Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

UFOs and SF

by Rob - September 18th, 2008.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

I got asked today whether a UFO novel might do well with a science-fiction publisher, or if flying saucers were a taboo subject. My response:

It’s not that UFOs are taboo per se, it’s just that (perhaps paradoxically) they’re not considered part of science fiction. Rightly or wrongly, most SF readers and editors have decided that whatever UFOs have been reported have nothing to do with extraterrestrial life.

Science fiction has its own peculiar subset of things it allows and doesn’t allow: it allows such magic as faster-than-light travel and time travel, for instance, but rarely has any truck with UFOs. Because of this, you’d probably have better luck with a mainstream publisher than an SF one.

My correspondent replied that this was odd, and said he was going to try his book at a particular SF publisher. My response, which I think articulates a good general principle about finding a home for one’s book, was:

I honestly think your chances are very poor there. There’s a whole subgenre of aliens-are-here novels, but they are not published by science-fiction houses. Find a publisher who is doing that sort of thing; don’t try to convince one that isn’t that they should be. :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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