Archive for the ‘Genres’ Category

This month, I concentrated on reading science fiction and fantasy written by women. My selections ran the gamut from historical fantasy to post-apocalyptic dystopia to feminist speculative fiction to near-future science fiction. I didn’t get to read all five of my selections (Ammonite was the one I didn’t get to), but I’m not going to stop reading […]


If you’ve spent any time skimming this blog, you will quickly come to realize that I prefer reading genre fiction. I do read a fair amount of literary fiction, especially the classics, but I always gravitate back toward the genres. I also enjoy fiction that plays with the norms, that combines two genres or experiments […]


We didn’t notice right away. We did not sense at first the extra time, bulging from the smooth edge of each day like a tumor blooming beneath skin. An interesting side effect of having a Kindle is that I’m finding it more difficult to identify books intended for children or young adults before I start […]


I like to divide the world of stories up into geographical regions, and I only  like to tag a story with a region if the story seems significant in understanding that area of the world, both because the author comes from there and the story is firmly set there. It’s hard for me to classify […]


As I wrote recently, I have been thinking a lot about genre as I have undergone a massive project to reclassify and catalogue my books on LibraryThing. That project is pretty much done (I hope), and out of it emerged a genre classification system that suits me very well. My thinking has evolved since I […]


Recently, I have been reorganizing my books and re-cataloguing them in LibraryThing, which led me to think about genre. Some readers dismiss genre as a marketing tool, and they may have a point, but I personally love the idea of genre. Each genre has its own toolbox, so to speak, and I like knowing what […]


While pondering this question on Quora — What is your list of must-read fiction books? – I came up with a list of 10 books that I consider must-reads from both contemporary and classic literature. To my surprise, the books sorted naturally into themed pairs, and of course, that suggested further books that should be […]


Here’s an interesting essay by David Brin on what is science fiction exactly, in reaction Margaret Atwood’s recent book of essays on the genre and the review of that book in the Wall St Journal. In essence, he contrasts an optimistic, looking forward worldview (a la Star Trek) of the minority of writers with a […]


I like Margaret Atwood a lot, but I think this reviewer is on target in this review of her retrospective on science fiction. Atwood is still a bit too snippy about distinguishing the genres for my tastes. The reviewer also correctly identifies one distinction: While Atwood may favor a philosophy of leaving well enough alone, […]


Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake (which I would call science fiction, but she apparently prefers them labelled “speculative fiction), has published a new collection of essays about science/speculative fiction. Here is her introduction to the collection on io9: If it is realistic or plausible, then it is not science fiction. […]


If you like science fiction, you might be interested in this question on Quora: Who is the best living science fiction author and what is his/her best book? Some interesting picks here. My vote was for Ursula K. Le Guin, and I think her best book is The Left Hand of Darkness, but all of her […]


I enjoy reading alternate history, although not the most common kind, which posits alternate endings to battles or wars. This has been a good reference for me to find reading material: Uchronia: The Alternate History List. It’s a massive list of 3100 works of alternate history. That should keep me busy reading for a while!


  Since I picked up The Stand — which I first read as a pre-teen while home sick from school with a case of the flu (true story) — I have been obsessed with the apocalypse. That is, the fictional apocalypse — I don’t particularly want to experience it for real. If a book has […]


I am a great fan of science fiction. I have been reading it all my life, and I read across the spectrum of the genre, from the very soft to the very hard. I enjoy it all, as long as it’s well written. But I realize that science fiction is not for everyone. Some people […]


The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings. — Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses It’s Children’s Book Week this week (May 10-16). What can you do to celebrate? Here are some ideas. Read one of the top 70 children’s books […]


According to Wikipedia, an antihero is a protagonist that is the antithesis of the archetypal hero. This may be the “villain you love to hate,” or it may be a hero with very un-hero-like characteristics, a hero who is nerdy or weak or otherwise is a contradiction of stereotypical heroic qualities. I think we enjoy […]


 I had admired the perfect form of my cottagers- their grace, beauty, and delicate complexions: but how was I terrified when I viewed myself in a transparent pool . . . and when I was convinced that I was in reality the monster that I am I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence […]


Myths, whether in written or visual form, serve a vital role of asking unanswerable questions and providing unquestionable answers. Most of us, most of the time, have a low tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. We want to reduce the cognitive dissonance of not knowing by filling the gaps with answers. Traditionally, religious myths have served […]


Recently, I have become fascinated with the notion of cycles. We humans tend to regard everything linearly, with a beginning and an end, because that is our individual experience. But taking a wider view, we can see that events tend to happen in cycles, that an end leads inexorably to another beginning. It’s easiest to […]


Image via Wikipedia The New York Times Book Review (free registration required) has a retrospective on women writing horror this week. After pointing out that the horror genre was launched by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (one of my all-time favorites) and highlighting a couple of luminaries — Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Shirley Jackson — the author […]



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