The biggest argument I have had in the last year or so was over whether the fantasy genre was “over.” The person I was arguing with pointed to the rise of paranormal fiction and the popularity of vampires and zombies as evidence that the genre of fantasy is passé. I pointed to the popularity of the TV show Game of Thrones as evidence that it’s not.
But really, who cares? Why does it matter if something is popular or not? Why does it matter if someone is “jumping on a bandwagon” because they like vampires or zombies? Or don’t? The point of genre media isn’t to be “the next big thing,” it’s to give voice to something that people think is important. I use fantasy fiction to show how important connections are, and how strong people who stand together can be. I know other people who use fantasy fiction to point to lessons that our culture has forgotten, to illustrate history in a different light.
Writers use fantastic tales—whether they’re set in an ancient civilization or a thousand years in the future—to show people their hearts and souls. To reflect a greater truth that they see in their deepest being.
This is one of the reasons I love crossover genres. I think bringing new elements into a genre can refresh the genre and bring in new fans, people who may not have read a particular genre before. Plus, you’re able to play with a whole new group of tropes, things you may not have tried before. Paranormal romance often uses tropes from fantasy books alongside romantic tropes, and gives both new twists and turns that bring fans of both genres together.
I think that all the fighting over which genre is more important or more popular is silly. I think everyone should have the right to enjoy their favorite book without worrying about whether they’re going to be condemned for jumping on a bandwagon or sneered at because they’re not ‘doing it right’ as a fan. I am an unapologetic fan of the things I love, but I don’t turn my nose up at someone else’s enjoyment of something. Indeed, I am glad I don’t—I would have missed some wonderful things that I’m “not a fan” of if I had!
I know it’s Pollyanna-ish to think we’ll all magically get along, but if someone is making you feel bad because you love a particular genre or type of story, I’m sorry. I hope you’ll take this random internet stranger’s permission to heart: love what you love. It’s all good.
She lives in Tallahassee, Florida with cats, a dog, and an amazingly tolerant husband. She spends her days writing, reading, playing video games, working with the dog, and occasionally herding cats. She is a comic book geek, loves horseback riding and all things equine, and is addicted to saving the world, or at least trying.
- Write the book you want to read (alinameridon.wordpress.com)
- Subtext in Paranormal Tropes: A Conversation with Jami Gold (paranormalunbound.com)
- Do You Know Your Reading Personality? (scififantasylitchick.wordpress.com)
- Fiction Affliction: August Releases in Urban Fantasy (tor.com)
- Sci-fi & Fantasy: Out With the Old, In With the New (litreactor.com)
- How did you choose the genre you write in? (jodiellewellyn.wordpress.com)
- In Defense of the YA Fantasy (thesealofoblivion.wordpress.com)
- What’s your genre? (penelopeblack15.wordpress.com)
- Paranormal Tropes (writesbymoonlight.wordpress.com)