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 Heinlein.

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 yawn?

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 Human (Golden Gryphon Press), Jeff VanderMeer's Veniss Underground (Wildside Press), and Robert Zubrin's The Holy Land (Polaris Books).

Speed-of-C Productions 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, Melissa Scott.

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.