Author Topic: Question about genre  (Read 7436 times)

Offline abbyannis

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Question about genre
« on: April 13, 2009, 12:02:42 PM »
I know I'm probably obsessing way too much about everything being perfect, but that's what I do.  :crazy: I was just wondering...

My novel hovers somewhere between science fiction and fantasy--having aspects of both. I think it leans a little more toward science fiction, so that's what I've been putting it under in my query. I've been doing some research on it, to make sure I have it in the right genre and came across the term "science fantasy".

Does anyone know if this is an actual genre that I can list in my query, or should I just stick with the science fiction and assume it will be enough?

Thanks!

-Abby
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Offline judgehopkins

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2009, 12:47:41 PM »
Yes, there is such a thing as science fantasy. C. S. Lewis and Marion Zimmer Bradley were both practitioners (among many others).

"Hard" science fiction involves telling a story about something that might actually happen, e.g., contact with aliens.

Science fantasy involves telling a story about something that might actually happen with a touch of the supernatural, e.g., contact with aliens who are telepathic.

Make sure your created world has rules and that the book follows the rules.


Offline abbyannis

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2009, 12:53:44 PM »
Thanks, judgehopkins!  That's very helpful.  I gave you your first karma.  Welcome to QT!  :clap:
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Offline newday11

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2009, 02:18:48 PM »
 ;D I'd use science fantasy! newday11
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Offline abbyannis

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2009, 02:41:27 PM »
Thanks for your input, newday! :up:
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Offline violet

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2009, 11:03:40 PM »
If you found science fantasy, I agree...go for it.

It might be an interesting exercise to see if you know of some other novels that fall into both categories...then find out how Borders etc. categorizes them.  :)

Offline abbyannis

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2009, 08:42:47 AM »
Good idea. Thanks, Violet!  :yes:
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Offline aaronbstarr

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2009, 01:41:53 PM »
Science fantasy is sort of a strange genre, and not one everyone recognizes.  To some, if it isn't hard SF, it's fantasy by definition.  That means any SF with faster than light travel, battles with spaceships, or what have you.  All of these things are actually fantasy because physics rules them out.  But most agents that say they represent science fantasy are explicitly including or excluding hard SF, not the other way around.  If your manuscript is "space opera", then it's probably science fantasy.

Still, I'd only call it that if the agent uses the term.  Else, I'd just say SF.

Offline twoheadknight

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2009, 02:14:26 PM »
That is really helpful, Aaronbstarr!  I had this same question the other day about a new story I'm writing.  It's in a futuristic city, but is mostly fantasy, dealing with giant radioactive beasties and such.  I think from what you're saying this is just "soft" sci fi?

Offline abbyannis

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2009, 03:33:31 PM »
Thanks, aaronbstarr.

That's kind of what I was thinking, because I haven't come across any agents who list science fantasy as something they represent. I guess that's just another thing I'll have to tailor to each individual agent.
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Offline bodwen

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2009, 03:57:00 PM »
I think you'd have to describe your project for us to pin down the genre.  It can be argued that "Star Wars" is fantasy and "The Wheel of Time" is Science Fiction.  There used to be a genre called Cyberpunk, but I haven't heard that term in a while.  (Is that now Urban Fantasy?)

I'd pick whatever term is most marketable.     :wink:

Offline aaronbstarr

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2009, 05:44:23 PM »
That is really helpful, Aaronbstarr!  I had this same question the other day about a new story I'm writing.  It's in a futuristic city, but is mostly fantasy, dealing with giant radioactive beasties and such.  I think from what you're saying this is just "soft" sci fi?

I'd say so.  My own SF tends to be this sort of thing.  Not hard SF, not really "space opera", but still, pretty much implausible, scientifically.


Offline karaokecrush

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2009, 02:35:22 PM »
This is a really good topic.  I just had an agent reclassify my genre to a weird one too, although it's not sci fi or fantasy.  Thanks for this! Karma! :up:
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Offline DHE

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2009, 10:46:14 PM »
Well, this is part speculation, part what I've read on Miss Snark in the past, but I'd say the genre isn't so much just finding an appropriate name, it's where it can be put in the book store.  Borders doesn't have a science fantasy section as of my last visit.  The way around it, as Miss Snark has suggested, is to use what's most emphasized as the genre, and then say "with elements of ___".  So either "SF with elements of fantasy" or "fantasy with SF elements."  That way they know where to shelve it, but know there's a twist on the genre.  (And they can always flip flop it if they disagree with where it would be shelved.) 

Offline AshK

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Re: Question about genre
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2009, 12:43:06 PM »
Awesome discussion. I think if I had to come up with the right genre, I'd look at the plot diagram and circle key points/elements and see which genre clamored for more attention. Worse comes to worse, I'd call Douglas Adams. Oh wait. Small problem with that.

Once you figure that one out, ponder this: What would you call a militant storyline with elements of magic realism? (Newday, here's your chance to come up with a good one.)
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