So, Reality Hack is due out on the 4th of July and I’m still not sure which genre it sits in. I hate genre classifications and it’s always been clear to me that those responsible for such classifications know not what they are talking about. Please allow me to vent…
If I go to Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, and I go looking for a science -fiction movie, I am going to find myself looking at a load of fantasy, some horror, quite a bit of romance that has a vague hint of sci-fi about it. (Well, with Netflix’s idea of classification, looking for a sci-fi movie is an exercise in frustration anyway, but the general idea is the same.) These companies classify everything with any form of fantastic basis as the same genre. I can’t help but wonder whether this general lack of clarity bothers other people as much as it does me? I mean, if they have to split things into groups, could they not do the job properly?
Meanwhile, the book publishers are worse. They want their books classified into increasingly narrow bands of genre, but they haven’t a clue what the genres mean. The Game of Thrones books are not science fiction. Twilight is not science fiction, but of course that august work more or less defined a genre which spawned from some publisher’s desire to corner a market, the ‘Young Adult’ genre. (I believe that YA actually stands for ‘Youthful Angst,’ but that may be just me.)
The genres they create usually don’t work for real books. You take the series I’ve been reading a lot of recently, J.D. Robb’s In Death books. These are police procedurals, set in a high-sci-fi near-future, with a fairly high romance/erotic content. Well they don’t get classed as erotica, or ‘adult,’ but they do get a load of other categories lumped on them. The aforementioned Game of Thrones: is that political thriller or grim, ultra-low fantasy?
So, I’m having difficulty with Reality Hack. It’s clearly urban/contemporary fantasy, being to do with magic and the supernatural in a modern setting, but I’m inclined to avoid that area since there’s no romance involving vampires. It has some distinct horror elements (and if it gets a sequel there will be more of that). The actual setting has some heavy science fiction elements to it as one might expect of a book called Reality Hack. There is romance and sex, yes, but there’s also some twisted psychology, and drama, and questions about the nature of reality, and I have to pick a couple of narrow slots to drop this complex tin of worms into.
Don’t get me wrong: without those tight little boxes I doubt anyone would have noticed Steel Beneath the Skin and most of you would not be reading this blog. It’s just that around the time when I have to decide what box to put a book in, I sort of long for the time when it was just ‘fiction’ and ‘non-fiction.’