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Old October 27 2012, 07:06 AM   #61
Ometiklan
Commander
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD
Re: Is SF in a state of exhaustion?

stj, I have to agree with you totally, and thank you. When I go to a book store to browse for new and interesting science fiction, I find it extremely aggravating to have to dig through piles of uninteresting and repetitive fantasy. Not that I am not a fan, sometimes of fantasy - in fact my favorite book of all time is fantasy (and it is actually a trilogy, but I cannot even consider them as separate books). Even trying to narrow down the selection by the title is of little help in the majority of cases ("Blood of My Enemies" which would that be? And man do i get tired of seeing an interesting title only to find a guy wearing chainmail on the cover or a bland ivory tower looking castle that the main character is striding through or gazing at from a distance through fog...). I would be extremely happy to see more places divide the genres, and if you can't figure out what section a particular le guin book goes, I agree, ask someone who has read the darn thing. (I don't know if it helps my case any that sometimes when I am looking for any new techno-thriller or a specific author's kinda-sci-fi book and I don't know whether to look in science fiction or regular fiction, at least i can look in those two or three most likely places, if it isn't on the "new arrivals" shelf instead, and rule that store out. But at least I am not digging through shelf after shelf looking for that one book buried amongst the chaff.)

As to the idea that the genre is exhausted, I would say no, guardedly. I find it hard to find really good sci-fi that falls within the areas I am interested in (space opera, hard sci-fi, anything with time travel, and less of the anything-goes/no rules variety that the article's author laments) but that is the problem with all books in general. Just cause Sturgeon's Law is true now for sci-fi or other genres, doesn't mean it was ever not true. And I think that is where the industry is today and likely will always be - until at least we each get our own personal AI assistants that can read and pick the best stories for us to read (or likely download straight into our brain) helping us to avoid the 90%.
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