Also, compare the horror's of what todays soldiers are facing against. The Star Wars Novels, Star Trek, 40K, and the like all tell tales of massed struggles - but none of them really have anything about which people can relate to.
If you read some of the War Masterpiece writers of todays world - (Mike Rossiter (Target Basra), Stuart Tootal (Danger Close), Ed Macy (Apache, Hellfire), Damien Lewis (Operation: Cerain Death, Bloody Heroes, Apache Dawn), Andy McNab (Bravo Two Zero, Immediate Action, Seven Troop, Spoken From The Front) are prime examples of what I consider to be award winning bio-novels) - and then you consider the differences between say the Imperial Guard, and Imperial Navy over those in ISAF and other outfits acting in Afghanistan and the Sudan/Somalia, etc, and there's nothing to relate to.
In 40K, there's no such thing as an Insurgency. The Planet is just Nuked, and left lifeless. There's no such thing as a Blue on Blue in 40K - It's just a case of Blue shooting a fuck load of 105 shells from 15km away, and either hit the target, or don't. If there's some friendly in the way of the target, then tough shit.
There's no such thing as Hearts and Minds - the planet is wiped out, and other skilled labourers/servitors from off world are shipped in. There's no worries about an insurgency, or using non combatants as shields - see above.
And in the end, much of Science Fiction is just a darn good scrap. And to be fair, with only extreme rarity, is there a SciFi book which tests my brain to the limit.
Crime Writers like Shaun Hutson or Patricia Cornwell, they keep my mind ticking over, but Graham McNeil, while a good writer, is merely comfortable (in fact, the only twist I've ever been truly "surprised" about was Sasha Kajetan in the Ambassador and Ursun's Teeth).
As for Historical Stories, well, who doesn't like finding out among the past? Compared to the SciFi of the future, despite adhering to many historical either a) accuracies or b) stereotypes, much of the world in which the writers are creating their series try to be unique - in the sense that it has to be different to another, and as such, there's very little "placement" in a story. A journalist once said to me the difference between reading a story and participation is hard to explain - it's like a Post Mortem compared to an Eye Witness Account - maybe more accurate, but less passionate.
And in the end, 40K and Fantasy books in particular are just one great big scrap. Compare this to LotR and the Silmarillion - these are epic fantasies, which while rambling, are in depth, and don't focus on how a Bolter round fires a multi-stage rocket containing of depleted deuterium encased in an an adamantium shell, which detonates in a subsurface explosion which rips the target limb from limb.
But yes, with a modern war going on, a Science Fiction story detailing a war about which few people can relate, or rather want to relate to, and struggle to feel emotional attachment to any of the characters, along with being a relatively easy read, not many literary prizes will be awarded.
But, yeah, compared "Warrior Brood" to Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Life of Pi, or The Taking of Pelham 123, and you're not really left wondering why many would choose to be biased against it.
And yes, Goto, I'm talking about how you're a crap writer, not just someone who tries to write a story and then fit it into a universe about which you have no idea.
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