I've always taken a bit of a perverse pride in not liking science fiction. I then would always find myself making exceptions for this -- Star Wars, Total Recall, The Terminator, The Matrix... -- until I reluctantly had to admit I didn't hate the genre all that much. In fact, what I really disliked was simply Star Trek and that whole subculture, which has been mocked to the point that mocking it isn't funny anymore. (Though Galaxy Quest, Trekkies and Shatner's memorable rant on SNL are all still well worth watching.)
Similarly, as a child I never read much fantasy. I still don't much like it - and while I did finally read Lord of the Rings, I'm terribly glad I didn't as a kid - because I loved them so much I would have become the King of the Nerds.
This all occurred to me this morning as I not only heard a 'Best of' Adam Carolla show where they had a battle of the nerds (Patton Oswalt won a Master Lightsaber as the winner), but after I read this by Ursula LeGuin. LeGuin is one of those authors I know of and respect by her reputation, but probably would never read, because again, I don't much like fantasy or science fiction, especially in books. but her point here, in trying to explain why some fantasy and science fiction is so pervasive to children, is probably applicable in a lot of other environments:
It is the strict standard of emotional honesty that counts. This is where Oscar Wilde's fairy tales fail, and sometimes Hans Christian Andersen's. They only pretend to be for children. Disguising adult self-pity in sentimental cruelty is an unfortunately effective ploy. Andersen's tales fascinated and frightened me as a child; I read them only when I already felt morbid. But the Pan chapter of The Wind in the Willows I loved dearly even when I only half understood it, for its emotional exaltation is genuine. And in the last of the Mowgli tales in Kipling's Jungle Book, though the yearning pain of final exile from the kingdom of childhood was hardly comprehen sible to me, I felt it as a truth awaiting me, and wept for it. Children don't mind you talking over their heads - they're used to it, and used to figuring it out. Anything is better than being talked down to.