The really real reason why science fiction is dying

Speed Reading Class
Image by iBjorn via Flickr

Paul Jessup thinks he knows why Science Fiction is dying:

Heinlien. Asimov.  At the latest, Orson Scott Card (but mostly just for Ender’s Game). I don’t see anyone ever looking for something new...

This is why SF is spiraling downward in sales. It’s fans just aren’t buying it anymore. I’ve got mixed feelings about this. I love Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, etc. so I don’t mind that it’s popular and selling. But some part of me wonders- is SF meant to be kept in the past? Is that why Steampunk is so popular right now, because it’s an emulation of the past? I’m not sure. But this is a problem (Paul Jessup).

Is classicism the problem?  Well, it is part of it, but it is only one of many.

Lessons Lost

The biggest problem SF has is that the industry didn't learn from the New Wave SF of the 60's and 70's.  These authors, most notably Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury, didn't allow themselves to be constrained by the limits of industry enforced genre.  There stories were a little bit science, a little bit fantasy, a little bit horror.  The incorporated whatever they thought they needed into their stories to make them good.

Genre has become increasingly rigid.  Publishers forgot that Speculative Fiction is the literature of the imagination.  It once explored the question, "What if" without any limits save those of the author's imagination.  As the genres stiffened, sales have continued to go down.

Lack of Imagination

This genre lock is not the only problem facing SF.  Have you seen any of the marketing for new fiction?  No?  You are not alone.

If a new classic is published and no one knows about it, will it make any sales?  Yes, among the author's friends and family.  That is about it.

Publishers and authors need to find new ways to generate excitement about new titles, but that is not enough.  Fans need to find better venues to share and spread the word about their favorite new books.

Bless me, for I have sinned

I have to admit that I really haven't read any new books in a long time.  With the exception of Night's Knights, Brave Men Run, and Burning Skies.  These don't count because I read them after meeting the authors.  I also don't count the Harry Potter books or franchise fiction.  Personally, I find it too hard to find new books to read.

As a writer, I feel like I am confessing a mortal sin.  I want to read more, but I am not sure where to find new books.

I've thought about reviewing books myself, but I don't feel like I have the time to wade through the weeds to find the books.

So, I ask you.  Where do you find out about new books?  How can we promote SF books better?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]