Crossing the Chasm, Part 1: Acknowledging the Chasm

Tell me why this equation holds true: Geeks >> Science Fiction Fans

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” you say. “That’s offensive! I’m certainly not a geek, even though I do love my Android phone, spend hours playing Halo and watching SF movies on the home theater PC I built myself, and recently renewed my subscription to Make magazine. And you certainly can’t call me a geek, you parasitic marketing wonk!”

Congrats. You are a geek.

And yes, I can call you a geek, with great affection. Because I’m one too. I love gadgets. I’ve been known to spend time in Second Life. I enjoy SF movies. In my spare time, I design audio devices, and will soon be selling them. I hang out with people who love futuristic tech, develop futuristic tech, market futuristic tech, and are excited about where it’s taking us.

And these are the people who should be natural SF fans. But they aren’t. Or at least not of the text-based variety.

How do I know? Let’s crunch some numbers. I do this every year or so, comparing what I call “popular metafiction” and print science fiction. And every year, the numbers show a gigantic chasm between the popular, forward-looking, geek-centric side of things and, well, the stuff we write.

Check out this comparison between and

No, wait. Look at that again. Tor isn’t the middle line. That’s BoingBoing’s US audience. See the line near the bottom? That’s Tor. 3,000,000 global visitors per month 133,000 global visitors per month posts numbers similar to BoingBoing: 2,100,000 global visitors per month. And the numbers get bigger as we venture out into the pure geekosphere. Gizmodo has a whopping 7,900,000 global visitors per month.

Compare this to Strange Horizons, at about 20,000 visitors per month—and it’s the most-trafficked of all the major text SF outlets beyond, including Analog, Asimovs, F&SF, TTAPress, Clarkesworld, and Futurismic.

So why aren’t any of the text SF venues benefiting from the millions of geeks in the world?

And, more importantly, what can text SF do to cross the chasm — to become at least as popular, say, as a steampunk blog (, at 50,000 per month), or, going wild, to equal the numbers of a magazine aimed at people who like to build their own robots and other microprocessor-controlled gadgets (MakeZine, 1,000,000 visitors per month.)

I’d argue that the first step is simple: acknowledging there is a chasm. And when the biggest text SF outlet runs 20X smaller than the popular metascience outlets, there’s a chasm. A huge one.

And I’d argue that this chasm is one that we should be able to bridge.

Now, what can we do about it? That’s a subject for another post. A series of three of them, in fact. Look forward to them here in the coming weeks.

Note: all data is from, an open platform for visitor metrics. Both BoingBoing and Tor are directly measured, which means their numbers are quite accurate.

April 9th, 2010 / 1,427 Comments »

1,427 Responses to “Crossing the Chasm, Part 1: Acknowledging the Chasm”

  1. Evia Addario Says:

    as I website owner I believe the articles here is really excellent , thankyou for your efforts.

  2. Kathy Greyovich Says:

    Stumbled into this web site accidentally however I’m sure glad I clicked on that link. you definitely answered all the queries I’ve been dying to answer for a few time now. will certainly come for a lot of of this. thanks so much.

  3. mariah milanio Says:

    Great article. It is extremely unfortunate that over the last one decade, the travel industry has already been able to to handle terrorism, SARS, tsunamis, bird flu, swine flu, and the first ever real global downturn. Through it the industry has really proven to be robust, resilient in addition to dynamic, discovering new tips on how to deal with difficulty. There are constantly fresh difficulties and the possiblility to which the business must again adapt and reply.

  4. Sandi Monaham Says:

    I additionally got a new weblog such as this, however my articles are not too great as your own. continue the great function as well as ideally we will get to see more content articles like this. Thanks.

  5. refill Says:

    Congratulations on having One of the most sophisticated blogs Ive come throughout in a few time! Its just incredible how much you can remember from some thing simply because of how visually beautiful it’s. Youve put collectively a good blog space -great graphics, videos, layout. That is undoubtedly a must-see weblog!

  6. supplements Says:

    Good issues?I’d word that as anyone who truly doesn’t write on blogs much (in reality, this may be my first publish), I don’t assume the time period ‘lurker’ is very turning into to a non-posting reader. It’s now not your fault in the least , however in all probability the blogosphere may come up with a greater, non-creepy name for the 90% people that enjoy studying the content .

  7. Donnette Domingez Says:

    of course every nation must respect copyright but there are third world countries that just can’t respect copyright at all;;

  8. Darius Lytell Says:

    currency trading is a bit tricky compared to internet marketing but you could earn a lot from it”

  9. Annamarie Jennette Says:

    Keep the posting up. I never thought i might find a private that had close to identical grasp of worldly knowldege , however, you’re that beacon of hope in humanityI hope you still bring your knowldge and enlightenment to the world and never let your expression be squelched Live robust

  10. Dominick Guzzi Says:

    there are professional career coaches out there that charges a small fee`

  11. Best Baby Carrier Says:

    I enjoy, cause I discovered just what I was having a look for. You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  12. Tish Sooy Says:

    in the next world cup, i would try to be so energetic and i would cheer all day for my favorite team~

  13. breast actives before and after pictures Says:

    Hello There. I found your blog the use of msn. That is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your helpful info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.

  14. langsing Says:

    I have been reading your entries all the way through my morning holiday, and I should admit the whole article has been very enlightening and really well written. I assumed I’d mean you can understand that for some reason why this weblog does not view smartly in Web Explorer 8. I wish Microsoft may prevent changing their software. I’ve a query for you. Would you thoughts replacing blog roll hyperlinks? That would be truly neat!

  15. pmyo Says:

    godd luck men thanks men

  16. best restaurants Says:

    This really is an incredibly amazing powerful resource that you’re offering and you simply provide it away cost-free!! I that can compare with discovering websites that see the particular in offering you fantastic learning resource for zero cost. We truly dearly loved examining these pages. Have fun here!

  17. huggies coupons Says:

    Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog website? The account helped me a applicable deal. I were a little bit familiar of this your broadcast offered vibrant transparent concept

  18. huggies coupons Says:

    Definitely consider that that you said. Your favourite reason appeared to be at the web the simplest thing to be mindful of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed at the same time as other folks consider concerns that they just don’t realize about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and also outlined out the entire thing without having side effect , folks can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  19. kitchen knife sets Says:

    oprah also makes some good book reviews, i always wait for the book reviews of oprah,

  20. Legalsounds Says:

    I wanted to thank you for this great I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the latest stuff you post.

  21. huggies coupons Says:

    Generally I do not learn post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice post.

  22. Says:

    I’ve been wanting to start my own blog for sometime, like you. Do you have any advice on how to get setup (hosting, domains, blogging software etc?)


  23. auteursrecht advocaten Says:

    This article is very nice i like it or this is very informative article or i think readers read this article they take good knowledge

  24. Racquel Brodbeck Says:

    I was studying something else about this on another blog. Interesting. Your perspective on it is novel. Providence protects children and idiots. I know because I have tested it.

  25. Bruce Tenore Says:

    thank you for sharing with us, I conceive this website genuinely stands out : D.

  26. Karissa Mitsch Says:

    I like your writing style truly enjoying this website .

  27. vimax virus on my computer Says:

    What youre saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what youre trying to say. Im sure youll reach so many people with what youve got to say.