Outreach in Action: Gateway Science Fiction
Having bloviated yesterday that current science fiction offers few “open doors” for non-Science Fiction readers to check out the genre, I want to offer interested parties an opportunity to prove me wrong, or at the very least, prove that I’ve wildly overstated the issue. So, consider this your opportunity to suggest Gateway Science Fiction — Good, recent science fiction for people who don’t read science fiction.
Here are the conditions I’m setting upon recommendations:
1. Assume your audience is a reasonably literate human adult (25+) who is unstupid and technologically competent (i.e., can use a computer, cell phone and iPod), but whose literary SF experience is limited to whatever SF they may have been assigned in high school and college.
2. While I love Young Adult books, focus on SF marketed to adults.
3. No books before 1995.
4. Book has to be primarily SF. A few fantasy elements are fine, but if you’re an SF/F geek, you probably have a good idea where the line is. If not, see here for a decent arbitrary dividing line between SF and fantasy.
5. Recommend a book that you would actually recommend to someone; which is to say, don’t recommend a book just because its geek form factor is low enough that a mundane reader can follow the tech. A book that has a low technological barrier of entry but which has a lousy story is not going to be a good book to recommend to anyone.
6. Refrain from buttering up the host by recommending one of his books. I mean, thanks and all, but no. Also, refrain from recommending your books, even if they’re perfect gateway SF. Let’s share the love here, not bogart the gateway goodness.
There are the ground rules. Now: What have you got?