Oh the Mundanity!

2016 Genre Sales

Author JD Cowan sifts through the wreckage of the Mundane Sci Fi Movement so we don't have to.
Take, for instance, one of the offspring of his ideas. As of 2019, the Mundane Science Fiction movement is 15 years old. Never heard of it? Then you understand how much of a success it was.
For those that don't know, mundane science fiction was a movement spearheaded by the Clarion Writer's Workshop to tell writers what their imagination needs to be focused on in order to shape the future properly. You pay money for this sort of advice. The result has led to an already low selling genre bottoming out and losing to independent Space Opera series in sales. Despite being a 15 year old movement, it has yet to produce a single hit, despite having the entire Oldpub machine behind it. That's the legacy this movement has.
These are pathetic times we live in.
But in order for the usurpers to cling to their cardboard thrones, they needed to make sure that escapism was off the table for up and coming writers. Want to get published by the big boys and have your big books sold in big book stores? Then you better get the hint, and write accordingly. After all, you won't have prisoners attempting escape their cells if they believe there's nowhere to escape to. This is how you get the lowest selling genre.
My comment: "Mundane science fiction" is an oxymoron.


  1. Wikipedia tells me: Mundane science fiction is a subgenre of hard science fiction which is characterized by its setting on Earth or within the Solar System, and a lack of interstellar travel, intergalactic travel or human contact with extraterrestrials.

    Wouldn't that include the hit best seller and the movie The Martian?

    1. I think that definition is a little too broad. It would include a lot of Campbell era stuff that I assume the Mundanes would also find problematic. They seem to want to take the Wonder out of SF, so we can all "grow up".

    2. The Martian is Robinson Crusoe in Space. That's too exciting for the Mundane crowd.

      What they want is litfic with chrome plating.

    3. Exactly. It's a "big men with screwdrivers" story that would have been right at home in Astounding. Grand vistas and humans overcoming a cold and merciless universe are the exact opposite of mundane.

    4. "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" was already done well. Big men with faith and screwdrivers. Ignore the cheesy B-movie set and listen to the monologue and dialogue. Evil space slavers appear, and are thwarted.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. A space pirate AND the Fonz! No chance of "growing up" with that kind of material. The main character comes off as an incredibly well educated 14 year old. :)

  4. So they want scifi that defines itself by not being interesting or imaginative. Instead, it can be about relationships and society. Can I use it? Can I use the line?

    "Women ruin everything!"