I helped to start a Science Fiction Book Club which has been meeting each month for the past 10 years. The club moved with me through three bookstores to finally reside here at the Inkwell. When the SF book club comes up in conversation with random customers at the bookstore, I know I'm going to face incomprehension and be told that this person "doesn't read that stuff." SF is more popular than ever in movies, comics, TV, and yes, even books. It's this popularity that has driven the uninitiated to assume the worst about SF (damn George Lucas.) I used to try to defend/explain the quality that exists in this diverse genre, but now I just change the topic of conversation. I swear I'm not bitter...
A short piece about Race and SF was featured in the Boston Globe recently. Since it is so brief, only the surface is scratched, but at least it gets the conversation started -
"It's an area of fiction that has allowed writers to tackle sensitive issues of race and culture. "It has always been the safe genre to talk about those issues," Harry says, "or it had been for years until there was a lot more tolerance for bringing those things up in the mainstream."
But some in the speculative-fiction community complain that a number of their white contemporaries no longer tackle these subjects." -Boston Globe
The article was noticed by one of our club members, and since then there have been several smart email responses from our group. No doubt this will come up at our next meeting, and I'm looking forward to the discussion.