Tuesday, 14 June 2011

10 Things about Fantasy (genres) in bookstores

It has come to my attention that a new species of bookshelf is turning up in bookstores all over the place... "dark romance" and "dark fantasy" abounds... but what exactly is that? Isn't dark romance just angsty vampire/shifter/randomsupernaturalcreature romance? Why the new category? So I though I'd do a post on what fantasy categories I could think of and see what you've got to add...
  1. Fantasy/Sci-Fi: This is the most general category possible, and covers pretty much everything from Asimov to Tolkien to Bova to JK Rowling. And there we have the first problem with categorisation...why is JK Rowling not in every fantasy section? Because she writes "YA" books, of course. So head on over to the children's section to find her...
  2. Horror: You'd be surprised (or not) to know that this is where most vampire books can be found. Why? Because vampires are bloodsucking monsters, of course! *sigh* I know at least one 'horror/dark fantasy' author who would be better placed in the erotica section, thank you very much. 
  3. Classic Fantasy: Ok so I've only seen this once in a bookstore (and in Goodreads) but still...what would you expect to find here? Tolkien again? Are we talking epic fantasy, here, or are we talking writing style (in my limited experience 'classic' fantasy seems to be more descriptive, the worlds drawn in more detail, than 'modern' stuff) - in which case George RR Martin and maybe David Gemmel would find their home here?
  4. Epic Fantasy: One particular author comes to mind immediately: the late Robert Jordan, whose Wheel of Time epic is VERY epic indeed. Or again, George RR Martin. But what about Terry Prachett, whose DiscWorld series has uncounted books? Is that epic? Or how about Laurell K Hamilton? Her series are long, but play in an alternate present. 
  5. Romantic Fantasy: This type of book (or shelf subsection) is mostly found amongst the romance novels. Why? Because the main plotline is ROMANCE, duh. There are also, for the most part, two MCs rather than one. And lately, there's likely to be a werewolf or vampire involved. 
  6. Paranormal Romance: Uhm...what about the word "FANTASY" did people object to, exactly? Is this one of those old cow-new cow things? A marketing gag thingy? Because for the life of me I can't tell the difference between "romantic fantasy" and "paranormal romance". Maybe they thought "Paranormal Romance" sounds better?? Is that why Paranormal Romance sometimes rates its own shelf, unlike Romantic Fantasy? Discriminating, that's what it is... *grumble*
  7. Dark Fantasy: is just what it sounds like. It tends to involve a LOT of night, seeing as there's usually a vampire or two running around. Think Christine Feehan, or (again) Laurell K Hamilton. Uhm...wait a minute. Those are writers with a definite trend towards romance...I don't know. Would you consider looking for Stephen King in Dark Fantasy? Because what he writes is surely dark and mostly fantasy. But no. He's in the Horror section. So what is Dark Fantasy, then? The nighttime sister of Paranormal Romance??? 
  8. Dark Romance: don't even get me started on this. Last bookstore I went to, they had all the YA type "Dark Fantasy" and plain "Fantasy" shelved under "dark romance". Whatever. 
  9. Science Fiction: Oh, finally a category nobody seems confused about. Phew. Only....ehm...the recent development of the whole 'distopian world' topic, couldn't one consider that science fiction? I'm thinking The Hunger Games here. Or the Maze Runner Trilogy (though I'm not certain what that is actually shelved under). What do you think?
  10. YA Fantasy/SciFi: I give up. Really I do. Does everything with a teen MC belong into this category? I don't know. Do you? What makes something YA rather than 'normal'? 
I'm sure I could come up with some more categories, but let's leave it at that. Do you have anything to say that might enlighten me? Any category definitions I should know? Any pet peeves in terms of bookstore shelving policy?
    Because let me tell you, I'm starting to get annoyed with not knowing where to look for what. *sigh*
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