(Note: The impetus for creating this post hit my while I was reading this over on Lou Anders’ blog, right around the section talking about Michael Chabon and the Oprah Book Club).

As we are all aware, July 21st, 2007 is P-Day (Potter Day) for the book publishing industry. At 12:01 AM, the newest, and last, Harry Potter book will be made available for sale. Undoubtedly there will be many book stores staying open, or opening there doors, to allow fans to purchase the book as soon as humanly possible. Now we, as science fiction fans, could sit back and grumble at how a ‘kids’ book, and fantasy at that!, is getting all the attention while SF gets the short shrift. Or, we can do something positive about it. Just think of all the people who read Harry Potter who haven’t tried anything else fantasy or science fiction related, or maybe they’ve read something in the field but didn’t like it. In either case, Harry Potter has a tremendously huge number of readers who maybe willing to try something different. We, as fans, have a huge opportunity to try to reach out to the Harry Potter readers and introduce them to other worthwhile reads available in Fantasy and Science Fiction. Thus, I bring you:

The Harry Potter Outreach Program!

This program is our attempt to raise the awareness of non-genre readers about the many good books they are missing if they only read Harry Potter and nothing else. It will work like this. On this site, I’d like to see us come up with a list of books that might appeal to Harry Potter readers. There will be six categories: (SF) 12 and Under, (SF)Young Adult, (SF) Adult, (F)12 and Under, (F)Young Adult, and (F) Adult. I ask that you list up to three books in each category. About two weeks or so before the release of the last Potter book, the results will be tabulated and the result will be a PDF file listing the top 3 books in each category suitable for printing on a 4×6″ index card. Something along the lines of: “You like the wonders of Harry Potter, you may like to read some of the following books…” This will be open to discussion as well.

You can then, if you so choose, print these out and take them to your local bookstore to hand out to those people waiting in line. There will also be a link on the card pointing back to this post showing that there are a lot more choices than just the ones presented on the card. I think this is a good time for us in the SF community to actually do something to spread the word about the Science Fiction and Fantasy community. I’ll create a permanent link on the right hand side of the main page pointing back to this post, and I’ll try to have weekly, if not more often, reminders about the program. To kick things off, here are my choices:


12 AND UNDER: Larklight by Philip Reeve, City of Ember by by Jeanne DuPrau

YOUNG ADULT: Mortal Engines, Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson

ADULT: Old Man’s War/Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi


12 AND UNDER: Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer, Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton

YOUNG ADULT: Here There Be Dragons by by James A. Owen

ADULT: A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin

I’m not expecting to change the minds of the adults, but I bet we can reach some of the kids, who, after all, we will need if SF is to gain new readers.

Also, if you do go out, take a camera and send us your pics. We’ll find a place to host them so we can all see the magic in action!

Now, have at it!

Filed under: Books

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