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Aurealis #50

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From the Cloud – Michael Pryor

Abode – Patty Jansen

Remembering the Mimi – Jonathan Robb

Interview with Steve Wheeler – Crisetta Macleod

Reviews

Carissa's Weblog – Carissa Thorp

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I'd like to extend a little on my editorial in Aurealis #49, where I looked at Speculative Fiction and young readers. I'd like to explore the young SF reader—and here I mean the vast numbers of teenage readers of Speculative Fiction in all its myriad forms.

Naturally, young SF readers are not a homogeneous group. They are as varied and as idiosyncratic as any lump of humans, but in my experience young SF readers do tend to have certain characteristics:

1.    They are among our best young readers. Young SF readers are often reading way beyond their nominal reading age, and they read avidly. They don't need to be convinced to read—they devour large, complex books, one after the other, and then hunger for more.

2.    They are often interested in writing as well as reading. Many young SF readers spring out of their favourite books and write homage, pastiches or fan fiction. Then they go on to try their own hands at story creation.

3.    They are often quirky, individualistic and independent thinkers—but as to whether this attracts them to SF or whether SF that has made them this way, I'll leave to others.

4.    They love to share. Having the net and social media means that no-one needs to feel isolated in their love for a particular book. Finding like-minded people is easier than ever, and once they're in touch with each other they can gleefully spiral off into rapturous discussions and recommendations.

5.    They are beginning to revel in their geekdom. They understand that they are a power and they're starting to wield their might.

If the current sales figures are reliable, SF (when one includes Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Horror and Fantasy) is currently the largest single area of Young Adult Book sales—and consequently has the largest readership. Therefore, by definition, SF for young adults is the mainstream and all the rest are merely genres.

The good fight has been fought and won.