I asked my coworkers, a few dozen people, what kind of books they like to read and they almost always say Mystery, Suspense, or Romance. When I ask how often they read Science Fiction or Fantasy, they say they don’t. They never read it.
I am confused. Weren’t they talking about to the Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Divergent? They listened to those books for days. Perhaps they think listening isn’t reading.
I asked my coworkers if they believe listening to a book is the same as reading a book. After a short discussion, they agree it is. If a person listens to a book it is as good as reading it. So why do they tell me they never read Science Fiction or Fantasy?
The Hunger Games mired my coworkers in weeks of listening and discussion yet they say they don’t like SciFi or Fantasy. Some of my coworkers went to the theater three times to see the first Hunger Games movie alone. Jurassic World had them in the theater the first week it came out. Star Wars had them lining up. But they won’t admit they like SciFi.
Ever since the 1930’s the population at large has enjoyed SciFi in books and movies. Brave New World was published in 1931. King Kong was released in the 30s. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea soon followed. And in 1977 Star Wars was out. Many of these popular books and movies have been read and seen by nearly everyone, so in the interest of understanding this disparity in what people say they like to read and what they really I tried to convince them they really do like SciFi.
I brought up how much SciFi and Fantasy they have read. I started with a funny movie I knew they loved, The Avengers. They dismissed my suggestion that it was Science Fiction.
“That is a comic book” they reply with annoyed stares, expressions that suggest I am delusional. Apparently SciFi never resides in the comics. Given they believe that, I supposed they wouldn’t accept Bat Man, Spider Man, or the X-men series as SciFi or Fantasy of any type. Not to worry.
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings I say. It’s not SciFi but Fantasy. You loved those movies.
“That is a classic story that I read to my children so we had to see it.”
That meant my coworkers wouldn’t accept any of the Fantasy from Disney either, including Frozen, Shrek, or the various Snow White remakes like Maleficent. I trotted out The TranSciFiormers. I knew they had liked that movie.
“That is a cartoon not Science Fiction.”
Actually it was a movie too. It is pure Science Fiction I argue.
“It started as a cartoon.”
I am learning that anti-science-fictiononados are tetchy. All right. I don’t want to argue. I have to work with these anti-SciFiers. I suggest The Hunger Games, curious how they could dismiss the series that not only had them listening to books three times through but discussing them for three weeks before and after the movies were released.
They are unwilling to admit they like SciFi regardless. “The Hunger Games are an exception.”
Wow. Guardians of the Galaxy. All of them loved the raccoon and wanted a little tree that danced in a pot.
“That’s a comedy.”
Huh. I guess I should have expected that. The movie was funny. Ender’s Game. The books were classic Science Fiction.
“That was sad.”
That’s it? That’s the only thing to say about Ender’s Game, a movie they discussed for an hour? Would you listen to the book? I ask. The books are better than the movie.
“No. I wouldn’t use my credit on that.” The person with this reply has an Audible account and downloads her books. She listens to them at work. Some, like The Hunger Games, she listens to again and again. But she won’t listen to Ender’s Game in spite of how riveting she found the movie. It was too sad.
You liked Jurassic World. Pure Sci Fi. Why don’t you listen to that book?
“That is dinosaurs for my kids. It’s ok but the movie was enough.”
Star Wars? Didn’t you like that?
“The characters are good. I guess I like it but not well enough to read it.”
Back to the Future.
“I liked that, but it really wasn’t Science Fiction. It took place in present day and the only Science Fiction part of it was the car.”
And time travel, I point out.
“I like the characters,” they say and so dismissed that show, or so they think.
Of course you like the characters. SciFi, Mystery, or Romance, any story, isn’t any good with crappy characters.
From there, somehow, the discussion degrades into the great detective characters they have read.
Harry Dresden comes to mind for me or the Stainless Steel Rat. I don’t mention them. I get it and they do too but they don’t know it.
Science Fiction is action and comedy. It’s for children. It is a cartoon brought to life, dinosaurs returned. It’s suspense and adventure. It’s horror and steam punk, travel in time or travel in space or travel to the center of the earth.
Everyone loves SciFi but they don’t know it because it is all of those things and all of those things are part of their best loved stories. The crossover confuses them. Into that confusion will nudge another great SciFi plot that they will accept without realizing they love the genre as much as I do.
Maybe in the future, when our movies immerse us in other worlds, when we don’t just see movies but feel them and smell them and be them, when we enter books in full sensory emersion and choose which characters we will be, they will see how much they love Sci Fi. They will chose books that allow them to be fairies and dragons. They will want to fly the Millennium Falcon. They will thrill for travel in the stars either on the Enterprise or a Sword of Justice.
Then they will know how much they love Science Fiction. Who wouldn’t visit other worlds and travel space over Earthbound love affairs, Earthbound chases, or plain vanilla human murder? They will choose the stars instead where love knows no limits, chases might crash into a sun, and murder mysteries will not be inscrutable because a door is locked. Aliens are on the prowl.
Everyone loves Science Fiction. I read it and I write it. I am a future being now. They will catch up eventually.