Ok heres a quick rant to make up for the lack of pro - sci-fi comments! Im not saying that Fantasy is shallow and for people too dumb for sci-fi - i actualy love both genres. But I voted sci-fi mainly for these 3 reasons:
1)more hope and reason behind characters actions: In fantasy, the main characters actions can seem futile indeed when pitted against enemies of uncomprehendable godlike powers, until some battle at the end which makes all previous adventure pointless. Whereas in sci-fi; even the darkest enemy, and their forces; deep down, are usualy built up of the same building blocks as the good guys - which i find way more emotionaly engaging. Lets compare what 2 soilders of 2 genres could be thinking before their battles:
Gondor soilder: "nasty urak-hai and giant trolls that outnumber us a hundred times, and witch-king that see through your soul; i have no choice but to fight. I will probably die. How are my individual actions going to amount to anything significant against all this dark power?"
Rebel x-wing fighter: "a planet destroying space station; eish! But its ok; we have a plan to get to the weakness and they shouldnt consider us a threat due to our small size. I feel confident that I can make a difference in this assault - but part of me still thinks i should have enrolled in the empire when i had the chance!"
With this idea in mind: I am therefore more emotionaly engaged in the final battle of star wars apisode 4 than the final battle of the LOTR Trilogy
2) More context available to create empathy. I find it easier to feel for a character who comes from a background i can visualise. I could kill drooling towering trolls, and fire-belching winged demons in World of warcraft until i die of a lost soul and not feel as much emotion as i would when watching 5 minutes of district 9. "wow, im actualy feeling sorry for those ugly garbage-sifting prawn creatures... how can the main character turn away from his own people and family like this!?"
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY FOR ME AS AN ART STUDENT: 3) Credibility behind design Good Sci-fi demands something to be Believable and understandable, which some people find limiting. But i think a limit is a good catalyst for creativity. Fantasy: "how does that work?" "well, magic i suppose" Sci-fi: "how does that work?" "well this actualy folds out of there, that spinning thing turns that over there, and this covering keeps people alive etc..." The artist really has to think about how his design will work. Its really challenging, and can be really annoying. But hey, anyone heard the phrase 'Art from Adversity'.
I prefer fantasy. Sci Fi usually has too much space and spaceships and aliens. I like that stuff but I go mostly for sword and sorcery, dragons, magic, etc. Both get tied together well sometimes, like James Cameron's Avatar movie but others not so much.
Good Fantasy: Dragonlance, Furies of Calderon, D&D
I enjoy both quite a bit. I grew up on Star Trek, so scifi has been a big part of my life. However, fantasy just catches my imagination. It's a different world I can slip into and leave "reality" behind. I do love a well thought out mix of the two. Howl's Moving Castle is a favorite example of this. Magic and interesting machines!