Where have all the sci-fi readers gone?

Isaac Asimov's FoundationI grew up reading science fiction.  Andre Norton, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury were some of the closest companions of my young teenage years.  While my literary tastes broadened as I grew older, I still have a soft spot for the genre, and always look forward to reading a good sci-fi novel.  But lately I feel like science fiction readers may be a dwindling group, at least here in Maplewood.

Science Fiction does seem to have a special appeal for youth.  Our teen readers love novels depicting dystopian futures:  Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy,  Ally Condie’s Matched , M.T. Anderson’s Feed, Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies Trilogy, and many more.  But what of adults?  While the library purchases a number of adult science fiction titles every year, they seem to be attracting less and less attention. Kim Stanley Robinson's Blue Mars

So what’s changed?  Is this a genre that no longer interests adults?  Science fiction book sales have been slumping to some degree, and there are various theories as to why.  Is it because the space program never flourished as we hoped back in the mid-20th century, so now all these “space operas” seem irrelevant?  Is it because the present is grim, and our speculative writers can only envision even more depressing futures?  Is it because people who might in the past have been reading sci-fi are now more involved in gaming, or reading only e-books?  Or are you not finding your favorite science fiction books on our shelves?  Tell us what you think!  Comment on my post, email us at library@maplewoodlibrary.org, or give us your sci-fi book suggestions at http://catalog.maplewoodlibrary.org/acquire/  .

Here are some science fiction books recently purchased:

Anne McCaffrey – Dragon’s Time
Charles Stross – Rule 34
 C. J. Cherryh – Betrayer
Robert J. Sawyer – WWW: Wonder
Neal Stephenson – Reamde
China Mieville -Embassytown
Stuart MacBride – Halfhead
Hannu Rajaniemi – The quantum thief
Brian Herbert – Hellhole
Daniel H. Wilson – Robopocalypse
M.J. Locke – Up against it
Gene Wolfe – Home fires
Ben Bova – Leviathans of Jupiter

Posted by Barbara | 23 Jan 2012 | Comments Off on Where have all the sci-fi readers gone?

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