The Great Genre Confusion


So in the process of getting ready to publish How To Stop Wildfire (I’m projecting late April…post the 20th) I have been setting up the Amazon details for it. Things like title, series, edition number, and etc. The one piece of detail that has been hanging me up for a few days has been category, or genre.

Being the ignorant book reader that I am, I just assumed I would slap it into Science-Fiction and be done with it. I was wrong. So wrong. When did all of these genres come up? The ones I remember were: Apocalyptic, Time Travel, Urban, Cybernetic, Military, Steampunk, and Paranormal. Just for Sci-fi. I get that some books need these classifications. Broad is bad sometimes. I get that, I really do, but with have a handful of very specific options I feel even more at a loss of what How To Stop Wildfire is. The more specific the categories became the less I feel HTSW fit in anywhere.

The one genre that I knew it was a part of was Space Opera. That kind of was obvious to me. It is a sweeping adventure…sort of melodramatic with larger-than-life characters and a kind of opera-like angle to it. That was done; it is definitely a Space Opera.

But then they gave me a curve ball: I get to pick two categories. Not one but two.

So out of the other dozen or so genre-categories I have to figure out how to classify my unpublished novel. Which is a problem because HTSW and myself do not like to conform to genre expectations.

It has magical/fantasy elements. Magic exists. Mana exists. There are ‘dragons’ and other fantastical elements. Gods. Kings. That stuff. But…it isn’t fantasy. It doesn’t fit with the fantasy tropes and community. It isn’t of that stock. (If you haven’t noticed already I have a slight disdain for the genre (s) I operate in.)

There is definitely some action/adventure going on. The entire story is an adventure. It is The Adventures of the Trinity and the One. But is it Action and Adventure? I didn’t think so. It is a part of it…but it is not representative of the whole.

I considered visionary/metaphysical…only because they sounded nice. Then when I actually looked at what the genre is did my genre confusion get worse. I walked away from the idea without another thought.

It has humor: Cyclone is witty, Fla’neiel is dry, and the style I write is sometimes borderline satirical towards the genre. Definitely humorous. I debated over whether I should settle on it because I don’t think it is overtly humorous or mainly so, but in the end I think this is where it is supposed to be. When I began first drafting it years ago it was far, far more comedy-oriented. Years past and it became more serious. I don’t think I have lost anything by tempering it.

I guess saying it is ‘humorous’ is away of getting back to my roots. To HTSW’s roots as a few page outline of funny dialogue over a bizarre circumstance and the subsequent extrapolation. I don’t know if people will think it fits, but to a point it doesn’t matter because it fits to me. And that is what matters.