{DISCUSSION} Scifi for Young Readers

Is science fiction uninteresting for young readers?

As a writer of young adult science fiction who is actively looking to get published, I am relatively up-to-date on the recent publications in this genre. And, I’ve noticed something rather interesting. While there are hundreds of fantasy and contemporary stories being published ALL the time, the number of science fiction novels in the same age group isn’t even remotely comparable. Either I can’t find them, or the publishing industry isn’t really picking science fiction novels to publish. As there are hundreds – maybe thousands – of science fiction authors looking to be published, the only thing I can imagine for this trend is:

Publishers think science fiction isn’t marketable to young adults.

But I find that rather odd because that would mean that the publishers don’t believe young adults want to read scifi.

Uh…. okay. Sure.

Because there aren’t ANY young adults/teens who are fascinated by science and want to see more of it in fiction, who want to broaden their imaginations the way Jurassic Park did. Or enrapture an entire generation the way Star Wars did. No, these may not have been designed for young adults, but they also captured the minds and hearts of people who you wouldn’t typically classify as a science enthusiast. They were widely received with enthusiasm. And don’t tell me this was a ‘one time kind of thing‘ or ‘well, the story was so original and entertaining that it didn’t matter it was scifi‘ because the very fact that it WAS scifi is was captured people!

So why do we not see these anymore?
Why have they been pushed to the sides while the publishing industry is practically force-feeding us the same fantasy story over and over again?

To be honest, I think a lot of it has to do with the way science has been portrayed in other media (aka Hollywood) and the way the government and education treat science: with disdain, disinterest, and a money grabber. (which is hilarious, because none of these arguments should apply to books. But you know, whatever.) I have to wonder if the publishers are being swayed incorrectly because of what is going on in the rest of society. Which is just appalling because science happens around us every day.

Breakthroughs are being made all the time in a VARIETY of different science fields and to presume that people aren’t interested in science is just a joke! My university invited over 100 applicants for graduate school interviews FOR SCIENCE these past few months. That’s 100 applicants they chose out of god knows how many! So don’t sit around and tell me that young adults have no interest in science. That is a pathetic, blind way of looking at the reading audience. (Granted, I don’t agree with book marketers on a LOT of topics, so… perhaps I’m biased. :p )

I will admit that perhaps the vast majority of teenagers (the people that publishers believe they are supposed to market YA for) may not have the capacity or interest in something that’s hard scifi like The Martian. However, there is such a vast number of other types of science fiction: space opera (The Diabolic and Nyxia), dystopians (Hunger Games and The Giver), steampunk even (Alchemists of Loom). These books have been widely accepted and raved about! By teens and adults! So I’m not sure WHERE these marketers are getting their false information, but I (and many authors and readers) would greatly appreciate it if they would pull their heads out of whatever sand dune they’ve shoved it in and pay attention to what readers are ACTUALLY saying that they want.

But what do you think?
Are young adults uninterested in science fiction?
Leave your thoughts below!

And check out my discussion from last week:
Authors Reviewing Books


19 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Scifi for Young Readers”

  1. I’m a YA, and I think there’s a real LACK of hard science fiction that involves a lot of talk about physics. I mean, I get that dystopian is nice, but most of the time when a science-fiction book does get released, it’s dystopian and I’m clinging on to the last hard scifi I’ve read for dear life. And I’m sure there’s a LOT of YA’s out there who also love sci fi like this, so I don’t see why publishers aren’t churning out books like this like they are with fantasy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! Exactly! Dystopians usually don’t even have that much science anyway, but publishers have been incorrectly lumping sci-fi and dystopians now in marketing. Lazy garbage.

      I LOVED the Martian. I would be ecstatic to have that in YA form, but again, the marketers believe that YA is “13-year-old girls” and apparently they don’t believe that women (of any age) can love science and want to read about it. -.- I have actually been trying to query a medium scifi for a while now with no success and I have to wonder of its because they just don’t think it will sell.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s just ridiculous! Lots of girls these days are getting into STEM (myself included) and they should be selling much more sci-fi books so a lot more girls would be interested in science and not just romance & insta-love (as they think we’re SO interested in that).

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Exactly! They are literally conditioning young girls to crave completely unrealistic romance in life because that’s what they see in novels. I would much rather promote science, intelligence, strength, and adventure through science fiction novels (because obviously the fantasy novels are not doing it.) Yet, even the scifi novels I have seen have romance in them. It’s just soooo annoying! I don’t know why YA needs romance for female protagonists. RAWR! (is prepping next week’s discussion on this topic. hahaha!)

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Oohhhh, can’t wait for next week’s discussion then! I find that even huge authors incorporate romance into their strong female characters’ lives, making girls think that THAT is the happy ending, instead of overcoming bigger challenges…

            Liked by 2 people

  2. False info indeed. I review sci fi,. dystopian etc books for the YA crowd for Rosie’s book reviews all the time. My dad introduced me to sci-fi when I was eleven. Still love it. Bah humbug!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bah humbug, indeed, Noelle! I know you definitely support science for YA because you are a scientist yourself and I’m so happy to see another scientist supporting this! 😀

      I am always on the lookout for new YA scifi novels to review because I would LOVE to support more of them and get more people to read them. They are fascinating and offer something so different from all the fantasy out in the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is an interesting thought. As a ya reader and writer interested in writing sci-fi and being a teen myself I think that the fear of publishing a sci-fi is really strange. I’ve always enjoyed a good sci-fi and my favorite book of all time is The Giver which is a dystopian so I really don’t understand why publishers think a sci-fi novel wouldn’t sell?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t know you were a teenager, Tiana! I learned something new today! 😀 And I’m really excited for you to comment on this discussion.

      Ah, but dystopian and scifi are different things, remember. Publishers did publish a ton of dystopian. So much of it infact, that they now lump dystopian and scifi together as a single genre, which is garbage. But I think it’s because they do lump them together that they believe they can’t publish any more scifi because it’s all dystopian – aka they’re all idiots who don’t apparently read anything. :/

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh, i honestly don’t know why they think it’s not for teens. When i was a teen, i looooved sci-fi. Although they were not YA books, i have to mention that. I think i would have liked even the Martian back then…
    If i remember right, most of my friends / classmates were reading other, non sci-fi stuff (if anything), so i was always the odd one out.

    There are so many different styles of sci-fi. Declaring that young readers don’t like it just sounds ignorant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really does sound ignorant, doesn’t it, Norrie? It’s really a shame because offering young readers scifi stories could actually make them more interested in science, especially women who generally end losing their interest in science by college. I think it has a place. And there are DEFINITELY people who will read it. Maybe not as many as fantasy or contemporary, but horror still has a market. So why can’t scifi?

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I think that science fiction these days is treated as the hollywood film for the geeks that like a bit of action and adventure, spaceships blowing up and that kind of thing. This rubs of on publishers who see that no one who is younger wants to read this as it’s more interesting to watch it.
    Perhaps also it could be that the great idea’s of Clarke and Asimov are gone and that young people won’t be into it? I guess it really boils down to their perception of what Sci-Fi is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, definitely. It has a lot to do with the perception of what scifi is and it’s nothing like Asimov anymore. I don’t think many younger readers now would be interested in reading Asmiov as the story-telling style has changed so much since then. However, the new style of story-telling is very interactive, very exciting, and it offers the same amount of action, world-building, and character development as any of the fantasy or contemporary books. And if young readers can understand advanced magical rules, they can totally understand new science, too. They are smart. Don’t tell me science is above them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Science isn’t above them at all. I think the change is that these big minds like Asimov would write down their big ideas in a story and were respected sir it. These days it has changed and it’s not seen in the same light.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Mm. This is definitely likely given the conversation we had with Rowena yesterday because she verified that scifi is looked down upon, but she made it sound like fantasy was too. So why is fantasy still promoted so highly??

          Liked by 1 person

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