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[writing] About them there genres - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2008-02-01 16:45
Subject: [writing] About them there genres
Security: Public
Location:Omaha (for a little while longer)
Mood:amused
Music:hotel noises
Tags:books, publishing, writing
So I was given this list of genres and sub-genres and asked to identify my short fiction corpus according to the parameters of the list. It was sort of whacky. Which led me to wonder what a relatively accurate list of genres and sub-genres in our field would look like. I fully realize this question is akin to sticking my hand in the blender to learn how sausage is made, but nonetheless, it's Friday night in Omaha and I have an hour or two before crashing out in this here hotel room.

So here's a crack. Hideously incomplete no doubt, but I encourage both serious commentary and a whale of a snarkfest. Not to mention suggested improvements.

(Note this post is being edited on a rolling basis in response to comments.)

Gothic Romance
  • Protogenre — Weiland, Manuscript Found in Saragossa

  • Promethean — Frankenstein

  • Tartarean — Dracula


Fantasy
  • Pre-Tolkien — Worm Ouroboros, Well at the World's End

  • Mid-Century — Gormenghast

  • Tolkein — The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings

  • Neo-Tolkein — Sword of Shannara

  • Post-Tolkein — A Game of Thrones

  • High — Tigana

  • Epic or Quest — The Dragonbone Chair

  • Dark — Pillars of the World

  • Romantic — Princess Bride

  • Humorous — Discworld

  • Urban — The Etched City

  • Literary — A Shadow in Summer

  • Contemporary — The Lovely Bones

  • Weird — Conan, Jirel of Joiry

  • Fetish — Slave Girl of Gor

  • Postapocalyptic — Hiero's Journey

  • Fairy Tale — Wizard of Oz, The Last Unicorn

  • Middle American — Something Wicked This Way Comes

  • Anthropomorphic — Watership Down, Redwall

  • Urban Faerie — War for the Oaks, Moonheart

  • Academic — Fool on the Hill, Tam Lin



Science Fiction
  • Early Modern — From the Earth to the Moon

  • Golden Age — The Skylark of Space

  • Silver Age — Foundation

  • New Wave — Lord of Light

  • First Wave Feminism — The Female Man

  • Humanist — The Left Hand of Darkness

  • Literary — Shadow of the Torturer

  • Cyberpunk — Neuromancer

  • Space Opera — The Mote in God's Eye

  • New [British] Space Opera — The Reality Dysfunction

  • New [American] Space Opera — Honor Harrington

  • New Weird — Perdido Street Station

  • Slipstream — The Physiognomy

  • Time Travel — The Time Traveler's Wife

  • Alternate History — The Guns of the South

  • Contemporary —

  • Outsider — Valis

  • Hard — The Star Dragon

  • Soft — The Martian Chronicles

  • Bio — The Helix and the Sword

  • Linguistic — Native Tongue

  • Epic — Dune

  • Transhumanist — Accelerando

  • Postapocalyptic — A Canticle for Leibowitz

  • Utopian — The Dispossessed, 1984

  • Prescriptive Political — Double Star, The Handmaid's TaleMilitaria — A Hymn Before Battle

  • Gedankenexperiment — The Machine Stops
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User: leatherzebra
Date: 2008-02-02 04:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
For Dark Fantasy allow me to suggest Pillars of the World (and the rest of the trilogy) by Anne Bishop. Think the Middle Ages witch hunts, only where witches are the mortal descendants of the fae. Torture, rape, tyranny, hate, death and mutilation are all present and a very important part of the story.

For Romantic Fantasy why not The Princess Bride by William Goldman? If you agree with my husband and want to call it action-fantasy instead then I suggest Beauty by Robin McKinley, which is a lush, romantic retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Soft Science Fiction? JD Robb's In Death series. The emphasis is heavily on the mystery and the romance, but the setting is in a future world, which adds complications but doesn't dominate it. I've only managed to read one and there were neat weapons, robotic pets, and very interesting black market (where things like meat are rare), etc.
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