A blog post at the University of Nebraska Press ponders the reason most science fiction is absorbed through non-book media like movies, games, etc. They refer to The Golden Age of Readers when sf fans turned to books for their science fiction fix.
I’m not sure what the basis is for saying that most sf is experienced through non-book media. Certainly, the large number of genre books published leads me to think that books do OK. I am one of those who prefer book sf over other forms, but many people don’t. As one SF Signal commenter (Dan) noted, even Revolution SF’s list of sf heroines is suspiciously lacking characters from books.
Why would readership be declining, the University of Nebraska Press post asks? There are other issues alluded to in that post that muddy the waters (sf as pop literature, for example) but the reason people might turn to other media, I think, is that there are many more choices vying for our attention these days. There’s less time to devote to books when the Internet, video games and movies offer alternate – and sometimes quicker – choices. In the early days of Asimov, the only place you could experience a worldwide network was in books. Video gaming was unheard of, let alone home video gaming with thousands of software titles. And the creation of the movie blockbuster pushed Hollywood in the direction of special-effects-laden sci-fi. None of this was around in the early days of sf. Today, our time and money is divided amongst more players.
Do you read less these days? Why?