My assorted coverage of the science fiction scene continues to draw commentary from genre insiders. Hugo nominee John Scalzi notes Lou Anders’s line (“science fiction needs to quit apologizing for not being sugar-coated, consolatory, easily-digestible pap”) and puts a new spin on the theme:
“The question is not why science fiction is so geeky—really, that’s like asking why romance novels are so kissy—but why SF does only a so-so job at best at trying to convince people who have the equivalent of Star Trek communicators and 17 jukeboxes in their pockets via their cell phones and iPods that science fiction can speak to them. Anders is exactly correct that SF has no need to apologize for being what it is, but it wouldn’t hurt for SF from time to time to explain itself a little better to the unintiated, or more accurately, to the people who think they’re the uninitiated, even as they live in a science fictional world.”
Scalzi then points to his “Science Fiction Outreach” post from last December which leads to his “Gateway Science Fiction” list, which, frankly, suggests that the NYTBR missed a hell of an opportunity in not hiring him to write a sci-fi column. (I can get away with saying that because [a] he’s my buddy, so we all know I’m biased, and [b] I seriously doubt he’d give up fiction writing to review SF, even if he could navigate through all the potential conflicts of interest.)
Meanwhile, in the comments section of “nonrealist fiction” blog The Mumpsimus, Night Shade Books publicity director Colleen Lindsay (who was until recently the publicity manager at sci-fi powerhouse Del Rey) lays out the proposition that getting the media to notice SF is easy when you know how: “I’d say that one reason SF/F doesn’t get reviewed more is that most publishers tell their publicity & marketing departments that it isn’t worth as much of their time as another book.” Lindsay, on the other hand, had no qualms about pitching her titles to mainstream publications like NYTBR and Time, and for some writers even non-geeks should be able to recognize (e.g., China Mieville, Richard K. Morgan, etc.) her strategy worked.