1. trailer trash

    trailer trash New Member

    Sep 18, 2006
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    United States

    Genre Fiction

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by trailer trash, Oct 4, 2006.

    Someone recenlty asked me what genre fiction was, and I gave them this link so they would have a future reference. I thought it might be useful here at writingforums.

    Excerpt with links

    As noted, there are many different ways of labeling and defining fiction genres. Following are some of the main genres as they are used in contemporary publishing:


    These stories, appealing mainly to male readers, feature physical action and violence, often around a quest or military-style mission set in exotic or forbidding locales such as jungles, deserts, or mountains. The conflict typically involves commandos, mercenaries, terrorists, smugglers, pirates, and the like. Stories include elements of courage, male bonding, and betrayal, as well as lore on technology, weapons, and other hardware.


    Crime fiction stories, centered on criminal enterprise, are told from the point of view of the perpetrators. They range in tone from lighthearted "caper" stories to darker plots involving organized crime or incarcerated convicts.


    Detective fiction has become almost synonymous with mystery. These stories relate the solving of a crime, usually one or more murders, by a protagonist who may or may not be a professional investigator. This large, popular genre has many subgenres, reflecting differences in tone, character, and setting.


    Erotica—fiction dealing mainly with the sex lives of its characters and featuring graphic descriptions of sex acts—has become a mainstream genre only since the 1990s, when many bookstores began stocking such works on their shelves. Prior to that, pornography was a subculture product, available only in "adult" bookstores.


    Fantasy fiction features stories set in fanciful, invented worlds or in a legendary, mythic past. The stories themselves are often epics or quests, frequently involving magic. The enormous popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels demonstrates the wide appeal of this genre.


    Horror fiction aims to evoke some combination of fear, fascination, and revulsion in its readers. This genre, like others, continues to evolve, recently moving away from stories with a religious or supernatural basis to ones making use of medical or psychological ideas.


    Mystery fiction, technically involving stories in which characters try to discover a vital piece of information which is kept hidden till the climax, is now considered by many people almost a synonym for detective fiction. The standard novel stocked in the mystery section of bookstores is a whodunit.


    Romance is currently the largest and best-selling fiction genre in North America. It has produced a wide array of subgenres, the majority of which feature the mutual attraction and love of a man and a woman as the main plot, and have a happy ending.

    Science fiction

    Science fiction is defined more by setting than by other story elements. With a few exceptions, stories off of Earth or in the future qualify as science fiction. Within these settings, the conventions of almost any other genre may be used. A sub-genre of science fiction is alternate history where, for some specific reason, the history of the novel deviates from the history of our world. Pavane (1968) by Keith Roberts was an influential early alternate history, Harry Turtledove's The Guns of the South a popular example. Of late, alternate history has come in its own as distinct and having an independent existence from science fiction generally.


    A thriller is a story intended to evoke strong feelings of suspense and danger, usually involving a high-stakes hunt, chase, or a race against time. Thrillers often involve espionage, crime, medicine, or technology.


    Western fiction is defined primarily by being set in the American West in the second half of the 19th century, and secondarily by featuring heroes who are rugged, individualistic horsemen (cowboys). Other genres, such as romance, have subgenres that make use of the Western setting.

    Crossover works

    Many works of undisputed literary merit do in fact bear the characteristic traits of one or another genre. The result is that fans of the genre will tend to treat the work as one of their own and as showing the value of that genre; while those who look down on genre writing will tend to deny that the work in question belongs to that genre at all. Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness and Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast are the works of science fiction and fantasy, respectively, most often taken seriously as literature in their own right outside of those genres; correspondingly critics are often hesitant to so classify them. A more extreme example would be Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, widely considered one of the most important novels of the century. It is never called science fiction, despite the fact that a great deal of fictional science is central to its plot. Such marginal works often receive the designation of experimental fiction, magical realism or slipstream.

    Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. Daniel

    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

    May 14, 2006
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    Peoria, Illinois
    Very nice! I love how you included the links for refference. Good stuff.
  3. Spherical Time

    Spherical Time New Member

    Aug 13, 2006
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    Everywhere, Always
    I've always disliked how genre fiction is so deridded inside the litterary establishment.

    There's good fiction, and there's bad fiction, and I think that improving the quality of some genre fiction would increase the quality of all fiction.

    The so-called "Crossover" works are just attempted theft in my opinion. Science Fiction can arguably be more important to society than mainstream fiction is.
  4. bruce

    bruce Active Member

    Sep 9, 2009
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    This thread is useful for beginners.

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