Monday, October 6, 2014

Science Fiction and Fantasy in Australia

After writing yesterday's post, I consulted Lord Wiki about Australian science fiction shows.

He mentioned the part-American-part Australian Farscape. I added that to my to-watch list.

Then he said that most science fiction and/or fantasy shows in Australia are made for teens and children. This reminded me of an email I received from someone in Australia. He read my novel The Dead Are Online, and was confused about the targeted age group. The book has some sex scenes, which would make it for adults. But then it has supernatural elements. Believing in the supernatural is childish. So who is this book for?

When I read that email I was pretty offended and annoyed. Plus, I thought he was very wrong. A lot of adults enjoy science fiction and fantasy. It's definitely not a kids-only thing.

But for a few moments after reading what Lord Wiki said about Australian science fiction shows, I thought maybe the general Australian mindset matches the one of the guy who read my novel. Maybe it's fine for kids to watch things like H20: Just Add Water, Ocean Girl, and Mirror Mirror.  But it's not seen as something that should appeal to adults. Or if there are some childish adults out there who want to watch fantasy, they have to use the excuse that they think it's important to watch television with one's child. 

That's all wrong, though.

Because I quickly remembered that though there's not a lot of science fiction/fantasy television coming out of Australia, there are a lot of novels. As far as I can see, Australia is not lacking when it comes to science fiction and fantasy writers.  There's Damien Broderick, Isobelle Carmody, Garth Nix, K.E Mills, Jay Caselburg, and several others. 

I'm not sure if the writers I just listed fully prove my point, because I think a couple of them write science fiction and/or fantasy geared towards teens.  That being said—because of Harry Potter, these days, there's much less stigma for adults who choose to read young adult and children's books.  And I do think that there are Aussie authors writing science fiction and fantasy books that can be found in the general-adult section rather than the juvenile section of the bookstore/library.

As for television, even though Australia isn't making a lot of science fiction/fantasy that's not geared towards kids, it doesn't mean Australians aren't watching the stuff. I imagine a lot of them watch imports from the US and UK.

So maybe the only people lacking an interest in science fiction/fantasy are the creators of Australian television.  

The Sydney Morning Herald has an article about Australian television viewing in 2013. They report that the anniversary special of Doctor Who did quite well; and actually a Doctor Who promotional picture is the main photo for the article.

The article also says though that not many Australians watched the five best dramas of the year, which includes The Walking Dead and Games of Thrones.  

I'm not sure how it was decided these were the best shows of the year. The writer's opinion? Maybe it's based on awards? A poll? 

Anyway....the two theories the writer of the article provides is that A) Australians are going through a very nationalistic phase and are trying to stick to watching Aussie-produced programing and B) those so-called best dramas are shows you get with paid-TV and a lot of Australians aren't wanting to pay extra.  

What if there are nationalistic Australians who also happen to be huge science fiction fans?  Huh? What about that? I think someone in Australia should make a Doctor Who spin off that takes place in Australia. That would be very cool. 

I have some questions for anyone reading this who's willing to comment and answer.

1. Do you like science fiction and/or fantasy?

2. Are you and adult or not-an-adult yet?  If you are not an adult yet and like science fiction and/or fantasy, do you imagine you'll continue liking it into adulthood? Or is it something you imagine you'll give up?

3. If you don't like science fiction and/or fantasy, do you see it as an interest that's childish, or just something you're not personally interested in?  

4. If you're an Australian fan of science fiction and/or fantasy, do you wish there were more Australian science fiction and/or fantasy programs on television? Or are you fine watching the imports from the US, Australia, and other places?  

5. What are your favorite TV shows? Do you like anything science fiction and/or fantasy? Do most of your favorite shows come from your own country or elsewhere?