Forty years down the drain

Today is the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. I have a great love for space exploration and for history. It truly was a remarkable achievement.

But it was 40 years ago. Two other big technological feats occurred in 1969: ARPANET, predecessor to the internet, got its first link and the Boeing 747 debuted. Both have had huge effects on American society. Will they be celebrated with as much pomp? No. Why? Because they were not the high water mark of network computing or aviation. The internet and a ton of other planes superceded these earlier iterations, and they don't have much hold on us.

We are about to take our brand new space station and destroy it because we don't know what to do with it and it is pricey. Very shortly we will have no space vehicle to launch people into space. This makes me reluctant to whoop it up over a 40 year old achievement that simply reinforces the embarrassment we have felt ever since. It's just sad.

Science fictional economics

How can SF do well in movies, games and TV while getting crushed in the written arena? This has a lot of SF fans scratching their heads. To some extent, this is talking about similar but different products (movies versus books) that have different audiences.

Guys don't read as much as they used to. From kindergarten to college, a big chunk of the male population just dreads reading for whatever reason. No one quite knows why. SF is a male-heavy literary genre. It thrives in video games, movies and other more visual media.

Romance and fantasy, on the other hand, are the opposite. They are booming and have a heavily female following. Women read. Outside of Titanic, there are few mega-blockbuster romance movies.

So what is SF to do? Will it finally break out of its moat of maleness and embrace female readers?

Should it pull in more romance, more heartbreaking vampires, less explosions and Chuck Norris type characters?

Will it try to attract male readers back with ever more male-focused material like battles, alien worlds, hard science, etc.? Or maybe it will shift to the graphic novel arena; less words, more visuals.

Will it sink for decades, like comics did? Is this the end of the silver age then, and are we waiting for the SF Watchmen and Sandman or the 1989 Batman to blow off the cobwebs? Look at what JJ Abrams did with Star Trek: rebooted it in a way that made it better than the original while making it seem more real than the original.

Maybe SF has found its natural home in the blockbuster movie world, and its run in the literary realm is ending. Hell of a time to write a sci-fi novel, huh? And not even have it close to ready for submitting to agents. Argh.