Yesterday I learned that my story from the January, 2007 ASIMOV'S, "Safeguard," will be published in the Chinese magazine Science Fiction World, translated by the wonderful Xu Haiyan. This pleases me enormously. China is a huge potential SF market. And I noticed when I was at the Chengdu con that most of that market seems to be young. In the States, "the graying of fandom" is a perpetual topic. The recent Locus poll included the question, "How long have you been reading SF regularly ?" and over half answered "more than 20 years." Fifty-three percent had been reading it more than 30 years. Granted, Locus readers represent hard-core fans rather than a broader spectrum of all SF readers, but these figures still suggest an older group interested in SF than I saw in China. So does a visit to any con suite at any American convention. Whereas in Chengdu, the con and signings were thronged with young people. Even most of the writers, with the exception of Liu Cixin, seemed young.
So why are Chinese youth more interested in SF than American youth? Even the young people I know personally, when they read in the field at all, vastly prefer fantasy to SF. Why?