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Old 01-15-2013, 01:41 PM   #1
Laer Carroll
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Amazon and B&N teen book categories

I've been puzzling over the categories Amazon and Barnes & Noble use to classify their teen books. For two reasons. One, where do I put my YA book? Two, a more general question, what does it mean for YA writers when we choose what we write about?

Start with B&N categories. There is a huge category of teen fantasy books. There is no category for teen scifi books.

Now Amazon categories. They do divide Teens into Fantasy and Science Fiction. The numbers in each are 12,204 and 3,213. So fantasy outweighs SF by about 4 to 1.

Then if you look onto the SF category a pattern quickly emerges: Almost 90 % is post-apocalyptic. Not what I'd call "real SF" at all. The "future" is more like the past than the present.

So right now I'm kind of confused. Can anyone make sense of all this? Are teens really unable or willing to handle a future where the world has progressed to at least a marginally better place? Or has the universe of online sellers no connection with reality, and it is masochism to try to find any connection?
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:50 PM   #2
Liosse de Velishaf
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Have you considered that maybe it's just that no one has written much YA SF recently? I can't think of many recent titles I've heard of that are space or technology oriented.


I can think of one major space setting, in Beth Revis's Across the Universe, but the focus is more on the socio-political aspects than any science.

I don't agree that 90% is post-apoc. A great deal of it is "dystopian" under the new usage of the word, but post-apoc not so much.

Personally, I think it's a result of a few things:

1. The popularity of Hunger Games and it's derivatives.
2. The thing that differentiates YA from AF is much easier to create in soft SF/"dystopian"/post-apoc than in hard SF. I am a bit surprised that there isn't more space opera, but that probably has to do with the tendency in that genre to feature large casts of characters.

From a more basic standpoint, it's just harder to believably put a teen protag in a position to be important to an SF universe. IN fantasy you have the chosen one and discovering a mysterious origin archetypes to put a teenager in a position of power. But in hard SF and space opera, what's your reasoning for it?
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