Tuesday, 16 October, 2007 11:28 PM
Science Fiction: How The Cult
Became A $200 Million Industry
Who would have thought
that the geek in the corner reading about aliens attacking the world
in 2080 AD could be holding one of the most lucrative pieces of
literature in today’s marketplace? Although many may laugh
at fans of science fiction, little do they know of the power of
science fiction as an industry.
John Ringo, respected science fiction authority and best-selling
author, reveals the hidden facts that describe the popularity of
the industry. “The science fiction genre is such a wildly
popular genre that it generates over 200 MILLION dollars a year
in book sales. It has 11 sub-genres, all generating big numbers
consistently. And guess what? In the past two years of television,
the highest rated debuts were for sci-fi shows. This is just the
tip of the iceberg.”
So the question remains: how has science fiction evolved from the
pinnacle of geekdom to such a booming industry? The answer is simple:
it predicts the future of today’s hot-button issues. Before
society’s view of the future was one of a far off era, but
today it seems within reach. A quick glance back to the sci-fi movies
of the 80’s and 90’s prove that science fiction did
have a pretty realistic grasp on the future (bar the Terminator
This growing appeal stems from the realization that stories about
the future are predicated on today’s knowledge. Think back
to a popular TV show that first hit the airwaves in the late 1950’s,
“The Twilight Zone.” Rod Serling’s ability to
put an eerie twist on seemingly normal events captivated fans. As
Serling described it, “Science Fiction is the improbable made
“Today, science fiction stories featuring the consequences
of humankind’s destruction of the environment or the role
of female military leaders are truly signs of our time. They are
a fictional but realistic extrapolation of issues that impact ours
and future generations,” says Ringo.
A winning example of the science fiction industry’s popularity
is the success of the numerous conventions or ‘cons’.
Here enthusiastic fans travel across the nation, or around the world,
to attend festivals of suspended reality which feature guest appearances
by science fiction authors, actors and characters.
Ringo himself uses these conventions to promote his books, such
as his new release “Sister Time” (published by Baen
Books). Tens of thousands of fans show up to enjoy the festivities.
“Some of the cons have grown to astonishing proportions,”
says Ringo. “Dragon Con in Atlanta boasts about 30,000 fans.
It’s gotten enormous. Then there’s Comic Con in San
Francisco which attracts more than 125,000 fans. Last year, the
Fire Marshall shut down the convention center because there were
too many people!”
With growing popularity and huge monetary returns, science fiction
continually builds its fan base by catering to the desires of it’s
fans. This explosive growth has transformed science fiction from
the butt of Star Trek jokes to a market that boasts some of the
most educated and forward-thinking consumers. And when it comes
to the future, who doesn’t want to hang with the forward-thinking
ABOUT JOHN RINGO
John Ringo had visited 23 countries and attended 14 schools by the
time he graduated high school. This left him with a wonderful appreciation
of the oneness of humanity and a permanent aversion to foreign food.
He studied marine biology but the pay wasn’t so great. So
he turned to database management where the pay was much better.
Ringo later became a professional science fiction writer. He is
author of the New York Times best-selling series “The Posleen
Wars,” comprised of A Hymn Before Battle, Gust Front, When
the Devil Dances, Hell’s Faire, and Cally’s War. He
has also done stints as an op-ed writer for the New York Post and
a guest commentator for Fox News.
With his younger years spent in the 82nd Airborne, cave diving,
rock-climbing, rappelling, hunting, spear-fishing and sailing, Ringo
is now happy to let other people risk their necks. He prefers to
read, and of course, write science fiction and hang out in cigar