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“