What's the Matter With Bookstore SF?
If you've been in a bookstore this century, you already know
what you find on the SF shelves. The Napoleonic Wars in space.
Tom Clancy in space. Dragons in space. Alternate history. Big
Name Author's latest book, just like the previous five. The 27th
prequel in the Dune series. Someone else's yet-another-retread
of the Dune series. State-of-the-art physics grafted onto Space
Opera plots that were old when Doc Smith and John Campbell used
them in the 1930s. New cover art for reprints of Asimov, Clarke,
And that doesn't even include all the TV tie-ins, movie novelizations,
and video game series.
What's the matter with bookstore SF? It's predictable.
Safe, comfortable, familiar. More of the same. Science fiction,
the literature of change, has become boring. Here we are
in the 21st Century, and the field that used to inspire a sense
of wonder is dull!
It's not the fault of the bookstores. They have to make money,
so they must sell what's popular. It's not the fault of the publishers
- they're part of big corporations, and in order to meet the
bottom line, they can't afford to take too many chances. Even
if something fresh and different does get published, it's
gone from the shelves in a month, replaced by a title that's
surer to make a profit.
So where do you turn for SF that's new and fresh? SF that
inspires your imagination? SF that makes you think instead of
The real excitement in SF is happening in the Small Press:
independent publishers whose books you won't find in the bookstores.
SF that excites and inpsires. SF that challenges your intellect,
touches your heart, and thrills your imagination.
Small Press SF books like Carol Emshwiller's The
Mount (Small Beer Press),
Nancy Kress's Nothing
Gryphon Press), Jeff VanderMeer's Veniss
Press), and Robert Zubrin's The
Holy Land (Polaris
is a Small Press right in the middle of this movement. Don Sakers's
Scattered Worlds series is garnering critical acclaim and award
nominations. Phil Meade's PsiScouts books are bringing a new
generation of excited readers to SF. And in the near future,
we're bringing back into print titles by one of SF's rising stars,
There's so much more to SF than what you find in the bookstores.
If you're ready to move beyond the bookstore, start exploring
the world of SF Small Press here.