The trouble with hard SF…

Traditional publishers don’t like hard SF, says an author with a creative writing MFA:

The MartianWhich raises a question.  As writers decry the decline of hard SF, you’ve got to wonder how many traditional publishers think like her – that The Martian had no market? How many reject hard SF because they think legit science is boring (or dorky) and because hard SF stories often prioritise ideas over emotions?

The Martian  sold 35,000 copies in three months. Ed Yong – possibly the best science writer in the English-speaking world – has 70,000+ Twitter followers. And who could fail to be bored by real-life science, when it covers research topics as yawn-inducing as ground squirrel masturbation, mind-controlling parasitic fungi and rat telepathy

Perhaps the question should be:

“Why are traditional publishers so f****g dense?”

[Hat tip: Mad Genius Club].


  • I think you hit the nail on the head with that final question. I haven’t read The Martian yet (it’s on the list) but my daughter – whose opinion I respect greatly – found it a well-written book with a tense and exciting story. So, assuming it is, it was probably the science that put the publishers off. With my sci-fi *reader* hat on (I also write), I find there is a lot of great stuff going on in self-published sci-fi that isn’t reaching the commercial publishers at all (unless something’s a big success, then they’re all over it).

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