There are many debates raging about the number of sub-genres within Science Fiction. Decades ago we had simply hard and soft. Now? There are more than you can shake a stick at, and new ones being coined every day.
But is this good or bad for the market? It seems the fracture taking place was actually started decades ago by marketers in the publishing industry, in an attempt to differentiate new books. Fans have picked up on this and extended the concept way beyond its original intent. I suppose one could say they’re simply handles, from which we can describe and categorize a story.
However, I don’t see any problem here. An author might like being just a plain old Science Fiction writer, assuming this description covers a broader market. But this I feel is superficial and not the smart move. That’s because readers don’t read “any old” science fiction. Making niches seems the best solution for both sides, and simplifies the overall search process.
And if you haven’t noticed, simplifying the search process is becoming more important as we head into the new world of self publishing. We not only will have traditional publishers, but established authors throwing up their entire backlog. Toss in hordes of new writers and the number of books to select from will be more than anyone can imagine.
In the new world of publishing, sub-genre niches could very well be the only way to make sense of things.