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Subject: Re: A few questions, because my passing English depends on you! ( 4 of 4 )
Posted by Douglas Adams

#1. What about the science-fiction genre lends itself to comedy, moreso than reality or other types of literature?

I guess it allows you to be about this world, but not limited by it. You can exaggerate hugely for comic effect. The best early example I can think of - the first satirical science fiction, if you like - was Gulliver's Travels.

#2. Do you feel that, despite the phenominal success of your books, that the genre and conventions of science-fiction have limited your prospective audience?

Probably, to a certain extent. It's not so much the genre itself, as the effect of genres on the organisation of bookshops. My books are in the SF section, and people who never look in that section (probably the majority) would therefore never happen upon my books, unless they were specifically going to look for them.

I tell myself that this is why the book which I think is my best - Last Chance to See - never sold that well. It's over in the travel or wildlife sections, and completely orphaned from all my other books.

One of the effects of businesses like is that these barriers don't exist, and I think that's great. The things that (loosely) group books together are, first of all, their author, but more interestingly, the tastes and reactions of readers. Genre and topic are give you other methods of finding books, but you are not remotely limited to that. gives you a much more multi-dimensional search space than a bookshop. People say that the great thing about bookshops is the pleasures of coming across unexpected books beyond what you were looking for. They obviously haven't tried Amazon!
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