Editor Diana Gill calls urban fantasy a "gateway drug" to regular fantasy, because it takes place in the world we know, except that it's laced with magic. This started us wondering: What's the equivalent "gateway drug" for science fiction?
Gill, who's executive editor at Harper Collins imprints Morrow/Avon/Eos, writes over at Harper Library:
Urban fantasy (and its cousin paranormal romance) is the easiest gateway to the genre-since it takes place in a world that is very much our own, only with magic. Not coincidentally, it's also the hottest thing going, between the phenomenon that is Stephenie Meyers' Twilight saga to the incredibly popular True Blood tv series. Urban fantasies are an easy way for readers to try the genre, and there are a lot of great ones out there.
With urban fantasy consuming an ever-greater market share, it's hard to argue with Gill's point. But it makes us wonder if science fiction isn't suffering partly because it lacks such an easy, newbie-friendly first hit. Or rather, that stuff exists, but it's not necessarily leading people to science fiction.