Thanks to my G+ stream I read an interesting post on SF Signal earlier this week. In the post Jason Sanford asks about whether a new generation of Science Fiction readers is being cultivated and to some extent what is even viewed as Sci Fi.
It led to some interesting discussions with my two teens about which popular movies/shows they see as Sci Fi and whether they see any books that encourage them to read in the genre. While Star Wars and Firefly were universally accepted as SF, Dr. Who was not. How could it not be, I wailed. Between the Tardis, Sonic Screwdriver and aliens, it has everything covered. It is science, not magic that explains how things happen. But no, it was seen as to light and fun to count as Science Fiction. (Confused Mommy look here.)
I brought up the Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau that we listened to on CD a few years ago. It was plenty depressing in some parts. That was dismissed as merely dystopian. Again, no thought of linking that to the Sci Fi label.
I pressed about all the Asimov, Clark, Pohl, and even Weber that exists on our “adult” bookshelves. Some of them were my fathers books that I read at their age (and then commandeered later on). I was given two disgusted looks.
A few things to note. My kids are happy to read some Spec Fic. Quite a lot of Fantasy has flowed through this house. I know Kid 1 at least can read at a high lever. She recently completed The Fellowship of the Rings for school and is planning on continuing the series on her own. We don’t do a lot of “gaming” so my children don’t have that entry into the “lingo” of Sci Fi.
Kid 2 did add that she does not like kids saving the world without some adult help. It seems to “fake” to her. I must admit to proud Mommy moment to know that adults are not seen as the enemy in her world.
So my admittedly thin research led to several conclusions. First, they don’t want the science too obvious. Second, it needs some lightness, but not complete slapstick. And third it’s okay to have complex stories as long as they’re good.
So now, (according to Kid 2), Mommy has to get on writing some Sci Fi aimed at the “not adult” audience – mid level or young adult not yet determined. Why did I not see this? I want to write more in Sci-Fi but have recently been pushing on a Fantasy piece that I really like, but feeling a bit off with it. As a Mom, I want good stuff that my kids would appreciate.
So I’ll be putting the Fantasy writing away for now, doing some story planning, and raiding my kid’s bookshelves (as well as the library) to get into the modern kids/teens books rhythm.
Suggestions are welcomed and probably needed!