Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Science Fiction VS Fantasy

Why are these two genres lumped together as if they are one?  I like science fiction and I like some fantasy.  When I go to a book store or an online store I usually have in mind what I am in the mood for.  What I hate is looking through all of the fantasy books to find the few science fiction novels.  It seems that with the popularity of the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Chronicles of Narnia movies, fantasy is all that you see in these sections.  A lot of it seems to be assembly line books that are produced on a schedule.  Why can I find every volume of every fantasy series in existence and the book store not carry Neal Stephenson or William Gibson. 

The Library is the same way.  Dewey must be rolling over in his grave about lumping two different subjects together in one section.  I realize that there are a lot of crossover fans, but that could be said about many different genres.  Women who read romance novels tend to also read true crime books.  Why not lump those two together.  Sci fi and fantasy fans tend to like computers so lets just move the computer section over.  Yes, it is silly.  Just as it is silly to put science fiction and fantasy in the same section. 

When I want a sci fi novel I want to go over to the science fiction section and browse through nothing but sci fi.  I hate picking up a book with a nondescript cover and realizing it is fantasy when I want hard sci fi.  The problem isn't so pronounced with fantasy because nine out of ten books in the section will be fantasy. 


WuoWho said...

You'd think with the geek takeover of the entertainment market that shop keepers would get the hint and expand both sections to allow space for more marketable toys. But alas, since we geeks (LOTR RULZ!) tend to appreciate BOTH generes and the potential synergy of introducing consumers to items they otherwise would not seek out doesn't bode well for the achievement of your dream.
As to why there are more fantasy books than scifi ones, I think it relates to market share. Great and mediocre science fiction had a 5 to 1 better chance of obtaining video distribution prior to 2000s LOTR score. now that the PsTB know that fantasy will sell on the screen as well as in paper expect the DVD section to explode and, sadly for book worms, the paperback aisles to shrink- just as long as they can hire enough scale rate actors to don loin cloths and elvish ears.

Nicky Fingaz said...

I'm just so used to those two being grouped together. it's a given. I don't really tend to buy fantasy much and the Robert Jordan schlock I did buy was a waste of $6.95 (or whatever it was).

I think it evolved that way because the pulp magazines of the past would group their stories together back in the day.

Just like the mystery and crime novels get grouped together no matter how varying their styles.

Small bookstores do tend to have lots of the popular, but often crappy authors and very little of the good authors, IMHO.