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Posts tagged genre fiction

The best chart of the shifting sea of genres that you will ever need
March 20, 2015 | 12:25 pm

Pop Chart Lab has come up with a chart that should probably be on any writer's wall: "A Plotting of Fiction Genres," with the genres themselves represented by ... ahem ... representative works, as Pop Chart Labs explains: Peruse literature’s myriad modes with this plotting of fiction’s prominent genres. From broad story classifications to some truly punctilious partitioning, each genre is represented here by a hand-illustrated book cover, then branches further into subcategories and sub-subcategories as merited—providing at least two representative works for each. The prints themselves are actually signed and numbered editions, printed on 100 lb. archival stock. And there's some...

Old versus New Horror: Some illustrations
March 5, 2015 | 2:25 pm

This is a follow-up to my previous pieces on Old versus New Horror, and whether there is some kind of faceoff in the horror/dark/weird fiction community similar to developments in science fiction during that genre's New Wave era. And specifically, I wanted to pin down what I see as the distinguishing marks of New Horror that make it so interesting. The whole topic of whether horror is a radical or reactionary genre is live (or undead) enough to generate some recent articles on the theme of, well, "the question of whether horror is a conservative or liberal genre." Even if this puts...

Yay WiHM 2015 because some seem set on giving women in horror an absolutely horrible time
February 19, 2015 | 4:25 pm

Sad to report, the problem of genre misogyny appears to be well and truly out of the sci-fi ghetto and stalking the halls of the horror community. And this as the 6th Annual Women in Horror Month (WiHM) kicks off for 2015. And the unhappy occasion is an anti-woman rant by a certain well-known horror writer, as reported on Mercedes M. Yardley's blog. "Well, I'm mad," her statement runs: I’m not trying to be inciting or hysterical. But I am angry. A “fellow” horror writer lambasted a dear friend and amazing woman for doing book signings while in costume and…I’m not quite sure...

Michael Moorcock to debut first novel in almost ten years – about Michael Moorcock
February 17, 2015 | 4:25 pm

Victor Gollancz, the renowned UK science fiction and general literature publishing imprint, has just announced the acquisition of the UK rights for The Whispering Swarm, the first novel from the pen of fantasy/weird-fiction legend Michael Moorcock in almost ten years. And its subject appears to be ... Michael Moorcock. In his first full novel in almost ten years, Michael Moorcock returns to the city of his childhood and one of his most successful recurring themes: London," states the Gollancz announcement . "The Whispering Swarm follows a young man called Michael Moorcock. Part-autobiography, part-story, in The Whispering Swarm, Moorcock mixes elements of...

The Spectral Book of Horror Stories Vol. 2 open – submit if you dare!
February 16, 2015 | 6:25 pm

The first Spectral Book of Horror Stories, from independent UK publisher Spectral Press, was a particularly fine compilation of the juiciest, goriest modern horror story writing, with an explicit objective from the editor, Mark Morris, "to become a watchword for genre excellence." Judging by the acclaim the first volume received, The Spectral Book of Horror Stories series looks well on course to do just that. And now the second volume is open for submission - to all comers. Mark Morris is calling an open submission window until June 30th, with no specified length (though 2000-8000 words is optimal, with payment only...

Horace Walpole’s Committee of Taste and the invention of Gothic
February 10, 2015 | 12:25 pm

IMG_20150204_123154 Georgian author, aristocrat and aesthete Horace Walpole was one of the first writers who was able to launch an aesthetic movement to match his writing, predating Sir Walter Scott and his cod-Highland pageantry, or William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement. And a recent visit to The Vyne in Hampshire gave me some insight into how this came about, and how Walpole and his collaborators launched the Gothic Revival style and the Gothic movement in literature. John Chute (1701–1776), owner of The Vyne, was an amateur architect and connoisseur, who first met Walpole. When Walpole first started to redesign his...

Lightspeed supports Queers Destroy Science Fiction
February 7, 2015 | 2:25 pm

One of the latest crowdfunding projects in anthology publishing has just totally destroyed its funding goal. With nine days still on the clock at the time of writing, Lightspeed Magazine presents Queers Destroy Science Fiction has reached $34,866 pledged of the $5,000 goal in its Kickstarter campaign. Needless to say, its stretch goals have been blown open, and a great many backers are in line to receive a great deal. "Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of the Hugo-winning magazine Lightspeed 100% written—and edited—by queer creators," explains the preamble. "Even in science fiction, supposedly the genre of limitless possibility, where everyone...

Man Booker rules reinforce genre apartheid
January 14, 2015 | 10:25 am

The UK's Man Booker Prize for Fiction has just updated its rules for eligibility for the Man Booker Prize 2015. And although many book trade professionals seem to be most exercised by changes to the timing and stocking level requirements of the rules, which they say favor publishers at the expense of booksellers, it's very clear that the new rules also consolidate the privileged status of "literary" fiction at the expense of genre works of any kind. They also exclude self-published works or those from very small presses - but it's not like that is anything new. The updated rules declare that "Any...

Book review: Zippered Flesh 2: More Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad! edited by Weldon Burge, Smart Rhino Publications
December 15, 2014 | 6:47 pm

The first Zippered Flesh anthology from Smart Rhino Publications was a delirious and often disgusting switchback ride through a very dark subgenre of horror. Zippered Flesh 2: More Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad! brings together 22 more extremely unsettling tales of ... what it says in the title and subtitle. Actually, that's not entirely true: There's a bit of a drift from the subtitle description, in that a lot of the stories concern body horror but not body enhancements, but then the first anthology was the same and none the worse for it. Perhaps there's a just a shade more repetition and...

Book review: Academic Exercises, by K.J. Parker, Subterranean Press
November 12, 2014 | 6:26 pm

K.J. Parker is a two times World Fantasy Award-winning author, and also something of a mystery - the name is a pseudonym and the real identify of the author has never yet been revealed. The official K.J. Parker website doesn't shed much light on the enigma, although it does list the author's excellent series of longer works. Academic Exercises is his first collection of shorter fiction, but "he" here is a convention, since K.J. Parker could well be as female as J.K. Rowling. It's quite a collection too, at 536 pages long, with two World Fantasy Award-winning novellas (“A Small Price to...

Infodumps, POV, and sensibility: Can you avoid them and write better?
November 11, 2014 | 4:25 pm

This is a piece of early morning caffeine-fueled speculation, stemming from the superb Academic Exercises by K.J. Parker, which varies its richly detailed invented-world fantasy stories with actual (scholarly?) digressions on the history of arms and armor, etc. To my mind, this takes the principle of the infodump as far as it logically can go - i.e. instead of weaving the information into the story, you actually have it siloed as a separate scholarly exposition. Peter Watts takes a similar approach in his long and fascinating "Notes and References" appendices to his science fiction masterpieces Blindsight and Echopraxia - and face...

The New Weird is the new New Wave?
October 30, 2014 | 12:12 pm

fanficReaders like me who cut their teeth on the New Wave of science fiction of the late 1960s and 1970s will remember the intellectual and imaginative energy of that period, the freewheeling mash-up of genres, the political and social awareness, the maturity and sophistication of much of the writing compared to most of what comprised the genre before. An adolescent genre - or rather, one stuck in a permanent delayed adolescence - suddenly grew up. In the UK, it was all about authors like Brian W. Aldiss, J.G. Ballard, M. John Harrison, Michael Moorcock, and Christopher Priest; in the U.S.,...