This week JJ and Kelly continue with their series on genre in publishing, this week focusing on Science-Fiction and Fantasy. It was a close shave as JJ spilled water on her laptop last week, but her computer pulled through! Also, more about reading ruts and Beyoncé’s LEMONADE.
- Science-fiction and fantasy is generally the genre of What If? Fantasy is the genre of What Could Have Been and science-fiction is the genre of What Could Be.
- Broadly speaking, science-fiction is science-based, fantasy is magic, but these distinctions really lie on a spectrum.
- When it comes to publishing, your book will either be shelved in Science-Fiction/Fantasy or it could be shelved in General Fiction. This comes down to a number of factors, including who the publisher is. Tor, Baen, Ace/Roc, and Del Rey are science-fiction/fantasy publishers, and imprints like Other Press, Grand Central, Putnam, etc. do more general fiction.
- If the focus is more on the fantastic elements (as in, the fantastic elements are the point), then it would likely be pubbed SFF; if the focus is less on the fantastic elements (as in, the fantastic elements are in service of another point), then it would likely be pubbed general fiction.
- Sub-categories of fantasy include:
- Epic fantasy
- High fantasy
- Sword and sorcery
- Portal fantasy
- Urban fantasy
- Sub-categories of science-fiction include:
- Space opera
- Hard sci-fi
- Speculative near-future
- Note on magical realism: JJ considers magical realism a subset of literary fiction, not fantasy. Magical realism takes a fantastic element and uses it as an extended metaphor for emotions, the human condition, etc. A lot of novels called “magical realism” is what JJ considers “light fantasy.”
- Alternate history, parallel universe, time-travel also fall under the science-fiction/fantasy umbrella.
- Horror is perhaps more of a category (like YA) than a true genre, as it can encompass all genres: psychological, ghost stories, monsters, etc.
Fairy tales are more than true—not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.
—Neil Gaiman, paraphrasing G. K. Chesterton
What We’re Reading/Books Discussed
- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
- His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
- Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
- Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind
- The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
- The works of Robert Heinlein
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- The Martian by Andy Weir
- The works of Philip K. Dick
- The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
- Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
- The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
- The Pit Dragon trilogy by Jane Yolen
- The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
- Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
- Norby the Mixed-Up Robot by Janet and Isaac Asimov
- Kindred by Octavia Butler
- The works of Jacqueline Carey
- The works of N. K. Jemisin
- The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
- A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
- The Rose & the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh
- The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (and our podcast interview with her!)
- Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
What We’re Working On
- Kelly is working on her YA, and is apparently inspired and excited to delve into it after JJ laid down some tough love.
- JJ wrote a personal essay for an anthology open submission call about doughnuts, Korean school, and shame.
- JJ is also trying to write a horror short story, also for an open submission call.
- JJ is also working on hand-lettering part titles for Wintersong! Her publisher using her artwork in the interior of the book.
Off Menu Recommendations
That’s all for this week! Next week we’ll be continuing our genre series with MYSTERY/THRILLER. Thanks for listening!