Better science fiction and fantasy. No, scratch that. Better books in general. There simply aren't enough good authors around.
But science fiction and fantasy are the two genres being hit the hardest. There seems to have been an influx of authors who write science fiction and fantasy because they like the flash rather than the substance. They don't understand that truly great fiction is not about the magic, or the technology, or the creatures you can dream up. It is about the story and its content.
No one cares how epic the robot's design is or how specific you make its blueprints' descriptions. We care about the story itself, and good stories are not made by flash. I hate picking up a novel and finding out that it is the literary equivalent of Transformers 2. What's even worse is when that book has rave reviews plastered all over the inside of the jacket cover.
Because what this says to me is that people enjoy this crap. That depresses me. To know that there are people out there who enjoyed Transformers 2 was bad enough, but to know that there are professional critics, who are employed professionally to separate the good from the bad when it comes to entertainment, who enjoyed it as well is simply soul-crushing.
Unfortunately, the trend towards stories focusing on robots and wizards rather than actual story seems to be continuing. Until a new author comes forth - one with some actual talent - I'll stick with Simmons, Clarke and Heinlein, and, of course, Pratchett.
Him who mountain crush him no
Him who sun him stop him no
Him who hammer him break him no
Him who fire him fear him no
Him who raise him head above him heart
- Translation of troll pictograms
Terry Pratchett, Thud!
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