Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More of the Joys of Mixing Genres

Art:  "Dragon" by Raymond Minnaar
The idea of genre-crossing stories has always intrigued me.   I first wrote about it in a post entitled "Mixing Genres in Spec Fiction - Some Pros and Cons."  Some of the most influential movies and books that I loved in my youth were those that mixed genres.  Movies like "Alien," which brought science fiction and horror together so masterfully, and books like "Mirror of Her Dreams" and "A Man Rides Through," which mixed science fiction into a fantasy world - these were the sorts of influences that really crystallized my ideas of the boundless nature of all these genres.  Then of course there is art like "Dragon" by Raymond Minnaar, which feels right at home in the area between horror and fantasy.

This piece of art has made its way onto my blog via my business card.  As I was looking for art to help me represent my current efforts, I came across the gallery of Raymond Minnaar, who has pieces both on deviantArt and his own official website.  I enjoyed seeing the breadth of speculative genres represented in his portfolio, and I got it into my head that his art would be a perfect match for my own current place in literary space and time.  After working with the artist, I now have this particular piece of amazing art to grace my new business card.  

It is an interesting sort of commitment, and a strong statement, what one chooses to put on their card.  After all, you want a card to be something you are proud of, something that reflects on your interests as a writer, and something that will be remembered.  This is also a darker piece, which I wanted because my stuff seems to be largely cross genre horror at the moment, particularly the poetry. 

When I began writing, I was surprised and baffled to find that people drew hard lines between genres.  Science fiction over here.  Fantasy over there.  Literary books someplace else completely.  That was the hardest to swallow - the idea that my novel couldn't be a genre novel and also literary.  Seemed to me like a solid, character driven story with a crisp plot and an inventive setting (my definition of good novel in most any genre) could be as literary as anything else.

That was before I'd even come across the term "Speculative Fiction."  Just to have found that term was an immense relief, since some people were concerned about an author who wrote different genres in different books, let alone in the same book.  I found and happily embraced this term, finally feeling like it was a way to fit myself into the picture without too many constraints.  (For those who want more info, here's a wikiattack: Speculative fiction is an umbrella term encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history.)

Since I wrote my last post on the subject, I've seen more interest in work that crosses genres.  When a mixed genre becomes popular, say like urban fantasy, steampunk, or slipstream, it can expand the idea of what is included under the speculative fiction umbrella.  Some publications are specifically calling for mixed topics, settings and perspectives.  These kinds of opportunities are something I love to see - watching the literature adapt and grow.  I think it increases both the chances for bringing in readers, and the chances of something really new and interesting being available to read in the first place.

Pax, All 

Image Credit:  "Dragon" by Raymond Minnaar at deviantArt.  

If you are interested in commissioning art from Raymond Minnaar, he is available, and has his full portfolio and prices available at his website.

No comments: