Monday, May 14, 2012

Economics and the death of science fiction

I want to post here more often. To make this happen, I'm trying to tweak my approach to blogging, posting articles here that I would normally reserve for facebook. Ideally this will create more posts without demanding much more of my time. And they're legitimately interesting articles, so why not?

Anyway, I like Charlie Stross. For someone who writes science fiction, he is unusually good with economics. (His book Accelerando is astounding.) In the last few months, he's written a few provocative blog posts about the economics of the book publishing industry, and the impact on science fiction in particular.

First, a post on Amazon and DRM [Digital Rights Management, an electronic security measure] (and an extension). He explains what a monopsony is!— quite exciting for me.

Then, informed speculation on how changing market structures will transform science fiction:
Authors responding to one another isn't unusual. But in SF/F it's particularly visible. It got started in the pages of the pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s and continues today, both in short fiction (we're unusual insofar as we still have a vibrant short fiction ecosystem) and at novel length. ...

I'm here to talk about something much more concrete: the likelihood that within another decade, two at most, science fiction as a literary genre category may well die. ...

our genre sits uneasily within boundaries delineated by the machinery of sales. And that creaking steam-age machinery is currently in the process of being swapped out for some kind of irridescent, gleaming post-modern intrusion from the planet internet. ...

This is going to drastically affect the quality and content of the internal dialog within our genre

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