Overlooking and Experts

Do you think

Of course, Korea is not unique in lacking a deep-rooted SF tradition, as well as a functional literary SF scene. Literary critics interested in SF have long noted that outside of Britain and Britain’s onetime colonies, outside of Western Europe and Japan, SF just isn’t that popular, and not many people are writing SF.

and

(…) Western literary experts have only counted 35 sci-fi novels written in the Arab world up until the 21st century.

sound plausible?

Do you think the first quote, cited from Gordsellar is true? He mentioned it with regards to South Korean sf, but… it’s still invalid. Poland, Russia, Czech, Serbia, Croatia aren’t Western Europe but, depending on the country, science fiction books were written even in 18th or 19th century. I don’t know what they mean by “not that popular” and “not many people are writing sf” but definitely sounds not true.

The second quote comes from the article on Arab science fiction. Still not true, because in Egypt alone there was more than 20 books until the millennium.

I’m used to the experts seeing only Western Europe as Europe. Which shows for me they’re hardly experts. I don’t know what causes their blindness in the science fiction case. Surely, even they should have heard about Stanisław Lem or the Strugatsky brothers.

Why they didn’t count enough books in case of Arabic sf? Did they not know it because they couldn’t read Arabic?

Why the bias and overlooking things? Any ideas?

Don’t believe in everything that “experts” say. Be doubtful and check for yourself. If you wonder about science fiction in the world, do use my The World Science Fiction List, and if you do know of some sf works, I didn’t cover, please help me update it.

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3 thoughts on “Overlooking and Experts”

    1. Thanks for the link, I’ll gladly read that. 🙂
      My friend said lately an anecdote relating to Hungarian (?) sf. Everybody thought sf ended there, but what ended was translations/writing in English. Are you sure this is not the case with this kind of claims? Most of Polish sf isn’t translated into English.
      I agree sf is not exactly easy to define. But I would like to ask you some questions. How do you want to compare proportion of books (even if such data would existed)? Last year? Last 10 years? Will you decide if 10% of total readership is enough, or no? Who will decide it? Where will you draw a boundary? One research says 10% of Polish buy speculative fiction books, another says that speculative fiction is the most popular genre with 15% of readers.
      If books with a certain topic have been popping up for 100 or 200 years, it’s long enough to believe the genre is rooted, no? Should then matter how many books were written or how many writers there are?
      Do I need any numbers to know if it’s popular? I grew up (teenager in 90s) reading fantasy/science fiction books, from library. I surely read Dick, Norton, Herbert and others in Polish. I watched Japanese sf anime in TV in Polish on a country-wide channel, before there was a boom for Japanese anime in Poland. This is my reality and nothing an expert from abroad says will change it.
      Even, if we talk just about the post-WW2 literature, Polish, Czech, Russian literature has lots of science-fiction examples. Let’s look at Poland. Is over 30 years for a speculative fiction magazine or almost 30 years of sf/f convention (still going) and sf/f literary award enough for a proof for a community? And let’s remember that Lem’s sf books were published since 50s.
      This year I was reading anthology of Czech & Slovak science fiction stories from 70s and 80s. It was still the time of communists.
      Now, I’d rather say that if experts want to prove their theory they should prove “guilty” (aka statistics proving there is ), not the other way around.

      1. I wasn’t disagreeing with you! I just think it would be interesting to know what the variation between countries is in terms of what genres are most read/written. I’m sure there is some amount of variation. And, yes, I would guess that SF is just as popular in Eastern Europe as in Western Europe and the US, especially given the data you cite about Poland.

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