3. What are some common myths people have about fantasy and/or science fiction?
The interesting thing about Delmater's response is that she offers a myth held by genre readers as a myth held by general readers. She says that the reason few people come to science fiction is because they assume it is "very hard to understand—too scientific—or that it is all about robots and ray-guns, and that it is best suited for children or the simple-minded." There are a lot of problems here (other than the odd contradiction).
|According to Terry Jones,|
this is how migraines start.
|Captain Flashypants says, "Gotcha!"|
Third, the idea that people still look at SF as simple-minded is somewhat unfair to how people view SF. Yes, people still consider SF to be a less serious genre, but that's largely because most SF movies are meant as pure entertainment. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that. I may not like those movies, but a hell of a lot of people do; good on them. SF as a literary genre is somewhat more sophisticated, certainly, but it is only more sophisticated in the sense that literature almost always is in relation to its film counterpart. People aren't reading SF because they see it as simple-minded, though. There are certainly individuals who think it is just that, but, again, for the third time, I think the problem is something else entirely.
(To be fair to Dalmater, I think she's right that people view fantasy in a derogatory light, but I also don't think it matters. Fantasy isn't struggling to maintain a readership. People can think ill of it all they like, but it's not going to stop people from writing fantasy or publishers from releasing four-thousand trilogies a year.)
|The thrill of discovery...|
The nude kind...
|This is a good movie.|
I'm not one of those individuals who thinks that SF literature is dying. I don't think it can die. But I do think that it will continue shrinking until it becomes excessively niche if something isn't done soon. SF is in need of a marketing campaign that transcends the publisher package. Publishers aren't going to do that for us. They have no real investment, generally speaking, in maintaining genres. If SF wains, then they'll publish less of it, and it's no sweat off their back. Why? Because publishers will simply move on to the next thing. They respond to market pressures. They do their best to control the market (and let's be fair here, publishers certainly push certain kinds of nonsense on the rest of us that they damn well shouldn't if they expect us to see them as agents of integrity--just look at all the political books released in the last decade). At some point someone is going to have to put up a call to action in the community, and the community will be given a choice (in the words of Robert Zubrin) : "we either muster the courage to go, or we risk the possibility of stagnation."