Are some genres "for kids"?

You’re righter than you think. Historians have named a library’s worth of “first” science fiction works. Anybody who wants to make a name in the field can propose another and be equally certain that people will take a good case seriously. That’s because the genre of science fiction didn’t exist before the genre of science fiction was invented.

Am I being circular? No, not really. Verne and Wells and their contemporaries never thought of writing science fiction. They wrote mainstream fiction that explored the technological advances they saw around them every day. They cheated by extrapolating that technology a bit farther than contemporary reality but that wasn’t seen as a distinction from the exaggerations of other forms of adventure fiction.

Gernsback codified scientific romances and gave writers a structure into which they could place works that had few outlets elsewhere. That’s why he’s so critical to the history of the genre, even though the original works he published were vastly inferior to the mainstream stories that preceded them. Without his structure, the genre could not take form and improve.

Moving this from the Whedon thread:

A smidge off-topic, but I don’t think children’s books/movies that are well done can ever be considered off limits to adults. I was a bit too old for The Outsiders and Judy Blume books when they became popular. Last year, I decided it was high time to correct this deficiency, and I read The Outsiders and Are you there God? It’s Me, Margaret . I loved them both.

I’ve heard people use the phrase “Stay gold, Ponyboy,” and I always thought it sounded cheesy. Now? I tear up just a little bit.

Sure, some science fiction and mysteries are formulaic. So are some historical dramas, or whatever it is people mean when they refer to “literature” as a genre. “Serious works” aren’t immune to Sturgeon’s Law. It’s as absurd to criticize science fiction because some of it is formulaic, as it is to criticize books with green bindings because some of them are formulaic.