I didn't switch to SF, I continued to read western and crime books, but with these I just read all books from my favorite authors.
Despite not being a voracious Sci-Fi reader (at least not since my childhood), I've always been drawn to Sci-Fi in my writing, not because the plots are all that 'real' or convincing, but because the genre allows you to focus on 'bigger picture' scenarios, where you can target particular segments of society without explicitly pointing the figure at any particular group.
Contrast that with 'real-life dramas' (often fictional) that focus exclusively on people struggling with their various relationships in a given community. While one appeals primarily to men and the other mostly to women, there's more to it than that, as the RLD stories tend to focus exclusively on a specific group of individuals, so you either like those people or you hate them, there's no in-between. With Sci-Fi, you can attack a particular mindset while never once mentioning who you're really lampooning (though it often isn't hard to guess).