Thursday, April 12, 2007

Don't call it science fiction!   posted by Razib @ 4/12/2007 01:39:00 AM

Wired has a funny story about the terror that marketers have about pushing anything as "science fiction" or "sci-fi." This is very relevant today, as Kurt Vonnegut has just passed away, and he is one of many writers (e.g., Phillip K. Dick) who left the science fiction ghetto. What makes science fiction so horrifying? I hold that it is a demographic issue: the core readership of science fiction consists of ugly young adult males. Once I was in Montpelier, VT, in a used book store. I was curious where the science fiction section was so I just scanned the aisles, and sure enough there was a slightly overweight, greasy haired and pasty faced male around the age of 25 rooting through copies of E.E. Smith. I knew I'd hit pay dirt. In any case, as Isaac Asimov once observed, all great fiction is to some extent science fiction and fantasy. If someone in the 1930s read contemporary fiction they might perceive it as near future sf with a character based focus. Epic poems like the Iliad and Odyssey are really little different than a lot of "high fantasy" except in their quality. Speaking of which, anyone read good science fiction or fantasy of late? And is there any good site that reviews? SF Site seems to like everything (the last SF and/or fantasy that I read was The Thousandfold Thought).