In lieu of new posts or forum-posters, I'll do my best to find new ideas through continuing discussion.
admin wrote:There is a new comic book by Jeff Smith called RASL that is a good example of how to hook a reader on page one. Notice that there isn't any violence in the comic until amost halfway through the book, but when the violence comes, it has a real impact, because we care about the characters.
This idea in-particular struck me off guard when I read it again today, because I've never honestly read a science fiction story (novel or shorter) which "hooked" me on page one. The same discretionary look applies to comic books, at least in my case. Nothing grabs my attention better than good stories and characters, and I feel the same is likely true for many people who enjoy science fiction, but it takes pages and pages for me to care. I go into a book, comic book, movie, TV episode, et al. knowing that I'm going from beginning to end, no questions asked. Perhaps it's just my personality, but it seems to be directly opposed to your statements of a need for immediate "hook."
Take, for example, the classic "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"--Frankly, the first page (of my printing) is boring. The next ten pages are boring. The story begins at a snail's pace and builds-up to mini-climaxes where the reader is left thinking "Huh. Well, that could never happen in my world. I wonder if the book has more?" and so on, until the book comes to an end, and the reader realises that it was a damned good trip. If one attempted to apply the "page one hook or else death to the book" premise, then A.D.D. would force me into missing all which comes after. In the same vein, comic books are after all stories told with pictures in addition to words, and to say that a change in format automatically validates a reader being unopen to anything different than expectations set by a different world, writer, artist, genre would be a crime against the piece as a whole.--Ultimately, it would make it more marketable
but also less reflective of the author's intent.
I say all these things with the hope that your rebuttal will either confirm or pick-apart the logic--either one to find a better answer--and also that you will respect a different view from your own, regardless of personal preferences or writing style. We're all trying to create something interesting; those who enter into fantastic worlds with expectations may get frightened before they get the chance to see something new.