AUDIENCES GROW REAL FOR SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY
Step down, nerds. Put out your lightsabres. Science fiction and fantasy are no longer solely your preserve.
A British survey has revealed that both genres are becoming more acceptable in normal society, with sales of science fiction and fantasy novels growing by almost 20 per cent in the past five years. Now, says the Mintel survey, nearly one in three children and teenagers will admit to enjoying these kinds of books without fear of being given a wedgie and booted in the playground. (It doesn’t say the last part, but come on, admit it: that’s the treatment such geeky admissions earned you before now.)
And the cause of this mysterious development? Call it the Twilight effect.
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BLURRING THE LINES BETWEEN FANTASY AND HORROR
Borders in one of the few stores that maintains a distinct Horror section. At Waldenbooks, horror titles find a home in fantasy or general fiction. B&N shelves their King, Koontz and Straub books with general fiction.
Horror fans seem to appreciate our commitment to their genre. On the flip side, trying to identify which titles belong in which section can be tricky. We feature Kelley Armstrong in fantasy but Kim Harrison in horror (her adult books anyway). We often keep an author’s work together. So Stephen King’s Eyes of the Dragon is a fantasy, but it’s shelved in horror. Dan Simmons’ Hyperion and Ilium novels stay in Science Fiction, but the Terror and Song of Kali live in Horror.
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Has the Twilight effect made science fiction and fantasy more ‘acceptable’ to you? Do you think having characters that are more believable make any difference in its acceptance?
I don’t understand the blur of where certain book should be placed in a bookstore. Placing horror, fantasy and science fiction in one section of its own seems like an idea that would work. It could be named ‘FanSciHorror’. Heck, if they can lump celebrity names together to make them their own entity, why not books? All of the aforementioned are anything but ‘general’. By doing this, it allows fans of say ‘science fiction’ to find works of ‘fantasy’ close by, as they both go hand in hand at times. Horror works like ‘Frankenstein’, definitely fall in the fantasy category, so I don’t understand why bookstores have such a problem with placement.
Last week at the bookstore, I found myself in the science fiction section, and I was looking for a particular book about viruses that infected people, turning them into psychopathic monsters similar to vampires. So this title I sought has horror, fantasy and science fiction all rolled into one. Was this book in the section I was in? No, it was in ‘General Fiction’. Huh? My mind was boggled. So, maybe bookstore chains should take note of my suggestion (ahem) and make that ‘FanSciHorror’ section and make all of our lives much easier.