There’s a sickness in SF, it’s very nearly terminal, and Doctor Warpig is in the house to diagnose the disease and prescribe a cure.
Some of you may be in denial: “Science Fiction is NOT a ghetto! It’s not struggling. It’s just as popular as anything else!”
Let’s put it to a test. Take these three books:
The Three Musketeers. Alice in Wonderland. Treasure Island.
You’ve probably heard of them. And movies and TV shows based on them. And allusions to them. EVERYBODY has.
Now name some post-Pulp prose SF works of equal or greater stature in popular culture. Spoiler alert: You can’t.
From the Silver Age? Nothing. In the Bronze Age? Nothing. And the Iron Age? Nothing. Then the Clay Age? Nothing. (The Golden Age? Tarzan, Batman, and Conan, for starters.)
Since 1940, the only landmark works Science Fiction has given birth to came out of television and cinema: Star Trek and Star Wars. What’s the closest to massive crossover success written SF has had in that same time period? Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games”. AFTER the movies came out.
Written Science Fiction is a ghetto.
In fact, during this time period movies and TV have always had a bigger impact on written SF than the other way around. (Star Wars Expanded Universe, anyone?) It’s been almost 80 years since prose Science Fiction had an impact.
If you don’t impact the popular culture, you’re in a freaking ghetto. Right now, SCOOBY DOO is bigger than Science Fiction.The whole article is eminently worth reading.
My comment: He's right, you know.
Let's look at one of my favorite graphs, which DW himself cited.
Literary fiction--books about shallow narcissists coming to terms with dying polar bears via hate-sex--is outselling science fiction.
DW is waiting to reveal the cause of this pathology until next time, but the answer is staring us right in the face.
Look at the sci-fi sales numbers for the Big Five New York publishers (purple).
Now look at self-published authors' sci-fi sales (darker blue).
Finally, compare indie sales across genres. Self-pubbed sci-fi sells on a par with mystery and nonfiction, while sci-fi is the Big Five's worst-selling category.
If you haven't put two and two together yet, I'll let Daddy Warpig fill in the blanks for you with his next Castalia House blog post.
And if you're interested in helping to save science fiction, my highly acclaimed Soul Cycle, including Souldancer, the first indie novel to win a Dragon Award, is currently on sale in print.