The Return of the Thief)

    This was such a fun post to read, and such a fun comment to write! Thanks for tagging everyone in the comments! (And I think I may have broken my own record for longest comment. XD)


    1. Yup. Thanks for understanding what I meant even though I didn’t phrase it very clearly… xD

      Yeah, with authorial philosophy, there’s people who are just BAD at writing it (shallow, ham-handed), and then there’s people who are GOOD at writing it but their philosophy itself is awful…which I can deal with in a short story, but not so much a whole novel.

      Yes, same!! And I definitely think that’s the root problem – the modern understanding of happiness is awful. It always is in a hedonistic society, I feel like? Because first everybody accepts the misconception that happiness is something to be pursued as an end, not realizing that this is exactly how you DON’T achieve happiness, and so that ends up corrupting the definition of happiness itself. And then people call misery happiness and it’s just…awful.

      Rain is beautiful, I agree. 🙂 (Though we have, like, the same reason for choosing opposite options? That’s funny.)

      Lol. I often feel morally inferior to people who like Easter better, not because I think which you like better says anything about you morally, but maybe your reasons do? And I just…like the safety and coziness of Christmas so much, and Easter is SO solemn and beautiful it almost makes me feel….unsafe? That’s a weird explanation but it’s the best I can do. It’s kind of like how I actively dislike reading Revelations…
      BUT thank you for your long description of the Easter service!! That was so cool to hear about, and it sounds completely beautiful??? (Also, I’m late on my Easter Exultet homework, but rest assured I will turn it in soon. xD)

      haha yes it’d be a tad difficult to get to Narnia now…

      Is it the scripting or the animation you like better in newer animated movies, just curious? I think I really miss the old 2D stuff, but modern scripts probably tend to be a bit more captivating to adult audiences. And I’m not really an animated movies person, so my opinion isn’t very valid, but like…the old animation is so PRETTY. I didn’t even grow up on it, but I miss it.

      Thank you for your record-breaking comment! XD I enjoyed reading all your thoughts so much (apologies for not responding to all of them; I enjoyed all of them but mental energy reserves are still a little low after finals xD).


  2. Fantasy or Sci-Fi? Fantasy… I find it difficult to find a sci-fi I like. They usually either go over my head with all the science, or have a worldview too bleak to enjoy. You put it well when you said: “Fantasy feeds my sense of wonder, while sci-fi feeds my sense of despair.”
    Tragedy or Comedy? Comedy– but it has to be the right kind of comedy.
    Fiction or Non-Fiction? Non-fiction. Non-fiction is so useful, and I can still get great stories in history and autobiographies.
    Snow or Rain? As much as I love snowflakes and skiing, I will have to go with rain. I enjoy the comforting sound of rain, the puddles it leaves behind, the way it makes the mountains misty… and besides, my car doesn’t fuss in the rain the way it does in snow.
    Orange Juice or Apple Juice? Ehhh, cranberry.
    Christmas or Easter? But… you can’t have one without the other! However, I find there are less obligatory dinners and such at Easter, which makes me happier.
    Middle Earth or Narnia? As much as I love the peace of Hobbiton and the epic feel of the rest of Tolkien’s world, Narnia was my first fantasy, and is therefore more ‘homey’.
    Marvel or DC? Ehhh, Wayfarer.
    Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars, but only the first three movies.
    Old Movies or New Movies? I suppose I’m more willing to watch an old movie than a new one.
    Old Books or New Books? I’m with you on this one! Old books! I love the classics, the epics, and the histories. Besides, the Bible is an old book, and where would we be without it?


    1. “Comedy – but it has to be the right kind of comedy” – heh, exactly.

      Yes, exactly!! Because there really are LOTS of great stories hidden in history and autobiographies.

      You’re making me want rain….

      Cranberry?!? Isn’t it terribly sour?

      Wayfarer sounds very cool. 🙂 Have you read Storming, by the same author? I’ve been wanting to read that for a long time.

      Indeed! I didn’t even think about the Bible being an old book; that makes that even easier. Definitely need the Bible.


      1. Cranberry juice isn’t all that sour, but it does have a bitter taste which I actually find nice. It goes well with ginger ale.
        Wayfarer IS cool, and so is Storming! Both are great adventures with an alternate history element.


      2. Ah, that makes sense. Some people really like the bitter! I myself do not…hence no coffee, not even milky fancified coffee. XD

        When you say alternate history, is it like history is different, or more like history is as we know it but there are hidden elements running parallel to it? (Idk if that made sense. I tend to dislike what I think of as “alternate history” in a story, so I’m trying to figure out if they have that element or not, but I’m not quite sure how to explain it.)


      3. Maybe alternate history is the wrong word for it. What I mean is that Wayfarer is set in the Georgian period, but with superpowers. And Storming is set in the Roaring 20s, but with weather-altering technology.


  3. -fantasy or sci-fi?
    Actually, I’m pretty sure you just summed up the reasons why I don’t often go in for sci-fi, even though I do like what sci-fi I’ve read. That and the fact that I was introduced to sci-fi fiction through really bad (misogynist, among other problems) 80’s sci-fi novels that I didn’t end up finishing but STILL scarred me for life. I do love superheroes, though, which counts as sci-fi I think?

    -tragedy or comedy?
    My favorite kind is angst with a happy ending, but I’ve loved both tragedies and comedies! People can do really great things with both. Comedies can risk feeling heartless if the author isn’t careful, though, and tragedies risk feeling pointless. I feel like when they go wrong, comedies tend to be more disturbing, funnily enough. Anyway, tragedies I guess, but I like both!

    -fiction or non-fiction?

    -snow or rain?
    UGGH I like BOTH. I guess snow, though. I like how the ground looks covered in a blanket of snow. And I like the cold.

    -orange juice or apple juice?
    Apple juice! I like orange juice, but I will gladly drink apple juice until I fall over.

    -christmas or easter?
    Uhhh Easter. Although, yeah, you can’t really have one without the other. But I love staying up late at night and eating red-dyed eggs and finally getting to break the lent fast (if you’ve been fasting, which I have not, ahahahahah). I think Protestants have more traditions around Christmas, while Orthodox have more traditions around Easter? Just a weird thing I’ve noticed.

    -middle earth or narnia?
    Definitely Middle Earth, I love Lord of the Rings. Although I think I’d be much more likely to die if I went to Middle Earth instead of Narnia.

    -marvel or dc?
    Marvel but I DO love Batman when the writers don’t screw up his character.

    -star wars or star trek?
    I…actually have the exact same fandom experience you’ve described? So yeah, Star Trek.

    -old books or new books?
    I can’t choose (but old books because medieval literature) (but new books because some of these new releases look TAILORED to my tastes) (help everyone is so creative, how am I supposed to decide)
    Anyway, I loved reading your post!


    1. Really bad 80’s sci-fi novels. Why do I have a really detailed mental image of one of these even though I don’t think I’ve read any…? (I was introduced to sci-fi via Isaac Asimov and other 50’s-60’s sci-fi and…it’s interesting? Although sometimes, yes, misogynist? But not my thing.)

      “Angst with a happy ending.” Yes. This is what I always order, but sadly not always what the waiter brings out.
      I agree about comedies gone wrong actually being more disturbing. It sounds odd but like…they can get REALLY disturbing. (Although I read The Saga of the Volsungs recently, which is a tragedy and maybe the exception to the rule?? Very disturbing.)

      haha. It’s okay, it’s okay, you don’t have to choose. *offers you a consolatory library*

      Yes, the cold is not so bad!! (I mean, I say this living in a more southern part of the Midwest, but still. Snow is so beautiful, and I love how CLEAN the air feels when it’s cold.)

      I think that’s true about Protestants and Orthodox!! I knew someone who was…Greek Orthodox? I think? And she was describing Pascha and stuff and like WHOA. So much traditions, so much good food. I think it would be really cool if Protestants did that. (But I also love all our Christmas traditions, so, ya know. I love both.)
      Also, this is random, but when you talked about eating red-dyed eggs it reminded me irresistibly of Betsy-Tacy and like…I need to reread that book.

      haha! This is true, new books often sound like someone wrote a book with EXACTLY ME in mind. The problem is that usually when I read it it’s disappointing…whereas old books, although they don’t always sound like exactly my thing, I often end up enjoying a LOT. I’m not sure if it’s differently-adjusted expectations or what.

      Thank you!! Thanks for answering the questions yourself, too! I loved reading your comment. ^.^

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear old irascible internet, eating my original comment. It must not have liked my answers. *pats internet on the head*

    Fantasy or sci-fi: Fantasy. What you said. Also my brain and science don’t always mix very well.

    Tragedy or comedy: Comedy. (But I love tragedies, too. And can be picky about comedy.)

    Fiction or nonfiction: Nonfiction, yes.

    Snow or rain: Rain. (Your story about snow was lovely, though. I do love snow. I think I would rather live in a place where it rained all the time, than one where it snowed all the time.)

    Orange juice or apple juice: Apple juice, though I don’t care overmuch for either.

    Christmas or Easter: What you said. WE NEED BOTH AND I CAN’T CHOOSE. But Easter. Because what Sam said. The Easter Vigil is my favorite service of the liturgical year and the Exultet by candlelight, in particular, is SO BEAUTIFUL. And Easter is the thing that turns the tragedy of the world into a comedy. ❤

    Middle Earth or Narnia: Narnia. Mostly, I think, because of the Talking Beasts.

    Marvel or DC: Marvel. (I did find Wonder Woman interesting, and Shazam, I thought, was utterly delightful. But MARVEL.)

    Star Wars or Stark Trek: Star Wars. Star Wars is my childhood. I have yet to explore Star Trek sufficiently.

    Old books or new books: Old books, of course! After all, the new ones will get old eventually, and then I'll get to read them. (But I say, I can't wait to see what you think of West of Yesterday!)


    1. Um, don’t pat it on the head. We can’t let it get away with stuff like that. *scowls with motherly displeasure at the internet*

      Interesting. I love science, actually, but the science in science fiction often frustrates me as well because there’s not enough time to actually explain it (which would bore a lot of readers to tears, I get it :P) so it feels like mumbo-jumbo rather than science and I want to UNDERSTAND it, okay.

      I like all you people agreeing with me about nonfiction. XD It’s just kind of irreplaceable, ya know?

      “Easter is the thing that turns the tragedy of the world into a comedy.” ❤ Well said.

      "because of the Talking Beasts" – ok, so, I love that you said that!! Because it basically comes down to a choice between Talking Beasts and Talking Trees. I choose the Trees, you choose the Beasts, and that's…cool? interesting? I like it.
      (But yes. The Talking Beasts are so very dear. <3)

      Really?? You prefer Marvel?? I'm shocked, my dear, SHOCKED. 😉

      Star Wars is lovely. And I don't really know what you'd think of Star Trek. You should watch some of the original series, though, if you ever have the time/inclination, because the Spock-Kirk-Bones trio is lovely.

      Haha, way to spot that loophole! This is so true. I can still read all the new books I want, I just have to wait till I'm an old lady. (But hopefully I won't actually wait that long before I read West of Yesterday. I'm reeeeeally hoping I'll feel justified getting it this summer?? I just…never pay that much for books. Ever. But I do have a steady job this summer so maybe. And I will definitely tell you what I think!)


  5. This is a fun tag! I shall save it for a rainy day… as my laptop battery is dying and my charger is ALL THE WAY upstairs. (Yes, that might sound lazy… but if I go upstairs now, I will have to answer forty-leven questions, get someone a snack, and probably vacuum something… at which point I will have forgotten I was leaving a comment and never get around to coming back). 🙂

    Really enjoyed reading your answers!


    1. Cool, cool! I assume that means you’ll do it as a blog post? Because I shall look forward to that. It was lots of fun for me to answer! (Haha! Nope, I totally get you – I only have sisters, not Actual Children of Whom I Am the Mother, but I have faced pretty much the exact same dilemma on multiple occasions. :P)


    1. Haha, high five! Great minds think alike and whatnot. 😉
      DO YOU REALLY?? That’s awesome! It’s kind of a ridiculous amount of fun (one feels so Authentic), and I’m happy to know my sisters and I aren’t THAT weird for doing it. Or that if we are we’re in good company. XD


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