Sunday, April 10, 2011

Genres I'd like to see more of

Everyone knows the genres that are currently popular, and the genres that are guaranteed to contain a hit book that everyone reads. Romance novels or thriller novels never lose their readership, and the fantasy fans never give up on it. And no matter how many YA books are published, there will never be a lull in their readership.
But this isn't about those books. This post is about the genres that don't get written as often, for whom an audience may exist but has little to go on. Sometimes there are niche publishers dedicated to these genres-and sometimes there aren't.
First, I'd like to see more genre novels with GLBT relationships. And I don't mean romance novels, because that exists-there is an entire E-publisher that specializes in gay romance. I mean a gay or lesbian relationship handled in an otherwise science fiction or fantasy novel. The only examples I can think of, aside from the books I have written, are the books by J.L Langley, the NightRunner series by Lyn Flewelling, the Island in the Sea of Time series by S.M Stirling, and of course the Magic's Price trilogy by Mercedes Lackey. There are others, I'm sure, but the point I am making is that there are comparatively few, and I feel that this is something that should be remedied. Just because a reader may want to read about a gay relationship doesn't mean they want to limit themselves to romance novels. And for female readers, books with gay relationships are a great way to avoid the annoying female character stereotypes that dog fantasy, and especially science fiction, novels.
Second, I want to see more historical fiction, and especially more prehistoric fiction. The success of Jean Auel's Earth's Children series shows that there is a market for novels like these. The books by William Sarabande and Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear, both of which take place in prehistoric North America are also worthy reads. There is really no issue of lack of an audience with this type of writing. The problem with this genre, of course, is that it not only takes imagination, but it takes research, and thus is harder to write.
Third, would also like to see more science fiction in general, as I talked about last post, but more specifically I would like to see the human sides of science fiction addressed, as per cyberpunk novels. Many science fiction books have characters who are barely archetypes, and character development is sacrificed for plot (or cheap sex). Much can be done with looking at the effects of technology, or space living, or the apocalypse, on the human psyche. Why don't I see more of it?
And last, I want to see more horror novels that aren't written by Stephen King and aren't thinly veiled vampire romance stories. Horror novels can take a typical plot progression and twist it, so that a story of someone going out to seek adventure turns into the story of that person being manipulated and lied to, until their personality changes and they fail at their goal. It would seem plotless until you realize that their change is the plot. Some may call it torture porn, but reading about someone's failure to thrive can be as fascinating as reading about their success. It's like hurt/comfort without the comfort, and if done right can be a wonderful character study. Exactly what would it take to change a person?
I've noticed that a few people have been reading my blog (hooray!) Do any of you have any genres you'd like to see more of? Or on the flipside, do any of you have genres you can't stand?

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