Every time I look at the shelves in the Science Fiction / Fantasy section of most bookstores, I see something that bothers me. There’s tons of fantasy books, and few military sci-fi or “rocket ship” books. There’s a new arrival as well, the post-apocalyptic novel, but those act like fantasy as well.
Where are the science fiction books? What happened to them?
There are plenty of media tie-in books like Halo or Star Wars, but there aren’t a lot of new tales. William Gibson tried, but he is almost a contemporary fiction writer now, rather than the father of cyberpunk. Michael Crichton passed away, with no one picking up the slack of his modern and near-future science fiction.
I’d love to see more things like Mad Skills, but there’s nothing that I’ve found that comes close. If there are teams of researchers or investigators in a modern setting, they’re more likely to be in line with Ghost Hunters than Fringe.
My answer, and this is just my answer, is that people have found characters in the media tie-ins or urban fantasies that they really can’t find in science fiction. In an era of Avengers, you’d think we could find a book or two–or maybe a writer or two–who can deliver something with a contemporary flavor that’s distinctly science fiction.
I want someone to come along and hit me with something interesting that can get my attention. To keep my attention, I want some solid characters, which means that tech comes second, something that I don’t think a lot of writers can really do, at least not with sci-fi. So that’s my challenge, I want some sci-fi books that are modern or near-future, but focus on strong characters I can actually feel passionate about.
You can do this, science fiction writers. We can do this.