Awhile back, John Scalzi wrote a post about entry level science fiction. Well, it was a long while back (I blog in reverse. Eventually, I'll comment of the first blog post ever, by a Cro-Magnon named Og.)
I just finished rereading Heinlein's "Expanded Universe" and was using wiki to look for another of his books to reread. Probably "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls." I first bought that book as a young teenager. Gwen on the cover, in the geisha getup and the space suit...well, seemed more entertaining than curling up with the Sears catalogue.
Loved the book.
But back to Scalzi. He writes:
You all know I love me that Robert Heinlein as much as anyone, but why does my local bookstore still have more of his books than anyone else's in the genre?
The "Cat Who Walks Through Walls" opens on a spacestation. Hmm. What kind? An O'Neill Cylinder a Stanford Torus or a Bernal Sphere? Who built it and how? How was the environment maintained?
See, this man, sitting in a restaurant has a dinner guest who is rude enough to get himself shot. And then the story begins.
Asimov had a galactic empire, a few positronic brains and "atomics". From there, a universe sprang.
These are worlds in which the science is a small, recognizable part of the fiction. A world where themes and characters dominate, like Heinlein. I'm pretty much in agreement with Scalzi on this point.
There's room for "Entry Level" science fiction.
Of course, you won't catch me reading that crap.