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[writing] About them there genres - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

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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Autopope
User: autopope
Date: 2008-02-02 11:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Broadly good, but picking "The Reality Dysfunction" as representative of the New [British] Space Opera really made me wince; I'd have to point to "Consider Phlebas", "The Player of Games" or "Use of Weapons" by Iain Banks as being much closer to the motherlode, and if you want to drop the [British] you ought to consider "Schismatrix" by Bruce Sterling (from whose cast-offs Al Reynolds mined the first few books of his career).

You might want to add an extra category: "New [American] Space Opera": for which the archetype has to be "On Basilisk Station" by David Weber.

And, optionally, "New [British] Space Opera - Political": either "Chasm City" by Al Reynolds or "Newton's Wake" by Ken MacLeod.
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