A third party had made the comment that Science Fiction is “a fringe genre read only be teens and techo-nerds”, which prompted the question “do you think the (SciFi) art form is becoming acceptable to more mainstream book lovers?”, to which Orson Scott Card replied (amongst other replies):
The demographics have been done on who reads science fiction: our readers are smarter than the readers of any other genre (on average). They are also people who embrace the idea of taking themselves out of the present reality, and going through the process that every two year old can do (but then we stop doing it), which is learning the world through finding, discovering, noticing new things and making rules out of them. And our readers do that routinely – that is what they read for – to have that same excitement of being in a new world, that most human beings only get between the ages of birth and three or four. So we are writing something that duplicates the experience of children, but it is the most intellectually productive time in a human life.
I personally prefer the term (or is it a genre) ‘Speculative Fiction’ rather than ‘Science Fiction’. I often feel that making sense of foreign systems, and considering different ways of doing things (both strong components of Spec Fic) have made me more perceptive and creative. However it is a ‘Chicken and Egg’ situation – alternatively I could have already been strong in those skills and appreciated opportunities to exert them. Either way, I can certainly relate to the excitement of such challenges. In fact, with the continual increase in knowledge (and technology) production, and such ready access to it (via the internet etc), I am seeing a form of ‘learning addiction’ arise, for example, in people that are subscribed to 600 blogs, or in my case, a ‘healthy’ number of podcasts.