Why was American space adventure so bland during the 2000s?

CmdrShepN7

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Back during the 2000s most American space adventure novels were bland military gung ho stuff published by Baen.
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The best space adventures during the 2000s were from British Authors. Alastair Reynolds, Iain M. Banks, Neal Asher, Peter F. Hamilton, etc.


But since James S.A. Corey's "The Expanse" series shown up back in 2011 there has been a boom in space adventure by American authors set in new and creative sci fi futures.
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I wish we had this stuff during the late 90s and 2000s.

It would be nice if an American author given the book world their own equivalent of "Mass Effect".

Why didn't American authors dream of space and the future in the 2000s?

Why couldn't they come up with new and exciting visions of the far future?
 

Overread

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Inspiration and publisher bias.

People are often inspired by similar things as generations within areas experience similar or at least related exposure to things. So one aspect is that you had a few keystone popular military sci-fi that then inspired a whole bunch of authors to write about that.

The other angle is that publishers don't just look for quality, they look for profits. One way to find profits is to watch what makes money and then repeat it. So it might be that publishers were specifically selecting that kind of sci-fi above other choices. That the American authors were writing other things, but they weren't getting published or if they were, then not promoted heavily. It's the same reason Hollywood is pumping out dozens of Super Hero films right now; or went through a massive Westerns phase a few decades ago.

One thing that has changed is self publishing is far more viable today than it was in the past, plus the sci-fi market has exploded and grown. These both create new niches and avenues for more variety to get into the market.
 

Swank

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Because American's like Stephenson and Gibson were doing something more experimental and interesting?
 

Parson

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Horses for courses. I loved Weber's stuff, but not much of John Ringo's. I loved the early Peter F. Hamilton. Alistair Reynolds just gets tedious. I don't know that there's anything that can be said of much truth of a whole time range or whole genre.
 

tinkerdan

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One thing that I think might be said is that each decade the amount of Science fiction was increasing from something that back in the 30s thru to the 60s was a genre that had a narrower group of readership. The 70s thru 90s and perhaps the later 60s there was a bit of momentum in readership and I'm sure at one point it might have even been hard to keep up with demand. The 2000's saw a lot of changes from e-books to all sorts of new types of publishing that increased the number of books that sadly were of less quality that started to flood the market and probably confused readers. However, the traditional publishers marched onward in their wise ways to keep their part of the market targeted to what would sell.

I think that now we might be seeing a little bit of payoff in the flood of slush fiction in the sense that some of the ideas coming out of that have proven to be of value to the traditional publishers.

The bottom line though is that the market changes with the readership and what you see showing up on the shelf is usually the work that the market will bear--so to speak.

What can you say, readership can sometimes be fickle and who knows what things will look like in another 5 or 10 years.
 

BAYLOR

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Because more often than not, Bland sells.
 

Vince W

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How many books did Ben Bova publish after 2000? More than a dozen? I think his work alone covers the American contributions.
 

Vertigo

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Back during the 2000s most American space adventure novels were bland military gung ho stuff published by Baen.
Russo_covers.jpg


The best space adventures during the 2000s were from British Authors. Alastair Reynolds, Iain M. Banks, Neal Asher, Peter F. Hamilton, etc.


But since James S.A. Corey's "The Expanse" series shown up back in 2011 there has been a boom in space adventure by American authors set in new and creative sci fi futures.
fDz73WG.jpeg


I wish we had this stuff during the late 90s and 2000s.

It would be nice if an American author given the book world their own equivalent of "Mass Effect".

Why didn't American authors dream of space and the future in the 2000s?

Why couldn't they come up with new and exciting visions of the far future?
Sadly I have tried almost all of the series you have illustrated in that post and, apart from Ann Leckie, I have found them all to be, at least to me tastes, very poor and given up after the first book. The two I haven't tried Chocoverse and The Protectorate have very mixed reviews and the denigrators all comment on aspects that sink them for me.
 

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