Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Breaking the Genre Mould
After reading Dave's post about people not knowing the tropes before they start writing in a genre, it occurred to me that speculative fiction is a rather arcane genre, with many sub-genres.
I was at a convention over the weekend and someone asked me to define fantasy. I said, 'James Bond is a fantasy' and they all fell about laughing. LOL, because it is. In fact, when it was written it was near future SF and now it is retro SF.
So here we have Firefly - which is cowboys in space. And we have Star Wars which is fantasy in space, just swap the swords with the light sabres.
Once it was science fiction, fantasy and horror, and there was a whole sub-genre of romance that dealt with fantasy-romance, futuristic-romance and paranormal-romance. Then paranormal-romance escaped the confines of its sub-genre and became Dark Urban Fantasy (I know DUFs don't offer closure for the romance arc with every book), but they do have lashings more sensuality than the urban fantasies that came before them. And there's steampunk, a whole movement in itself. I must admit I really like the costumes. Simply spiffy. It's a pity we don't dress like that every day.
Now we have genres being twisted and inter-woven so as to challenge definition. Think of Simon Green's Nightside series. (I really enjoy these books). The series is horror and dark urban fantasy but his world also includes science fiction tropes.
Have we reached a point where your average reader isn't too worried about the divide between the genres? I read across a variety of genres. and like to find books that challenge and stretch the genres.
Have you discovered any authors who manage to take a genre and give it a surprising new twist? Does it worry you, if the genres are inter-woven?