a novel engineer (jawastew) wrote in bookish,
a novel engineer
jawastew
bookish

Is SF Dying?

Mark Charan Newton seems to think so!

In his blog article, "Why Science Fiction is Dying & Fantasy Fiction Is The Future" on December 3rd, he explained his stance on the issue with the following four points:

1. More women than men read books. (you'd have to read the explanation of this one to see his point)

2. Culture has caught up with our imagination.

3. Literary fiction is eating up SF.

4. Modern Fantasy readers have grown up on the films of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

Of course, with such a bold stance, the article incensed a lot of people, although to their credit, were quite civil in voicing their disagreement. Many also agreed.

In response, Newton wrote a second article last week expanding on his earlier statement. One quote from reader (and author) Richard Morgan struck me as something to note:

The big zeitgeist shift that’s really coming into play here, as far as I can see, is the infantilisation of consumer society, and the death of challenge. There’s not enough space here to get into the many and massive ways in which modern consumer culture goes about this infantilisation, but suffice it to say that where the SF/F genre is concerned,the message has gone out, loud and clear, that in order to make successful artefacts of mass entertainment, you must not challenge your audience with anything that a 14 year old American mid-western teenager can’t instantly relate to. Exhibit A – the last Star Trek movie: the future and all it has to offer, crushed down in conceptual terms to fit inside the comprehension gap of a teenage boy from Iowa. What are the challenges facing this vast multi-species star-faring culture? Well, bullying from your class-mates, getting caught cheating on tests, sassy girls who won’t give it up, adults who doooooon’t understaaaaaand your teen pain, and big, stroppy guys with tattoos.

What are your thoughts on Newton's argument? Do you agree or disagree? Why? What about Richard Morgan's comment?

ETA: There are so many great comments here I can't keep up! Thank you everyone for contributing. Please keep the discussion going! :)
Tags: discussion
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  • 49 comments

  • Terminus, by Peter Clines

    A sequel to 14, in which the Great Old Ones arrive to eat the world. Kavach Press, 2020, 333 pages Murdoch’s past has finally come…

  • Burr, by Gore Vidal

    Aaron Burr in his own words... kind of. Random House, 1973, 430 pages Here is an extraordinary portrait of one of the most complicated -…

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