In the online writer's group that I participate in (yes, agents do write too!), we've been having an interesting discussion regarding what it takes to push the boundaries of today's science fiction. While I'm definitely interested in hearing what people think is the "cutting edge" of science fiction today, I'm more interested in hearing why people think it's less popular than fantasy nowadays. We're strictly discussing short stories and books, regarding this topic, since I'm quite aware that science fiction continues to be quite prevalent in movies and video games. As I've mentioned before, there's a definite publishing trend to choose fantasy over science fiction, and obviously the publishers have done their market research regarding what sells. But the question that really needs to be addressed is why they are getting these results.
So, what makes you pick up a fantasy novel over a science fiction one?
What types of science fiction novels would you prefer to see published nowadays?
And finally, do you find it easier to relate to near-future science fiction, i.e. Michael Crichton-esque thrillers, and if so, why? What is it about today's science fiction that's turning you off from buying it in greater quantities?