Thoughts on sci fi and fantasy

Does anyone else get the impression that for some reason, science fiction and fantasy novels are seen to be not as worthy as other genres? I remember once, years ago, when I was sending my work out to publishers and agents in the quest to be published, coming across this image when reading through the submission criteria for one company (I can’t remember which one it was, but needless to say I didn’t bother sending anything to them).

I have a special affection for these genres, as my first published novel was sci fi, but I do love to read and write in all different kinds of genres so I don’t really have any other reason for particularly championing these two. It just seems to me that they have a reputation of not being taken seriously, almost always overlooked when it comes to “serious awards” (both in writing and screen adaptations), even though their popularity through sales and audience figures is undeniable.  Take screen adaptations, for example – in recent years we have seen so many high audience figures for things like the Game of Thrones series, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Twilight, Eragon….. Star Wars, Independence Day, The Matrix, Avatar…. I could go on and on. Perhaps these stories are believed to be better visually than as novels, and I suppose in some cases that will be true.

Some of these examples are based on highly successful novels; some are not. Some of these novels are very well written; some are not. But there is no denying the public hunger for tales of the strange and unusual. So if you have ever over looked a book in the library because it featured wizards or aliens, or if you always wanted to write such a story but thought it might just end up sounding a bit silly, I would urge you to just do it. You never know when it could be the next big thing.

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