jimvanpelt (jimvanpelt) wrote,

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Why I'm Not Discouraged About the the State of Science Fiction

Over at the Asimov's discussion group, a topic popped up called "What is wrong with SF." Another followed quickly thereafter called, "Not a damn thing is wrong with SF." The middle ground isn't covered, oddly enough *g*.

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:

  1. There's more new interesting science fiction in both the long and short form than I can possibly read.
  2. There are plenty of worthwhile markets that I can submit work to.
  3. The people whose work I respect are able to sell to prestigious venues.
  4. New talent is developing and appearing.
  5. There's lively, interesting and informed debate about all topics within science fiction.
  6. There are numerous sources for review and critical reaction to published science fiction.
  7. 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.
  8. Book sales and the appearance of new titles continue to do well.
  9. More publishers handle science fiction than ever.
  10. 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.
Tags: science fiction
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