In response to this, however, I have seen a similar trend: a rise in speculative fiction. For a while SF/F was considered geeky and trashy. Much of it is, unfortunately, but not all of it. And it's become popular again. Even horror is on the rise again. After the 90s when franchises like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween were run into the ground, we've seen a spate of new horror films and reworkings of classics to thrill, shock and horrify bored audiences who've been numbed by years of processed, production-line 'reality'.
Now we have Harry Potter and the tricksy hobbits entertaining huge audiences. The White Witch and Aslan excite us. Audiences are crying out for imagination.
Perhaps this also explains the rise of genres like bizarro, irrealism and avant pulp. People want to throw every semblance of reality to the wind and revel in chaos and pure flights of fancy. On the surface, the realists would argue this is pure escapism. Sure, it is. But so are The X Factor and American Idol. What reality TV doesn't do that spec fic does, is make you think differently. Even if it's only to ponder 'What if . . .', it's better than thinking 'Can I afford to ring that premium rate telephone number again?'
Thinking outside the box is what leads to cures for cancer and HIV. It's what led to the lightbulb, the aeroplane and the special theory of relativity. Not thinking is leading us to accept a police state, whether in the US or the UK. It's time to think again.
So ditch the tabloid with its sensationalist 'real' stories, drop Heat Magazine, switch off Simon Cowell and get imagining again.