I've heard that sci-fi is on the wane as a genre. Are there numbers to reassure me that sci-fi isn't going the way of Westerns/Cowboy books?
Locus magazine publishes a lot of statistics on books published in their annual year in review. The Feb. 2010 issue says that for original novels in 2009 there were:
- 232 SF
- 572 Fantasy
- 251 Horror
In 2001 there were:
- 251 SF
- 282 Fantasy
- 151 Horror
Overall for the last decade, SF has stayed fairly flat but is becoming a smaller percentage of the books published across all the related genres.
Gardner Dozois publishes an anthology of short fiction every year:
- The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection
- The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection
- and so on...
In each one, he has an essay summarizing major events in the field: books published, news about magazines or websites, deaths in the field, etc. Without going back and re-reading the essays for recent years, my impression is that books and some websites are doing OK, magazines not so well.