My author buddy and Baen superstar Larry Correia pointed me to this:
I’ve spent a few posts on this blog discussing the decline of SF and how this decline is perhaps due to the fact that SF’s political slant — overall — has gradually been taking it away from mainstream American consumers. The article above is the first time I’ve heard anyone argue that the opposite may be happening: that SF is in fact becoming more conservative, not less.
I think Larry pointed it out best when he used the media analogy: in a media arena where 10 news and information outlets are left-leaning (CNN, NPR, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, et al) and only one outlet is acknowledged to be conservative (FOX) the single outlet is liable to have a larger than average marketshare compared to the ten outlets jockeying for the attention of the same slice of the consumer pie. Thus the (few) conservative authors who operate at a visible level — like Tom Kratman — seem to have greater visibility than the dozen or more authors working at Kratman’s same level, but who (because of their ubiquity in the genre) have a tougher time standing out from the crowd.
But perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps there is a swing happening. Both in author slant, and in the types and kinds of people who are buying. If Science Fiction has always functioned as criticism of the status quo, then what can we say about Science Fiction in the era of Obama and enlarged government? Promises of expanded debt and expanded entitlements? If these are the status quo, then SF’s inherent “job” is to criticize, though there are plenty of SF authors who will argue hotly that the Obama years have been a watered-down centre-right ghost of what they expected them to be. Ergo, Barack has “sold out” the progressive dream.
Pournelle correctly notes that many authors who might be labeled ‘conservative’ would never think of themselves as such. Even Orson Scott Card is still a registered Democrat. So it’s not as if conservative authors in SF exist as a coherent block. They do not. Rather, I think there is a rather pronounced “iceberg” of authors who occasionally write or say things that sound or read as ‘conservative’, and that these authors tend to sell to a much larger but quieter audience — the rest of the mass beneath the waterline — which represents a buying public that many authors — and editors, and agents, and fans — who are on the other side of the fence don’t like to recognize.
As Tom Kratman notes, neither side has much dialogue with the other. They’re either ignoring each other, or talking over or talking past one another. It’s not a conversation or exchange of ideas. It’s an exercise in wishing the other side didn’t exist.