Here be dragons! Or not. -- Science Fiction Update July 2019 | Mechanics' Institute

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Here be dragons! Or not. -- Science Fiction Update July 2019

We need to weed our collection quite aggressively in order to make room for new books. This brings up some questions that only our science fiction and fantasy reading members can answer. We have noticed authors whose books have fallen out of popularity -- earlier titles have lots of circulations (no one tracks the identity of the borrowers, we only know that some person(s) borrowed a given title x number of times) but then interest in those titles drops. We have seen interest in science fiction and fantasy series die off recently. 

For example, we have noticed that any book with the word "Dragon" in the title does not budge. MI members used to check out books of "Tolkienian" fantasy -- elves, dwarves, magic and armoured knights armed with swords, etc. But not for some years. For example, our books by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., who writes in the "sword and sorcery" fantasy genre, used to circulate quite well. Then around 2015 interested dropped off. Did the readers who enjoyed his books leave? We've seen barely a trickle of interest in Modesitt's work. Due to lack of interest in the 4th books of his Corean Chronicles series, Alector's Choice, we never purchased the remaining 4 titles in that series. Does anyone read Modesitt anymore? Does anyone care whether we remove all of his books from our collection? Please let us know (reference@milibrary.org). 

"Space opera" has not fared much better. Writer Alastair Reynolds book Redeption Ark enjoyed quite a lot of popularity, but then our readers dropped that title along with all his others around 2015. His most recent book that we have, Slow Bullets, has had lackluster performance, although the last time someone borrowed it was 2018. Does anyone care whether we remove all of his books from our collection?

What science fiction and/or fantasy books would you like to read? Are there authors you look for? What subgenre would interest you most? For fantasy:

  • Magical realism
  • Alternate history 
  • Epics
  • Ghosts, vampires, demons
  • Sword and sorcery
  • Other? 

 

How about Science Fiction subgenres? 

  • Apocalyptic / post apocalyptic
  • Astronauts/Exploration
  • Dystopia
  • Space Operas
  • Star Wars/Star Trek 
  • Steampunk
  • Time travel
  • Other?

Please let us know  (reference@milibrary.org). 

Posted on Jul. 22, 2019 by Steven Dunlap