Thoughts on Mormons Writing Speculative Fiction
In conjunction with the LDS Storymakers conference going on in Salt Lake City, Howard Tayler wrote an interesting blog post about Mormons writing science fiction and fantasy. His basic point is what he calls “a meme in a monoculture”:
Brigham Young University is the spiritual heart of Utah County, and Utah County is a monoculture. If an idea springs up or is planted at BYU, if it is an attractive idea, one which resonates with the culture (or at least which isn’t anathema) that idea is likely to spread like wildfire.
I think wildfire is the wrong comparison, because to me that suggests something that starts off small and rapidly grows. I’m going to go with a fruit tree metaphor instead, and show off my rather limited and probably inaccurate knowledge of fruit trees: a fruit tree starts off small, and takes quite some time to grow, during which it produces small amounts of fruit, and then it when it reaches maturity it starts producing a lot of fruit. (Surely there must be some sort of fruit tree like that.)
Here’s a chart I made from the data at Marny Parkin’s excellent site MormonSF.org. I counted the number of novels per year with “New York” in the publishing information. (That ends up excluding some nationally published novels from publishers elsewhere, but it gives a good proxy for national publication. I wasn’t going to do all the counting manually.)