After many years of sci-fi authors complaining that ‘Hollywood hates sci-fi’ and ‘sci-fi isn’t taken seriously as a genre,’ we now have scientific evidence to support their claims. The Guardian just published this yesterday, and it’s already got my fellow sci-fi authors hopping:
In a paper published in the journal Scientific Study of Literature, Washington and Lee University professors Chris Gavaler and Dan Johnson set out to measure how identifying a text as science fiction makes readers automatically assume it is less worthwhile, in a literary sense, and thus devote less effort to reading it. They were prompted to do their experiment by a 2013 study which found that literary fiction made readers more empathetic than genre fiction.
Is that too much information? Let’s try this:
“So, no, SF doesn’t really make you stupid. It’s more that if you’re stupid enough to be biased against SF you will read SF stupidly.”
So there you have it. Writing sci-fi is only half the battle. Getting people to read it, to take it seriously and then perhaps to fall in love with it? That’s a tough challenge for any author, much less me. Depressing? I dunno. Maybe. Perhaps I shouldn’t worry about getting people to read Mesh right now, but wait for the HBO show to come out and then let them catch up.
It worked for George R.R. Martin.