The Rise of YA Science Fiction

I was recently in a Zoom meeting with a group of writers. One thing that was mentioned in the meeting was that YA Science Fiction doesn’t sell. I found the statement odd, but I live in a house filled with teenagers, and before quarantine had a constant influx of 13-16 year olds raiding my pantry and gabbing. Nothing is set in stone in their world, or true of this generation as a general rule other than rapid change. They were raised with tech at their little fingers we could only imagine in our childhood.

With the internet in their hands 24/7, comes trends that last days or hours, and by the time it reaches adult ears or experts observing the trend, it’s no longer true. So, I usually ask the kids what they’re into when they come over as informal market research.

One of the things they always talk to me about is what they’re reading. Names of authors that came up within the last year: Jessie Mahalik, Amy Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, Brandon Sanderson (I know. You’re thinking Mistborn or Elantris. Sorry. That’s beloved by us old geeks, not them. Skyward and Steelheart is what they mentioned.), T. A. White, and a few others. Guess what they’re all writing? YA Science Fiction. And there’s so much more coming out.

In conclusion, don’t try to pin down this generation by what adults say they want. Talk to them.

Published by TJ Deschamps

Tammy loves to build worlds with words, exploring themes the effect of diaspora on the generations born elsewhere than their ancestors with the backdrop of tech or magic and dragons (sometimes both). These stories are inspired by her own family's immigrant experience. She's queer and many of her characters fall somewhere on the LGBTQIA spectrum (though that is not the focus of her work). She's married to an engineer who dances. Together they are raising three precocious teens in the Seattle suburbs. Two of her children are neurodiverse. Her experiences have taught her much about the world, its beauties and its injustices. All of this comes through in her fiction with a healthy dose of absurd humor.

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