Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What Do You Think?

I found this comment on another blog yesterday, and with the author's permission, repeated it here. If you have any thoughts on the subject, please click the comments link below to share.

Why is publishing of science fiction in such doldrums? Science fiction movies still do well. Fantasy fiction still seems to be doing reasonably well. In an age when everyone spends a fortune on cell phones, i-pods, and high speed Internet, it seems that books pondering the impact of new technologies would be a positive boon, helping us to mediate future shock.

One of my students voiced a theory I hope isn't true. She said that readers today are overwhelmingly female and these readers, by percentage, prefer relationship literature. Males are still into tech and science, but simply do not read. Science fiction as a written genre is thus fading away leaving film and TV science fiction undisturbed.

What do you think?

What are you favorite 2009 science fiction books?

Are you a member of any science fiction fan community such as Amazon or Good Reads?


Helen Ginger said...

I have to admit, I don't read very much science fiction. I'm a mystery/thriller/suspense reader mostly, although I do read other genres. I think sci-fi movies are stronger than sci-fi books because of the medium. Reading a long passage of scientific jargon and explanation takes time. If science is not your "thing" then you may have to re-read to grasp it. But when you see it on the screen, it's easier to understand and accept what would have been difficult while reading. There's no step by step explanation. You see it, you accept it.

Straight From Hel

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I think the analysis offered is right on target. As a former librarian, I observed that science fiction was mainly preferred by male readers. But men, when they do read, for the most part read nonfiction which they seem to prefer.

I can suggest an excellent science fiction book which actually combines fantasy and some horror as well. I'm referring to the anthology CERN ZOO.

Jacqueline Seewald

Pauline B Jones said...

Readers are totally missing Science Fiction romance then. Linnea Sinclair is def star in that genre. She's was recently recommended on a guy blog, too.

I find women readers are more likely to cross genre lines than women. My own opinion, the market is there, but readers are having trouble finding it.

Mark Phillips said...

I agree with Pauline. If you look hard enough, there is great SF that will appeal to women. Pauline's The Key is an excellent example. It's solid SF but also firmly focused on relationship. Hurricane Moon by Alexis Glyn Latner also comes to mind. I tried in my own The Resqueth Revolution to keep the hard science to manageable levels while not neglecting the central relationships, especially the romance. I tried hard to create memorable strong female characters. I also tried to keep the action cinematic and frequent enough that jaded film goers wouldn't be disappointed.

Pauline B Jones said...

You succeeded very well, too, Mark. :-) (thanks for kind words about The Key!) There's a blog that has an extensive list of romantic SF called The Galaxy Express. The list goes back to the 30's.

When I started writing The Key, I was worried about venturing into SF, but I found that I was just writing what I'd always written, just a different setting: space. It is sort of accidentally SF.

Mark's book is def solid SF, but with the relationship aspects that women like. I don't remember tripping over the science, though I understand why female readers worry about it.

Conversely, I don't see readers worry about tripping over historical detail in history books. Maybe some are just intimidated by science and think they won't understand. Not a problem with my books. LOL! It's all made up. LOL!

Had a recent exchange with my hubby and my son about my power source in my new steampunk novella. Hubby tells me it won't work. Son says, "So dad says your fictional power source in your fiction novel won't work?" LOL!

Shannon said...

I wish I were a Sci-Fi fan; it would make me more interesting and less of a typi-chick. Alas, when I do read it--and I do read it occasionally, I end up scanning the science part. Does Douglass Adams qualify as sci-fi, 'cause he's a favorite of mine.

seeford said...

Well, I am a science fiction fan and female - there are a whole lot of us on GR in the Science Fiction book groups, so I don't believe the hype. I've been an avid SF and Fantasy reader for over 25 years now and there are plenty of us out there, we just don't buy books as voraciously as our romance-loving counterparts.

I think the truth is that many readers (male and female) are reading science fiction, but because publishers are not classifying or marketing it as such, they have no idea that it IS science fiction.
For example: The Time Traveler's Wife? SCIENCE FICTION,
Oryx and Crake - SCIENCE FICTION (despite what Atwood says.)

Science fiction gets a bad rap, but there is plenty out there that is of a social science bent, not inundated with 'hard' science. Or, as in the case of space opera, which has battles and action sequences and explains it's techno-gadgets and scientific principles about as much as Star Trek or Star Wars does - it just *is*.

And yes, Douglass Adams is very much science fiction (how could you even question that?) - full of aliens and intergalactic travel.

Denthepen said...

As a sci-fi author ('The Understanding' aka 'The Jump-Clones') and hoping one day that my work would become a movie, I was always aware that although movies are 'easy' entertainment, they have shortcomings when compared to books.Although books have a standard storyline throughout each individual novel,
the imagination of each reader interprets the written word, so that the appearance of characters and places, sounds etc,are in some ways unique to the imagination of the individual.
Movies are limited, in that they already prescribe the scene,appearance of the characters,
actual sounds etc. The imaginations of those who have given up reading in favour of movies, which require so much less imaginative effort(the directors and actors have done all of that for us) must therefore in some subtle way atrophy. While a movie of a novel may have instant entertainment through spectacle and special effects, those who have read the novel before seeing the movie often feel a sence of loss because the spectacle of the movie is not the spectacle and emotions created in their own imaginations while reading the tale. If for no other reason than that, the written novel will endure.

Anonymous said...

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anyhow thanks for the good read!

Anonymous said...

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Enid Wilson said...

I like sci-fi romance, rather than hard core sci-fi. I've written a few sci-fi romance myself but it's really difficult to get female readers to read them because of the jargons.

Really Angelic

Morgan Mandel said...

I don't like science fiction that much, but paranormal is okay, depending on the storyline.

Morgan Mandel

JG Hanekom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.