Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why People Like Science Fiction


Someone once said, "The Devils In The Details," and the older I get the more I have to admit there might be some truth to that. Its not that I like details. In fact I hate details, yet in the same breath I am also driven to find explanations and understand why some people like something and why they don't. Let's take for instance science fiction.

After doing the research, and drawing from a few of my own personal experiences I think there is a wide range of reasons. For instance, I recently I passed some information around at a party about my latest trilogy. One of the women at the party, just looked at me with a flat expression on her face and told me she didn't like science fiction. I guess I wasn't prepared for such a straight answer but I took in a breath and asked her, "Why not?" She merely shrugged and had no answer. Could this be a smack down because I gave her boyfriend (my divorce attorney) a friendly hug a few seconds ago? My mind's eye flickered back in time, but it was too late to test out the theory. Maybe if I had asked her before the hug she loved it. Or maybe she just didn't like science fiction. Too bad I didn't ask her before the hug but the latest research will tell you one in five people do enjoy science fiction.

The steps of science research are: 1. Ask a question. 2. Do background research. 3. Construct a hypothesis. 4. Test the Hypothethis. 5. Analyze the data and communicate your results.

But back to the details and to the party. The good news is I did find a few people at the party who were genuinely interested in my stories, which concluded the research that one in five will. Science fiction readers are also about 60% male and 40% female. They are often young, or older but the in-between ages fade away from the market for a time. According to a blind research project by a writer named Mark Neimann-Ross they also make good money with the average income at about 50,000 to more than 80,000 a year. Another piece of interesting news is - it is thought, but not confirmed that science fiction readers use both sides of the brain, able to combine the analytical and the intuitive visual sides at the same time. Although this is only extrapolation it seems only a percent of the population are able to "think" like an S/SF reader.

Although that might be true, my least favorite research has to do with social stigma. Despite overwhelming evidence that science fiction is a genre of mature ideas and intelligent writing, mainstream society still hold this as "Nerd" cool, or for 12-yr olds with overactive imaginations, and not for women. As usual these perceptions don't seem to come into play as people hold up the movie line for Avatar, The Time Traveler's Wife or Harry Potter. Sigh. I can't fight against perceptions and don't care to. Life is just too short.

As for me, I like science fiction because the here and now is a little bit boring to me. We already have the here and now, and the real world can be a bit disenchanting, predictable and well, boring.  Rational. Systematic. Even cold. Where is the wonder and magic in that? Lets re enchant the world and spark young imaginations. Let's reinstate the unknown into the scientific process. To me it offers a hope, a dream a future that we just haven't seen yet. The devil may be in the details but according to the numbers, 21% of people in the USA do like science fiction which adds up to 64 million people in this country alone.