Today I welcome James Cash as my guest on Write Brain Activity.
A Reader’s Guide to Modern Genres of Fiction
by James Cash
The world of literature is expanding. In the old days, a few umbrellas – Horror, Drama, Comedy, Romance – could cover the whole of literature. Today, a dizzying array of terms are thrown around, and the average reader could be well overcome by sheer numbers. In a world where “Paranormal Teen Romance” is a whole section of your local bookstore, it can be difficult to track down new genres to try out. In this article, you can find a brief explanation of some of the different subgenres available and what sort of stories you’ll find in each. From urban fantasy to steampunk, a little introduction to some of the more recent entrants to the world of fiction.
A Word On Classics
The classic literary genres are the ones most of us are used to, and can be gathered into a basic four that contain most of what the average reader devours – Drama, Romance, Tragedy, Comedy. Within those four, a vast array of subgenres rear their heads. Today, the separation of drama and comedy is not as sharp, so subgenres will regularly cross between them.
Romance novels – even the trashy kind – have a long held place in the reader’s heart. Recently, a new genre has reared its powerful head.
Paranormal Romance: a subgenre that could just as easily show up under fantasy or science fiction, paranormal romance is exactly what it sounds like. At their heart, these are still love stories with all of the juicy details romance readers crave, but instead of focusing on a cowboy and a city girl, one or more of the characters are supernatural creatures, or there are other elements of the paranormal. Books like the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer or the Dark series by Christine Feehan have exposed this genre to mainstream attention. Romance novels have been a part of the history of writing for quite some time now and have made a deep impact on other types of genres today.
In Science Fiction and Fantasy
Science Fiction and Fantasy are often clubbed together, even though they are far from similar. On the other hand,
a dizzying array of subgenres have cropped up that explore one or both in new ways.
Urban Fantasy: exploring fantasy themes used to mean creating a world. Urban Fantasy, as a genre, turns that on its ear by involving fantastical elements – magic, demons, you name it – in an urban setting, often a modern urban setting very like our own. Seminal works like the Harry Potter series or horror-themed works like The Walking Dead have made this genre a national focus.
Steampunk: a word gaining more and more attention, Steampunkfocuses on anachronisms in literature, most commonly set in the Victorian period. Anachronisms include steam-powered devices that approximat
e modern or even futuristic technology while maintaining Victorian dress and custom in many ways. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials explores steampunk themes, as does the graphic novel (and film) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
James Cash is a part time writer with love for everything science fiction.It would be so nice of you to share!