I was really glad to see the second topic, though, because I find the constant drum of folks in science fiction complaining about science fiction to be depressing. I just don't agree with them. When I started reading science fiction in the 60s, there were only a couple of magazines that were available at the news stand (and I didn't discover them until I was in junior high at the end of the decade), and the best I could hope for was a new novel every couple of weeks or so. The library's science fiction section was small enough that I read all of the ones they had and kept up with new purchases. I starved for new stories.
The times have changed. I added this comment to the "Not a damn thing is wrong with SF" topic about why I believe science fiction is in good shape:
- There's more new interesting science fiction in both the long and short form than I can possibly read.
- There are plenty of worthwhile markets that I can submit work to.
- The people whose work I respect are able to sell to prestigious venues.
- New talent is developing and appearing.
- There's lively, interesting and informed debate about all topics within science fiction.
- There are numerous sources for review and critical reaction to published science fiction.
- Although overall circulation numbers of the most prominent science fiction magazines are reflecting the general decline in magazine circulation, new magazines (many in e-format) are appearing regularly.
- Book sales and the appearance of new titles continue to do well.
- More publishers handle science fiction than ever.
- Small press publishers are now providing outlets for single author collections and the niche books that used to be shut out.
If these aren't the measures of a healthy field, I'm not sure what other yardsticks to use.