Who reads science fiction and fantasy, and how do they feel about science? Preliminary findings from an online survey

Menadue, Christopher Benjamin, and Jacups, Susan (2018) Who reads science fiction and fantasy, and how do they feel about science? Preliminary findings from an online survey. SAGE Open, 8 (2).

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This article describes findings from an online survey Science Fiction & Fantasy: Your Experiences, launched in November 2015 and closed 1 year later, which received 909 unique responses. The survey identified characteristics of readers of science fiction, their knowledge and experiences of works, authors, and subgenres. It examined their attitudes to science and science fiction and their judgment of the similarity between real and fictional scientists. Contrary to declining reading habits, the science fiction and fantasy audience read consistently high volumes of books, as well as watching genre TV and film. We discovered that reading science fiction and fantasy may have a role in sustained, and cognitively beneficial, adoption of reading by young people and is complementary to other forms of consumption, rather than competitive. Science fiction was also found to be an important influence on the perception and acceptance of science by the public. Implications of this are that science fiction and fantasy are now a normal part of life for a wide range of people, and science fiction has a positive influence on popular interpretation, acceptance, and support of scientific endeavors. These results support earlier work that suggests science fiction is a valuable research tool for public engagement with science.

Item ID: 54351
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2158-2440
Keywords: science communication, literature, demography, literacy, reading, culture, science fiction, fantasy, descriptive statistics, education
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Copyright Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
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A version of this publication was included in the following PhD thesis: Menadue, Christopher Benjamin James (2019) Science fictions, cultural facts: a digital humanities approach to a popular literature. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2018 07:40
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441007 Sociology and social studies of science and technology @ 50%
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470514 Literary theory @ 20%
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4701 Communication and media studies > 470107 Media studies @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 70%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft) @ 30%
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