Because I enjoy arguing about writing rules, ideas that exist between what we generally think about appeal to me. For example: genre hybrids. Instead of just pointing at something and naming it fantasy, you tack on as many genres as possible in order to prove that something can be multiple genres at once and overcomplicate everything. While I understand that we need neat genre labels so that bookstores don’t explode from stress, it’s still fun to trespass along genre lines. Here are some genre hybrids that definitely already exist but still need to be pointed out.
Historical Science Fiction
I suppose historical science fiction would just be steampunk. This genre makes more sense if you think of science fiction as being subtle changes to scientific history, in which case you can write about a few ridiculous inventions in the past, or an alien invasion that has been wiped from the minds of the people of the present. The farther back in time you go, the more ridiculous the whole genre probably is, which sounds like a lot of fun to me. (Picture: Ice age science fiction).
I think there are quite a few books that fall under this. A lot of plotlines include mystery because it’s a good tactic for making writing interesting, but what does it take for something to be a mystery? Does it have to have a detective of some sort to count? Either way, fantasy mystery is a lot of fun because fantasy broadens the possibilities for the mystery. I can think of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series as an example that matches both definitions.
Science Fiction Fantasy
I personally love fantasy and usually dislike science fiction, so I’m not sure how I feel about this genre, but it sounds like a lot of fun. I feel like people tend to keep science and magic separate, which leads to a lot of science versus magic sceneries but having them together sounds like an interesting idea. Perhaps any book written this way would just be shot down as just being fantasy because of the inclusion of magic, but as a relative of mine would say, science fiction is basically never scientifically accurate anyway, so why not add magic to it? They’re always squished together anyway. I would name Star Wars as being in this genre.
I am not well-read when it comes to horror because I scare super easily, so adventure horror might already describe a good portion of the horror genre, but the majority of the horror I’ve heard of takes place in a small area, I suppose to create a claustrophobic feeling because tight spaces are scary. Would widening the world of a horror novel make it more or less scary? There are a lot of fantasy novels where the protagonists get chased around the world by evil forces (or at least I feel like there is), but those don’t qualify as horror, I suppose because the focus is more on heroics and not on being terrified? Horror feels like a subjective category anyway.
I think a lot of these probably already exist because people seem to like thrillers and historical fiction. I’m not especially interested in either of these genres (unless they match with fantasy) so I can’t really say, but depending on the time period, I feel as though the thriller would be considerably slower-paced because of how long it would take to travel anywhere. Unless the book took place in a small town, it would be a pattern of thrills, followed by a break for travel time. Personally, having to wait would decimate my nerves.
Romantic Science Fiction
I think this describes practically any YA dystopian novel. Again, I tend to avoid science fiction, but my general impression is that it’s more about “oh my God aliens!” than romance, but it definitely holds potential. Like with mystery, the question is when a story crosses from being science fiction with romance to romance science fiction. I’m thinking that Shaun David Hutchinson’s A Complicated Love Story Set in Space fits this, but I haven’t had the chance to read it quite yet.
Horror Science Fiction
This is also known as my worst nightmare. We do not speak of this. I took a class on Dystopian fiction once and any story with horror elements was the bane of my existence. (On a side note, is dystopian fiction even always science fiction? I feel like it often is because scientific events seem to lead to the end of the world often in books or play parts in dystopian societies, but I suppose it could be used in other genres as well).
A Book That Occupies Every Genre
I wish I could have something to say here, but I get a headache trying to imagine this. I guess the book would just be really long and a lot would happen.
A Book Without A Genre
I’m sure this is possible, since we don’t seem to have genres for books that are classics (even though most of them definitely have genres), but I feel like you could genre every book if you tried hard enough. I suppose dictionaries are books and don’t have genres (though does nonfiction count?). The Bible might also fit here.
What are your favorite or most despised genre hybrids? Let us know!