[writing] About them there genres

So I was given this list of genres and sub-genres and asked to identify my short fiction corpus according to the parameters of the list. It was sort of whacky. Which led me to wonder what a relatively accurate list of genres and sub-genres in our field would look like. I fully realize this question is akin to sticking my hand in the blender to learn how sausage is made, but nonetheless, it’s Friday night in Omaha and I have an hour or two before crashing out in this here hotel room.

So here’s a crack. Hideously incomplete no doubt, but I encourage both serious commentary and a whale of a snarkfest. Not to mention suggested improvements.

(Note this post is being edited on a rolling basis in response to comments.)

Gothic Romance

  • Protogenre — Weiland, Manuscript Found in Saragossa
  • Promethean — Frankenstein
  • Tartarean — Dracula

Fantasy

  • Pre-Tolkien — Worm Ouroboros, Well at the World’s End
  • Mid-Century — Gormenghast
  • Tolkein — The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings
  • Neo-Tolkein — Sword of Shannara
  • Post-Tolkein — A Game of Thrones
  • High — Tigana
  • Epic or Quest — The Dragonbone Chair
  • Dark — Pillars of the World
  • Romantic — Princess Bride
  • Humorous — Discworld
  • Urban — The Etched City
  • Literary — A Shadow in Summer
  • Contemporary — The Lovely Bones
  • Weird — Conan, Jirel of Joiry
  • Fetish — Slave Girl of Gor
  • Postapocalyptic — Hiero’s Journey
  • Fairy Tale — Wizard of Oz, The Last Unicorn
  • Middle American — Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • Anthropomorphic — Watership Down, Redwall
  • Urban Faerie — War for the Oaks, Moonheart
  • Academic — Fool on the Hill, Tam Lin

Science Fiction

  • Early Modern — From the Earth to the Moon
  • Golden Age — The Skylark of Space
  • Silver Age — Foundation
  • New Wave — Lord of Light
  • First Wave Feminism — The Female Man
  • Humanist — The Left Hand of Darkness
  • Literary — Shadow of the Torturer
  • Cyberpunk — Neuromancer
  • Space Opera — The Mote in God’s Eye
  • New [British] Space Opera — The Reality Dysfunction
  • New [American] Space Opera — Honor Harrington
  • New Weird — Perdido Street Station
  • Slipstream — The Physiognomy
  • Time Travel — The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • Alternate History — The Guns of the South
  • Contemporary —
  • Outsider — Valis
  • Hard — The Star Dragon
  • Soft — The Martian Chronicles
  • Bio — The Helix and the Sword
  • Linguistic — Native Tongue
  • Epic — Dune
  • Transhumanist — Accelerando
  • Postapocalyptic — A Canticle for Leibowitz
  • Utopian — The Dispossessed, 1984
  • Prescriptive Political — Double Star, The Handmaid’s TaleMilitaria — A Hymn Before Battle
  • Gedankenexperiment — The Machine Stops