Research just out shows that people believe science fiction comprise a bunch of dumbed down stories, according to The Guardian.
Academics have taken the same narrative and presented it in literary and genre forms to test subjects to see how they respond to the same story in a different context. When people read about airlocks and the other paraphernalia of the futuristic genre, they lowered their expectations of the text.
Now let’s be clear: the reason I ask whether it is a shock in the headline is not because I believe science fiction is a dumb-ass genre. Far from it. I’d say some of the greatest writing – Brave New World, 1984, I, Robot – has resided in this genre. The reason I question the shock is whether we should be surprised about people’s expectations. Given the quantity of pulp science fiction pumped out and the dubious quality of some of the more popular modern fiction, should I be surprised? I think not but that’s not the fault of the genre.