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My confrontation with the mainstream

February 27, 2017

You can check my Goodreads profile. I love science fiction and fantasy. And I know in 2017 and everyone has already observed the dominance of “geek culture”, with the dominance of Disney properties from Marvel and now Star Wars. Hell, Suicide Squad won a goddamn Oscar.

Powell's Best Selling Fiction, 2017-02-26
Powell's Best Selling Fiction, 2017-02-26

But I never felt like SFF was all that mainstream. SyFy might have made (and renewed) a TV series based on The Magicians, but I still feel like the disaffected entitled shit that held onto his love of genre fiction too long when I crawl into bed and hide in speculative fiction (thank you Quentin, for so completely capturing what a shit I was at 14).

Yesterday, I was confronted with the reality of SFF going mainstream at Powell’s City of Books. I was fully unprepared to see the contents of their Best Selling Fiction shelf.

By my count, at least 16 of the top 42 are SFF. The Name of the Wind, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Fifth Season, 2312, and Uprooted are some of the best books I’ve ready in the last four or five years. To think of these books as best sellers when they don’t have a TV show coming out (like American Gods, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Man in the High Castle, and The Magicians) and aren’t assigned in high school classrooms (1984, Slaughterhouse-Five) is just shocking. In my mind, these aren’t best sellers, they’re tiny nods between myself and other quiet bookshoppers that we are kin.

I am not sad though. I am thrilled. I want to live in a world where I can just assume acquaintances are reading The Fifth Season and Uprooted.