Fantasy vs SF Round One

John Jarrold is talking about the number of fantasy novel debuts this year compared to the complete lack of SF debuts.

He points out that fantasy has about 70% of the market compared to SF’s 30%, even though SF is performing stronger than it has done for years.

When I started reading, I picked up SF, fantasy and horror, as the mood took me.  It seems today’s readership is much more tribal.

0 thoughts on “Fantasy vs SF Round One”

  1. Think I mentioned this in one of your forums…personally I find it bit more difficult to get into some SF – maybe I’ve just been unlucky in the books I pick up at the library…some of them just have too much of an indepth discussion using mathematical and complex scientific topics, so you spend the book scratching you head wondering what in the world they are babbling on about.

    I’ve noticed the few times I have never finished some of them, they were usually SF.

    From memory tho, I enjoyed Bradbury’s Farenheit 451, and maybe a few others by him, and also Asimov, but they seem to be legends in this field.

    I enjoy watching SF rather than reading it, but that’s just my opinion.

  2. Sarah, you should try some of the epic space operas out there, they tend to be a bit more accessible than the hard-science speculative stuff. Peter F. Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn trilogy is a good place to start, if you’ve got six months to read it in… :)

  3. If you do read the Nights Dawn Trilogy (and they are great) I strongly recommend you stop 2/3rds of the way through book three and make up your own ending. Seriously, it will be a lot more satisfying. I recently read Dan Simmons’ Hyperion omnibus and that was amazing though- a bit self-consciously literate but a really good read.

    I go through phases of reading science fiction and fantasy- I had a big Ian M Banks phase when I was a student and then got Mythago Wood and rediscovered modern fantasy.

    I think the boundaries are very weak anyways- I mean is Perdido Street Station more fantasy than sci-fi? Is Jeff Noon more sci-fi than fantasy? What about the far future fantasies that people like Michael Moorcock have been writing since the sixties? Even Steven Erikson’s Malazan stories are developing some definite sci-fi overtones. It’s nice to have a simple classification, especially if you are a publisher I suppose, but the borders vanish like shadows the moment one turns a light on them.

  4. Oooh, Breakfast mate, don’t let Jeff Noon hear you calling him a science fiction writer… no, he’s far too good for the likes of you and me, he says he doesn’t want to be lumped in with us lot in the genre ghetto, he’s a *proper* writer, he is… :rolleyes:

  5. I must say I do enjoy Stephen Baxter for SciFi. Very interesting stuff he writes about, doesnt seem too badly steeped in mathmatically formula stuff and scientific ramblings. It does pretty well explaining the complex science things that happen in it. So yeah, check it out!

  6. Good point, Kalasien. Baxter has a great way of making the science in his science ficiton extremely accessible to the layman (like me), and some of his Xeelee sequence stuff is quite astounding.

  7. Maybe I will try those authors / books you have all suggested – thanks…

    I was trying to remember which book it was which totally put me off…I think it was Artifact by Gregory Benford

    “epic space operas” – not a term you hear every day!

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