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"Is The Golden Age Of YA Science Fiction Already Over?"

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The headline is the headline of an article at io9: here. Basically, the question is, are publishers and agents (still) looking for YA scifi or not? The consensus seems to be yes -- but only if you assume dystopias are just another part of scifi. With those removed, it's not a major genre at the moment. (I blogged about my surprise that some people don't consider dystopias to be part of scifi is over here.)

Thoughts? I see it as a genre that's growing, not shrinking, at the moment, personally, but it's true that you don't much about spaceships and robots (etc) at the moment.
#1 - January 24, 2010, 02:52 PM
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I think I agree that dystopia doesn't have to be considered SF--which is IMO best defined as fiction which uses the appurtances of science to explore themes--but that speculative fiction is maybe a better genre description for it.  Future setting does not automatically equal SF, I think, especially if the dystopia is about a world that has slipped backward technologically speaking.

As to whether agents are looking for SF... (need a little shrugging emoticon!)... I just don't know.  I think fantasy is the stronger market right now, which is true in the adult world as well.

Interesting topic!
#2 - January 24, 2010, 03:27 PM
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Speaking of SciFi in general, there have always been voices heralding its end. But, the genre evolves and lives on. This is true for any genre fiction, and the same can be said for YA SciFi. Think about it. How popular are space operas in adult SciFi, today? Not very popular, but alternative histories *are* very popular. And they are true SciFi because they deal with the larger realm of *all* sciences, and not just space travel. Me not worry.
#3 - January 24, 2010, 04:20 PM

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Eh. I think the problem with bloggers (saying this as somebody who contributes to one) is that they're always looking for something to say, so they make up things to post and get worried about.

The first comment on that post listed some forthcoming and current titles. BBer SA Bodeen's THE GARDENER certainly qualifies, and I think it's just out (or coming soon?). I know of at least two set-in-space MGs or YAs coming soon.

YA sci-fi (as distinct from fantasy or other subcategories as already discussed here) has never been gigantic. But I think the bottom line in discussions like this is: There will ALWAYS be room for a really great book. Period.
#4 - January 24, 2010, 04:33 PM
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Joni said: "The first comment on that post listed some forthcoming and current titles. BBer SA Bodeen's THE GARDENER certainly qualifies, and I think it's just out (or coming soon?). I know of at least two set-in-space MGs or YAs coming soon."
 


Well I hope YA sci-fi isn't over, since The Gardener comes out in June :)   I think there's a lot of things being classified as sci-fi that aren't really, like my first novel. It was dystopian, but personally, I think dystopia is different from sci-fi....
( And can someone please teach me how to quote? I highlight then hit quote, but the whole entry always shows up just in normal type)
#5 - January 24, 2010, 07:40 PM
« Last Edit: January 24, 2010, 07:42 PM by YAmom »

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Personally, I think the Golden Age of YA/MG Science Fiction hasn't happened yet...

Given the popularity of space/alien scifi on tv and movies (Avatar is just one example) I think that there's a great potential for it to break out in fiction. It's just going to take the right book or books to go big and raise the profile.

My impression is that a scifi gets a bad rep because people think it's less accessible than fantasy (and maybe they are right, in some cases). Personally I think its a fantastic genre, and I would LOVE to see more out there. I think spacegoing (nondystopian) scifi in particular is something that we could use, to hopefully fill readers with that sense of wonder about the universe, and excitement in science.

In terms of what is out there or coming in the next year or so in terms of MG/YA involving spaceships and/or aliens, there are also

ACADEMY 7 by Anne Osterlund (YA)
THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY by Adam Rex (MG)
MIKE STELLAR: NERVES OF STEEL by K. A. Holt (MG)
JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW by Nathan Bransford (MG)

So that is more MG than YA, but I bet there is more YA out there too. I'd love to hear about more that folks have heard of that are on the way or out now, too...

Of course, I will freely admit to some bias on this topic, since I have my own tween space adventure coming in 2011 (CIRCUS GALACTICUS)! :-)


#6 - January 25, 2010, 05:33 AM
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I agree that it could still happen in a big way. And given the popularity of Avatar, you may be staring in the face of the next trend. I don't know. I can't believe the number of vamp books in the book stores right now...that stuff has got to wane at some point, and something has to take it's place. It seems primitive Sci-fi would be a hot gamble at the moment if a person could whip one out quick enough, or already had one lying around.
#7 - January 25, 2010, 05:38 AM
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( And can someone please teach me how to quote? I highlight then hit quote, but the whole entry always shows up just in normal type)

YAmom–you hit quote first, and the entire thing shows up in the post window inside quote brackets, and then you can delete the text you don't want to quote (and make sure your response is outside the quote brackets, or your answer will show up in the little purple box).

Hope that helps! (and I have nothing to contribute to the topic at hand, except that I hope it's not true–I have a friend trying to sell a scifi right now, so...*fingers crossed*)
#8 - January 25, 2010, 10:43 AM
I'm looking for a dare-to-be-great situation.

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My agent is pretty keen to see some YA science fiction... Um... not saying that so she suddenly get's a stack of queries, just to let people know that some agents think it can sell! ;)

I had an idea for a book & she was enthusiastic about seeing a proposal.

I agree that most of the stuff out there falls into the dystopian/post-apoc category. I'd love to see more books like Alison Goodman's SINGING THE DOGSTAR BLUES. I adore it!
#9 - January 25, 2010, 12:21 PM

Don't you think that, as long as we have science/technology, it will be the artists' job to help the sciences dream about what could be possible...or to imagine the consequences?
#10 - January 25, 2010, 03:29 PM

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I came back to mention that I noticed what sounds like a new sci-fi YA series referenced in Fuse #8's recent preview of Sourcebooks. The first is called Flight of the Outcast, by Brad Strickland.

And there's Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, which sort of merges fantasy and scifi a bit, but definitely includes spaceships and aliens. The 9th in that series is out this year (Wizard of Mars).

So I do think there's a market out there, and I continue to believe that we actually haven't seen YA/MG scifi at its height yet...
#11 - January 26, 2010, 02:38 AM
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I sure hope so. I have one completed MG that I haven't started sending to editors and a YA that is still in progress.
#12 - February 10, 2010, 12:01 AM

Katrina S. Forest

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My first full request was for a YA sci-fi, so I can say that at least one agent doesn't think it's unmarketable. I didn't go for the distopia or the far future thing, though. My book's setting is pretty close to contemporary - there just happen to be cyborgs and robots in school, and not terribly smart robots at that.
#13 - February 20, 2010, 03:35 AM

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