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December 12th, 2001, 04:35 PM
i recently read a post on the difference between the fantasy and sci-fi genres, but i have to say that, while i mostly write fantasy, i enjoy writing and reading in all sorts of "genres." I don't like the word, in fact i hate it; i think it pidgoen-hole's both readers and writers into catergories. and i resent even more the downgrading of good novels, that many of my literature professors arrogantly label "genre novels." it just carries a negative connotation.

so, what i'm essentially saying is, why do we need them, other than for easy browsing in bookstores? can't all books just be classified fiction and non-fiction?

[This message has been edited by Asraloth (edited December 12, 2001).]

December 13th, 2001, 04:02 AM
Genres and sub-genres simply help for cataloging purposes, for bookstores to choose their purchases...and so that potential readers can better choose books they'd like to read based on subject matter and style. Lumping everything into the heading "Fiction" would put books like THE CIDER HOUSE RULES alongside THE EYE OF THE WORLD. While these are both works of fiction, they have distinctly different subject matter, and readers who enjoy books like THE CIDER HOUSE RULES may not appreciate THE EYE OF THE WORLD (although everyone should give Jordan a shot!). Genres, in part, exist for the "if you liked this, then you'll like that" factor. It's a gross over-simplification...but there is verascity in the statement.

December 13th, 2001, 07:23 AM
<<although everyone should give Jordan a shot!>>

With a gun! And in the head!


Sorry, matt, couldn't hold meself. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

December 13th, 2001, 07:33 AM
Genres are the publisher's tool for classifying stories so that they can sell them to target audiences. An author doesn't really sit down at his computer and decide to write a hard SF that day, at least, none of the famous people I know. What we write, regardless of how we think of it, is later compartmentalized by the same kinds of people who do that to cars and food.

It's just another example of culture shock and how the world has changed so rapidly in so short a time. There are, of course, many side issues involved and I could go on ad infinitum but your basic premise is answered.

December 13th, 2001, 08:37 AM
Of course, breaking them down to fiction vs. non-fiction would be tough. Lumping Historical Surveys with cookbooks would be confusing, would it not? Or mystery novels with fantasy fiction?

We may not sit down and consciously DECIDE what kind of book we may want to write, but almost anyone who writes KNOWS that their work is fantasy, mystery, romance, drama, etc. it doesn't just "happen."

December 13th, 2001, 10:12 AM
Genre is one of the horns of that devil "marketing".

For me a good book is a good book is a good book. The divisions can obscure what different kinds of writing can teach each other, and what they have in common.

But readers don't have to obey the marketers, right?


December 13th, 2001, 09:26 PM
I agree with Wastra: You usually know what you are writing. Sure it's all marketing stuff, but, when I sit in front of my comp to write about knights and mages (to say it simple), I know I'm writing fantasy.

December 14th, 2001, 05:55 AM
Bardos: Of course, but even SF is fantasy. All fiction is.