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September 24th, 2005, 06:13 PM

I have an idea for a story but can't quite figure out what genre it would belong to.

Story idea in brief

Set in not too distant future - say 10 years, so speculative fiction I guess. Protagonist is a narrow-minded man, selfish, small town man who feels inprisoned by the grinds of his material based world. After his girlfriend (who he never really love or cared about) is murdered he accidently becomes involved in sinister plot by a powerful, corrupt politician to cull 99% of the world's population. The protagonist, with the help of characters he meets on the way, thwarts the antagonist's plans and develops into an open-minded, selfless character who feels liberated by his new outlook on life.

I've come to the conclusion that this story fits the genre of speculative techno thriller - but I'm not certain. I want my story to have greater emphasis on how the protagonist develops, as opposed to focusing on intricate plots which thrillers seem to have.

In all the thrillers I've read the protagonist is always great at something - great spy, CIA agent, special forces soldier, scientist, politician etc. In these stories the characters don't change much, but they use their extraordinary strengths and attributes to achieve their goals. The protagonist in my story is a fairly average kind of guy caught up ina world he despises, at the beginning of he story, but I want him to develop into someone completely different, with different attributes and a new outlook on life by the end of the story.

I'd be very interested in reading any similar stories to that I want to write, if anyone has any reccommendations.

As an aside, I'm personally not keen on the idea of genres and terms like techno thrillers. But I'm aware there are audiences who read specific genres of fiction and come to expect certain conventions, rules etc when they read novels from their preferred genre.

Thanks for your help


September 25th, 2005, 06:28 AM
Just write the thing and don't worry about labels. I don't think that marketing considerations ought to interfere with the writing. With the editing, perhaps.

Sounds like you're writing an Apprenticeship Novel (Maugham's Of Human Bondage, Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), with the setting and plot of a techno-thriller.

Or a techno-thriller with the character-development aspects of an Apprenticeship Novel.


But I really wouldn't worry about that until you think you've got something worthy of submitting. :)

September 25th, 2005, 04:41 PM
I think if your looking for ideas, Writing is the best section for this :)

September 25th, 2005, 10:37 PM
Just write it. Who cares about genre at this point. The story will tell you where it's going.

September 26th, 2005, 02:34 AM
Just write it. Who cares about genre at this point. The story will tell you where it's going.

And sometimes it doesn't :D ;)

Write it, edit it, then think on where you are.

September 26th, 2005, 10:38 PM
You haven't described any fantasy elements. You haven't described how the plan to cull 99% of the population is suppose to work -- disease, death ray, nuclear explosions, but I'm guessing it's something like that, which contains no fantasy elements. Therefore, you either have a regular thriller or a sf novel.

Techno-thrillers used to be called war thrillers. They are simply thrillers involving military technology and dangerous conflicts. This technology may be current technology or may be technology that may develop in the near future. As such, some techno-thrillers can be seen as having sf elements, but techno-thrillers are not part of the sf genre. They are marketed as part of the thriller genre.

There are also science thrillers, about situations involving science or medicine. While some science thrillers focus on current day situations, many science thrillers are about science that may develop in the near future, and as such, are technically non-genre sf novels. Such novels are sold primarily to the thriller market, but may also be sold to the sf genre. Prominent writers of science thrillers are Michael Crichton and Tess Garitsen (though not every novel they write is a science thriller.)

Spy thrillers -- stories involving espionage, terrorism, etc. -- may include some futuristic gadgets, but most of the time, spy thrillers do not really contain sf elements. They are sold in the thriller market.

Most sf novels use suspense plots, so your novel might very well work for the sf genre audience, but for that, you need to evaluate what sf elements you have and how critical they are for the story. You will eventually need to decide if you want to write the story specifically for the sf genre audience, or if you want to market the work as a non-genre thriller. If the work is published as non-genre, but has sf elements, it may still attract genre sf fans.

A goodly percentage of thrillers feature a protagonist whose world is shaken apart and who is radically changed by the events of the story. A work can be called a thriller if the protagonist faces some great danger or risk, such as death, injury, loss or injury of a loved one, imprisonment, the world getting blown up, etc. Obviously, your idea would qualify as a thriller. But what type of thriller you have depends on how you set up the elements of the story and what audience you are specifically going for. So yeah, you may want to work with the story awhile before trying to figure that out. But the above may give you a frame of reference to work from.