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Genre fiction

Parent categories: fiction - genre - literature

French Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Pulp Fiction (2000) - Jean-Marc Lofficier, Randy Lofficier [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

In the late twentieth century genre fiction has become a synonym for popular fiction. Both terms are used to distinguish it from 'serious' literary fiction. [Sept 2006]

Essays: Cross the Border -- Close the Gap (1969) - Leslie Fiedler

Related: bestseller - comics - formula fiction - paraliterature - popular - popular fiction - pulp fiction

It can be argued that all novels, no matter how "literary", also fall within the bounds of one or more genres. Thus Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is a romance; Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is a psychological thriller; and James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a coming-of-age story. These novels would usually be stocked in the general or possibly the classics section of a bookstore. Indeed, many works now regarded as literary classics were originally written as genre novels.

The genres of genre fiction action-adventure - crime - detective - erotica - fantasy - horror - mystery - romance - science fiction - thriller - western

Connotations: artificial - bad taste - conventional - derivative - kitsch - low culture - plagiarism

Contrast with: auteur - literary fiction - literature - originality


Genre fiction is a term for fictional works (novels, short stories) written with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre in order to appeal to the fans of that genre. In contemporary fiction-publishing, genre is an elastic term used to group works sharing similarities of character, theme, and setting—such as mystery, romance, or horror—that have been proven to appeal to particular groups of readers. Genres continuously evolve, divide, and combine as readers' tastes change and writers search for fresh ways to tell stories. For a number of reasons, genre fiction is often regarded as the lower-quality opposite of literary fiction. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genre_fiction [Aug 2005]

Confusion surrounding the term fiction

There is some confusion about the term genre fiction as it tends to denote only literature and leave out other media such as film. This confusion is inherent in the term fiction which is used to denote literature as well as works of the imagination in general (film, theatre, etc...). There are separate articles on the cinematic equivalent of genre fiction: genre film; and on generic art or genre art. [May 2006]

Origins of genre fiction

Many fiction genres can be traced to a small number of important or extremely popular literary works written before that genre came into existence. "Genre" fiction is portrayed as those works that seek, in some degree, just to emulate these paradigms. Science fiction began with H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. Much, perhaps most fantasy is derivative of--where not plagiarised from--J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Horror stories and mystery stories can both be traced in large measure to Poe and a few others. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genre_fiction [2004]

Genre conventions

See main article convention

By definition, works of a given genre follow, more or less, the conventions of that genre. The American screenwriting teacher Robert McKee defines genre conventions as the "specific settings, roles, events, and values that define individual genres and their subgenres." These conventions, always fluid, are usually implicit, but sometimes are made into explicit requirements by publishers of fiction as a guide to authors seeking publication.

For example, a romance magazine may specify in its guidelines to writers that it is seeking stories of a certain length with a science-fiction, fantasy, or paranormal theme in which the story conflict is resolved through the mutual attraction of the hero and heroine. The guidelines may state that the story must have a happy ending and specify what level of explicitness in the love scenes is acceptable. Writers seeking publication in the magazine would have to ensure that their stories conformed to the guidelines—the closer the conformity, the greater their likelihood of being published. The publisher, for its part, is trying to meet the desires of its readers, who often have strong and specific expectations of the publisher's stories. Such "made-to-measure" writing is genre fiction in its purest form.

Most fiction writing, especially of novel length, does not conform so tightly to the conventions of a genre. Indeed, there is no consensus as to exactly what the conventions of any genre are, or even what the genres themselves are. Writers, publishers, marketers, booksellers, libraries, academics, critics, and readers may all have different ways of classifying fiction, and any of these classifications might be termed a genre. (For example, one arguable genre of genre fiction—the airport novel—takes its name not from the subjects of its stories, but from the market where it is sold.) It is beyond doubt that readers have preferences for certain types of stories, and that there are writers and publishers who try to cater to those preferences, but the term genre remains amorphous, and the assigning of works to genres is to some extent arbitrary and subjective. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genre_fiction#Genre_conventions [Dec 2005]

French Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Pulp Fiction (2000) - Jean-Marc Lofficier, Randy Lofficier

Book Description
Connoisseurs of fantasy, science fiction, and horror have long recognized the important contributions of thousands of French authors, filmmakers, and artists.

The volume is divided into two parts. Part I gives historical overviews, complete lists, descriptions, and summaries for works in film, television, radio, animation, comic books, and graphic novels. This section also includes interviews with animation director Ren Laloux and comic book artist Moebius, as well as comments from filmmaker Luc Besson. Biographies are provided for over 200 important contributors to television and graphic arts. Part II covers the major authors and literary trends of French science fiction, fantasy, and horror from the Middle Ages to the present day. (French-Canadians and Belgians are also examined.) There is a biographical dictionary of over 3,000 authors, a section on major French awards, and a complete bibliography. Over 1,000 illustrations (!) illuminate this thorough presentation.

About the Author
Professional writers Jean-Marc Lofficier and Randy Lofficier received the INKPOT AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMIC ARTS. The live in Reseda, California.

Jean-Marc Lofficier is a writer of books and comic books about science fiction and fantasy.

With his wife, Randy, Jean-Marc has co-authored half a dozen books about movies and television, as well as numerous comics and translations, including the Moebius graphic novels. In 1990, in recognition of their distinguished career as comic book writers, translators and editors, Randy and Jean-Marc were presented with the Inkpot Award for Outstanding Achievement in Comic Arts.

Jean-Marc has also collaborated with Randy on a number of animation and live-action feature scripts and teleplays -- all covered under Randy's Professional Site.

Jean-Marc is also a founding member of HOLLYWOOD COMICS, a company founded in 2000 with Randy to package comic-book properties for publishing, motion pictures, television and the Internet. Jean-Marc has an MBA from the Paris Business School (ESCP) and a Law Degree from the Sorbonne. --http://www.lofficier.com/ [May 2005]

An Aesthetics of Junk Fiction (1990) - Thomas John Roberts

An Aesthetics of Junk Fiction (1990) - Thomas John Roberts [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

[O]n the other hand, Thomas Roberts demonstrates in An Aesthetics of Junk Fiction (1990:173-174), a study of the historical background of the private detective model, how the detective story came into existence in the middle of the 19th century, at the time the institution of state police was developed. This force consisted mainly of lower class people, but nevertheless disposed of a certain authority over the upper class. The fears among the upper classes for this uncontrolled force were eased by domesticating the police in stories explicitly devoted to them. Their inability to pass on correct judgment was amply demonstrated, and forced them to bow for the individual intellect of the detective, who always belonged to the threatened upper class. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_culture_studies#The_possibility_of_a_.22subversive.22_popular_culture [Nov 2004]

From Book News, Inc.
Roberts (English, U. of Connecticut) approaches popular fiction as an international and legitimate form, rather than as failed literature, and profiles learned readers who choose westerns, romances, and fantasy over the accepted Great Works. He concludes that the popular genres evolve and treat issues in ways that serious literature cannot.

see also: European comics

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