Why is Speculative Fiction More Acceptable for TV Than Books?

Aside from being an obnoxiously long title for a blog post, have you noticed this? You’re talking to someone about the latest big science fiction movie. They’re excited for it. So you’re like, oh, hey, a kindred soul, and ask if they’ve read the latest book by big name science fiction author.

And they give you a look and say something about those books being for nerds.

Admittedly, some of this comes down to the fact that more people go to the movies/watch TV than read books in general, but there seems to be this strange double standard where watching science fiction/fantasy shows and movies are acceptable, but reading the same things make you a giant geek.

There will occasionally be break-outs from this, usually after a show or movie comes out and people enjoy it and decide to go back to the source material, ala Game of Thrones or the Hunger Games. But so often, these same people will be quick to tell you that they don’t read “that kind of book.”

So, what’s the big deal? Why are dragons and aliens okay when you can see them, and not when you have to picture them in your own head?

Part of this is experience. If someone is, say, an action fan, when they see a preview for the next action fantasy movie, they can see the action. When they pick up a book, they may not be able to make that transition, to understand that a book may contain the same action. So they read things like thrillers, not understanding that a lot of what they like can be found in speculative fiction too.

Some of it is bias. How many articles of pop culture show the nerd, head deep in some fantasy book, playing D&D with his equally nerdy buddies? It’s an untrue stereotype but, unfortunately, it’s one that’s continuously propagated. No one wants to be equated as a socially-awkward loser. If someone says he’s going to go see the new Star Trek movie and his friend says, “Dude, really?” then he can say, “Did you see that explosion, bro?” and it’s all okay. Harder to demonstrate in printed form.

I find it all rather sad. People are missing out on potential enjoyment because they’re unwilling to give it a chance.

What do you think, Squiders? Further theories on why this is? Or do you disagree with me entirely?

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