For some reason, I haven't felt like posting lately, but then I realized I'd written something that looks like a post.
Some writers put a lot of work into making their world logical--that's relatively simple since you can look up geology and horse maintenance, but how do you improve a story that's built on dream logic?
Greg Egan has a lot of allegory in his fiction-- that could be a panel in itself, but also are there any other stealth allegorists in sf?
Fantasy tropes in science fiction-- Vernor Vinge amps up the emotion by using fantasy metaphors. Elf-like aliens or modified humans turn up in science fiction. Just tracking down fantasy tropes might be a good enough topic, but looking into whether people enjoy them or find them off-putting would also be discussable.
As far as I could tell from genre discussions in rasfw, the real preferential dividing line isn't between fantasy and science fiction, it's between hard sf and the rest of the range from soft sf to fantasy. Yes? No? Sort of?
Black boxes: In Toby Bishop's Horsemistress trilogy, there are wingclips-- something that you can put on a winged horse to keep it from flying without distressing it. What they look like and how they work isn't described-- they're only present in the story by their function. Other black boxes? How much black boxiness can stories get away with?
Delany wrote about no one noticing everything in a story. How much do you see of what you read? How much do you remember? What are you apt to ignore or skim?
Allowable wishes: as far as I can tell, science fiction has cures for major diseases, but fantasy doesn't. If this is an actual pattern, what's going on there?
Oooh, shiny patterns! IIRC, Sturgeon's Godbody uses noticing color (hues, not race) as an indicator of emotional wholeness. Heinlein's Starman Jones is about how information moves in hierarchies. What have you noticed?