We have some interesting subjects to discuss today in the world of sci-fi books. Firts the change between the years and the sci-fi genre, how it’s popularity has decreased, how time has changed the way people view it and how it was back in the 50’s and 60’s.
bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com: As a longtime genre fiction book reviewer and a moderator for BarnesandNoble.com’s Fantasy/Science Fiction and Paranormal fantasy book clubs, I’ve asked myself these questions countless times over the last two or three decades: is science fiction dying? And if so, why? Over the last 30 years, I’ve seen the number of science fiction works released on a yearly basis decrease dramatically while the number of fantasy novels (especially paranormal/urban fantasy) increase exponentially. But even more significant – and disturbing – is what I’ve witnessed over the years moderating BarnesandNoble.com’s book clubs. When I feature a work from a new fantasy author – like Ken Scholes or Patrick Rothfuss or Jeaniene Frost – readers typically show up in droves to talk about the book and discuss the characters, the themes, their favorite sequences, etc. (When Ken’s debut novel Lamentation was featured last March, that thread got more than 300 comments and almost 5,000 visits!) But when I feature a science fiction novel, even if it’s a critically acclaimed masterwork like Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, I’m lucky to get a handful of people to read it and post comments.
So why aren’t people reading science fiction like they used to? Quality or lack thereof is definitely not the issue here – there are exceptional science fiction novels being released every year. It’s something much deeper, something more culturally significant…. I’ve talked with literally hundreds of people about this subject – fellow readers, book reviewers, bookstore managers, editors, publishers, etc. – and the opinions have varied wildly.
When I was younger sci-fi really caught my attention, basically beacause all of the sci-fi books my uncle had 🙂 Genres pass and come back, maybe sci-fi isn’t that lost. What do you think of this? Are a sci-fi genre person? Any favotite sci-fi book?
“Does the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy still answer the ultimate question?”
www.guardian.co.uk: ‘I remember the early 1980s, a Betamax recording of the BBC series that my grandparents had taped,” writes CMK, a blogger, born in 1979. “I would watch it almost every day.” “I sat in the car in the driveway, getting cold, listening to Vogon poetry” – thus Neil Gaiman (b 1960), who before American Gods, before The Sandman, wrote a gushy fan-book called Don’t Panic: The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion (1988). “I was happy; perfectly, unutterably happy.” Among psychologists, no one is sure whether “flashbulb memories” – in which you see everything as it was, but heightened, as if your mind had lit up and snapped it – really happen or if people just think they do. It’s agreed, though, that the phenomenon has to do with shock – a death, a disaster, something that leaves everything catastrophically changed. How curious, then, that this is so often the way fans talk about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Is this only because it’s so funny, or is it because it’s a story that begins with the total destruction of planet Earth?
For readers who need it, here is a brief recap. H2G2 – as Gaiman was the first to call the show – started life as a BBC radio sitcom in 1978; it went out with little publicity, but right away became a hit. The story begins with a man called Arthur Dent, described in the 1979 novelisation as “about 30 . . . tall, dark-haired, and never quite at ease with himself”, who discovers one day that his house, somewhere in the west of England, is about to be demolished in order to make way for a motorway bypass; shortly after, he also discovers that the very world he lives on, “an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet . . . far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy”, is about to be demolished too.
Read more here
What do you think, are there still ultimate questions on your mind? Are you planning on buying the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy?
“Huntington receives sci-fi writer Octavia Butler’s collection”
www.pasadenastarnews.com: Years ago, when Sue Hodson first heard Octavia Butler speak at a Huntington Library women’s history seminar, she had never read anything written by Pasadena’s famed science fiction writer. But she remembers being immediately struck by the “absolute brilliance” of Butler’s mind.
“I ran right up to her and put my business card under her nose,” said Hodson, the Huntington’s curator of literary manuscripts. “She was fairly surprised.”
Hodson later invited Butler – who she describes as “very gracious, very interested, with an intellect that didn’t quit” – to tour the library and take a look behind the scenes.
“We talked about her papers. She didn’t commit, but I knew she was interested,” Hodson recalled. “Later she came down (from her home in Seattle) for a contemporary authors series and I got to perform chauffeur duty. We talked about the papers, and this time she said, `Sue, the Huntington is in my will.”‘
That was really interesting! To have all those notes, pictures and other material that once belong to a writer and now everyone can appreciate is realy amazing. Had you heard of Octavia Butler’s work before?