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[GUEST-POST] Larry Doyle on Genre and Expectations

“How’s the book tour going?” a female Facebook friend facebooked me, “Can I assume that I am not the target market for this book?!”

She assumed this, I assume, based on the title, Go, Mutants!, and the cover, of blue juvenile delinquent with a humongous brain, which gave her the impression that this book was science fiction and therefore not for her, a girl.

This made me sad. Because of course she is the target market for the book; she loved the last one, and so should enjoy this, because, really, I don’t have that much range. But also because she, an intelligent woman, didn’t want to consider reading something outside her self-imposed genre boundaries.

Oh, and girls do read science fiction.

Frankly, when I was writing Go, Mutants!, I was far more concerned about what the science fiction community might think than the general public. Go, Mutants! throws around shopworn scifi tropes rather promiscuously, and for the most part the movies it celebrates (e.g. Teenagers from Outer Space and Cat-Women of the Moon) are not what I imagine most fans would like to have represent their canon. I was afraid that a lot of people who regularly consume speculative and fantasy fiction would dismiss the book as “not really science fiction.” I’ve been delighted so far with the SF reaction, though, even as I find myself explaining to others that, honestly, they might like it.

I suppose this is a familiar situation for many of you.

1 Comment on [GUEST-POST] Larry Doyle on Genre and Expectations

  1. Larry,

    I hear you.  When I’ve done book signings I’ve not only been on the end of the “Oh, I don’t read science fiction” but simply, “I don’t read,” which is somewhat depressing.

    But you are right, women do read science fiction and I’ve been pleasantly surprised (and grateful) by the number of women willing to give my books a try. 

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