was doing my last-minute Christmas shopping the other day (which was good since someone in my train club called while I was and said he’d maybe had contact with a Covid case and I had hung out with him Saturday). But I was already mulling over something I’d just seen.
Of course, I’m a Mange/Anime guy. I love the stuff, the raw power and beauty of a well-told story (even though they have a lot of clunkers, too). So I’d wandered over to where the Manga was, the outer three walls of a U-shape of shelves. All three outer faces were rows and rows of Manga (comic) series. Pretty cool.
Then I went inside the U.
So, maybe there is less shelving in Barnes & Noble since the whole social-distancing thing started. Maybe. But suddenly I realized that the inside face of the shelves was all the alternative fiction (half Fantasy, half SciFi).
Really? SciFi and Phantasy get equal shelving with manga?
I guess that’s B&N’s choice, based on sales receipts. It used to be that most wargame stores had many shelves of books. Now, most of them don’t. Most gamers are just gamers, and not wide-minded imaginaries. Most of the games they play are things about people in huge armor, fighting massed battles against demonic armies (which is more the staple of Manga than more high-minded scifi). The market is shifting – young readers are not working into more complex storytellings – they are milling the same StarWars stuff, popular mythologies of dark and light demigods locked in titanic (and pointless) battle. None of them are interested in the reality we stand before, of the distances of space, of the considered thought of reaching other planets in the near-future.
It’s all, frankly, make-believe stuff.
I drove home feeling a sense of loss over this. Society slips away from bold what-ifs to silly make-believes. The market shifts. Those authors researching possible technologies for their worlds are losing market share to the pulp writers who write endless drivel about gonadbots or whatever they are called.
The world changes.
And me? I’m in quarantine.