Why did British hard sci fi and American military sci fi writers dominate the 2000s?


Active Member
Dec 25, 2019
In the 2000s space sci fi was dominated by British hard sci fi writers like Peter F Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, and Iain M. Banks or gung ho Baen military sci fi.

Of course it is better now with novels like The Expanse and Ancillary Justice but why weren't there more space adventures set in interesting new universes in the 2000s?

Why were American authors not interested in creating "space opera" in the 2000s?

Why weren't sci fi writers or publishers interested in giving mainstream readers accessible action packed character driven space adventures in settings that give readers a sense of wonder and adventure?
I'm not sure I define it as better now, only different now.

In answer as to why, it was what the writers wanted to write, or were being asked to write.

And as for American authors not interested in creating "Space Opera" I'm not sure that's true, but to answer that I would need to know had you read any of C. J. Cherryh's works and do you consider them space opera? I would, but YMMV.

On reflection, I think that 9/11 is probably the answer to your question: though that depends on how old you were when that occurred nearly 19 years ago?
I should've read your blog first, feel free to ignore my post.
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Quite a lot of the military sci-fi seems to be written by retired members of the military (not all but probably most). The old adage "write what you know" springs to mind, and with the scale of the US military in general, there are a lot of ex forces with the first hand experience to write that sort of thing. They do tend to be naval men too, perhaps explaining the space battles.

To contrast that with the UK, we do tend to have an eye for the more subdued or technical aspects of space operas and hard sci-fi. Not sure why that is. It could be that the military sci-fi market is saturated by US writers, or that the US publishers aren't keen on 800 pages of technical descriptions. It could also be our lack of the same military culture.
Banks isn't space opera? The Expanse is better reading than the Culture? Huh?
Not sure what you mean by space science fiction.
However you should have cited more authors to support your supposition.
Here is a small list of some authors publishing in the last 20 years and a number of them fall in space opera.
I threw in some fantasy and such, but still may of these fall in the space fiction category.
I try not to focus too much on who is British, Canadian, Australian, US or otherwise.

Robert J. Sawyer
John Scalzi
Ian McDonald
Charles Stross
S.M. Stirling
Lois McMaster Bujold
Alstair Reynolds
Ian Banks
N.K. Jemsin *
Jack Campbell
Joe Haldeman
Margret Atwood
James S.A. Corey 2011
Ann Leckie 2013
Liu cixin
Ursula k. Le Guin
Jack McDevit
Peter f. Hamilton
Robert charles Wilson
Stephen Baxter
Neal Stephenson
Martha Wells
Elizabeth Moon
David Weber
Cory Doctorow
Neal Asher
Orson Scott Card
Greg Bear
Becky Chambers 2016*
Jo Walton fantasy *
Kim stanley Robinson
David Brin
Michael Flynn
Ken MacLeod
Kage Baker
Peter Watts
Walter Jon Williams
Kevin J. Anderson
John Varley
Hugh Howey
Ann Aguirre
Charlie Jane Anders
Larry Niven

There are far more on my list and on my bookshelves.

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