Wednesday, 31 October 2012

06. Genres

Happy Halloween!

The subject of Halloween made me think about the genres I love and how many of my favourites relate to everything mystical, magical and maniacal the holiday evokes. But first, what is it about a particular genre that we find so appealing? What draws us in, ensnares us with every word and leaves us breathless for more? In a world full of so many wonderful stories, there are as many genres intent on enticing us.

Are those among us who fancy suspense actually coveting a dream of imitating Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock? Or perhaps Kathy Reich’s forensic anthropologist, Temperance (Bones) Brennan has more appeal. Agatha Christie certainly made her mark on the genre.

Then there’s science fiction and fantasy. Oh, to have invented HG Wells’ Time Machine or have Douglas Adams as your guide as you hitchhiked around the galaxy. Do some readers long to venture into JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth and battle at Mordor or delve into the magical Discworld that Terry Pratchett so cleverly created?

Ah, love, sweet love. What would we do without that fresh breath of air we know as romance? Do we long to be swept away with unfulfilled desires that only the likes of Anne Gracie’s historical heroes and heroines can satisfy? Or are the contemporary gems of Annie West as her characters strive to find true love in a modern and sometimes confusing world the fodder that fills our dreams of a happy ever after?

Perhaps a touch of horror is more your style. Between them, Stephen King and Dean Koontz have given me more sleepless nights that I dare admit. What is this fascination we have with the darker side of life? This morbid intoxication with the evil that human and beast can do has been a solid foundation of fact, myth and legend for generations.

I'm generalising, of course. I've barely touched upon the many genres and sub genres that fill our bookshelves, kindles or whatever other medium you choose just as I've  mentioned but a few of the amazing authors who created them. The best thing about genres for me is how they've evolved and melded over the years. Yes, there have been novels written that defied genres and even created new ones throughout writing history but I love the combination of genres that exists now.

Picture, if you dare, long clawed fingers reaching for you, stretching through the filmy gauze of otherworldliness, itching to wrap around your throat only to sweep you into a love affair that could last an eternity. Perhaps a warrior prince fighting to save his world with the help of a beautiful young rebel in a battle that crosses time and space? Or the detective solving a crime wondering whether it’s the suspect, the murderer, or the victim who’s stolen their heart? And isn't it interesting how romance has a more prevalent thread in these genres than any other? 

I admit it, anything that involves a touch of romance, a sense of mystery, dark, terrifying creatures of undetermined loyalties and a chance of redemption are always going to inspire me to read, write and dream. Which is why I am so enamoured with the paranormal genre and all it entails. And what better time to be inspired than on Halloween?

So what’s your favourite ‘genre’?


  1. I don't know if I can pick a favourite genre, but I can pick a favourite author -- Terry Pratchett. I think he's brilliant.

  2. Hi Jenny. I don't think I could pick a favourite author either. Kudos to you for being able to do so. I haven't read many of his books but I enjoyed Hogfather and The Wee Free Men.