From: "Andrew Lias" <anrwlias at hotmail.com> > The recent discussions about gender biases in the science has led me to > wonder about a similar question regarding the readership of science fiction > and fantasy. > > From what surveys I've read, the readership of science fiction is > overwhelmingly male, whereas fantasy works have a much larger female > following. So the question is, why. (snip) > So... why? Why do women, especially young women, tend to avoid science > fiction while embracing fantasy? Speaking as a young woman, I don't avoid science fiction. I do, however, tend to read more fantasy. I think that for me, one of the reasons is the setting. Fantasies are set in medieval-ish times, and when things are bad there, well, mankind got through the Dark Ages and look where we are now! Some science fiction seems to be less hopeful - here we are in the future, and not a lot has changed. I like to think better things are in store for us than some dark dystopic future. This is just my personal opinion, and I know that quite a lot of science fiction is not like that, and that some fantasy is. This also probably has very little to do with being female. Incidentally, I was wondering nearly the same thing a few weeks ago, and asked my little sister. I don't know how young you want to go - she's eleven - but she said she didn't like science fiction because it was all about aliens blowing up the earth and stuff. So I think some of it is popular perception of what science fiction is about, and I don't blame her for wanting to read about magical princesses instead of large explosions. I think the same is true for most young girls, and even as they get older they probably won't develop an interest in things that go boom. I don't know, though, that there is such a large gender bias. My mother reads science fiction almost exclusively, and thinks fantasy is boring. My other sister reads both, thanks largely to me forcing books on her. At school, girls and guys both read mainly fantasy (well, the ones who read.) Make of that what you will. :) -Jessica, now going back to lurkerdom  Though her view on this may have been shaped by our dad dragging us all to see Independence Day when she was five.