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Genres

Definitions from Goodreads

By Age

Adult fiction

Adult fiction, by contrast with children’s or young adult, is fiction intended for (and usually about) adults.

New Adult

New Adult fiction bridges the gap between Young Adult and Adult genres. It typically features protagonists between the ages of 18 and 26.

Young Adult [YA]

Young-adult fiction (often abbreviated as YA) is fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 13 to 21.
Young-adult fiction, whether in the form of novels or short stories, has distinct attributes that distinguish it from the other age categories of fiction. The vast majority of YA stories portray an adolescent as the protagonist, rather than an adult or a child. The subject matter and story lines are typically consistent with the age and experience of the main character, but beyond that YA stories span the entire spectrum of fiction genres. The settings of YA stories are limited only by the imagination and skill of the author.
Themes in YA stories often focus on the challenges of youth, so much so that the entire age category is sometimes referred to as problem novels or coming of age novel. Writing styles of YA stories range widely, from the richness of literary style to the clarity and speed of the unobtrusive. Despite its unique characteristics, YA shares the fundamental elements of fiction with other stories: character, plot, setting, theme, and style

By Content

Apocalyptic

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Apocalyptic fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that is concerned with the end of civilization either through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster. Post-apocalyptic fiction is set in a world or civilization after such a disaster. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten (or mythologized). Post-apocalyptic stories often take place in an agrarian, non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of technology remain. There is a considerable degree of blurring between this form of science fiction and that which deals with false utopias or dystopic societies.

Dystopia

 

Dystopia is a form of literature that explores social and political structures. It is a creation of a nightmare world – unlike its opposite, Utopia, which is an ideal world. Dystopia is often characterized by an authoritarian or totalitarian form of government. It often features different kinds of repressive social control systems, a lack or total absence of individual freedoms and expressions, and a state of constant warfare or violence. Many novels combine both Dystopia and Utopia, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take in its choices, ending up with one of the two possible futures.

Fantasy

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Fantasy is a genre that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting. Fantasy is generally distinguished from science fiction and horror by the expectation that it steers clear of technological and macabre themes, respectively, though there is a great deal of overlap between the three (collectively known as speculative fiction or science fiction/fantasy)In its broadest sense, fantasy comprises works by many writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians, from ancient myths and legends to many recent works embraced by a wide audience today, including Fantasy is a genre that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting. Fantasy is generally distinguished from science fiction and horror by the expectation that it steers clear of technological and macabre themes, respectively, though there is a great deal of overlap between the three (collectively known as speculative fiction or science fiction/fantasy)In its broadest sense, fantasy comprises works by many writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians, from ancient myths and legends to many recent works embraced by a wide audience today, including young adults, most of whom are represented by the works below.

Fantasy, Dark

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At its most basic, dark fantasy is a term used to describe a fantasy story with a pronounced horror element. A stricter definition is difficult to pin down, as authors, publishers, and readers have used “dark fantasy” in various contexts throughout the years.

Dark fantasy is often used as a synonym for supernatural horror.

Some authors and critics also apply the term to high fantasy stories that feature anti-heroic or morally ambiguous protagonists. Fantasy works by writers typically associated with the horror genre are sometimes described as “dark fantasy.” Conversely, the term is also used t At its most basic, dark fantasy is a term used to describe a fantasy story with a pronounced horror element. A stricter definition is difficult to pin down, as authors, publishers, and readers have used “dark fantasy” in various contexts throughout the years.

Dark fantasy is often used as au synonym for supernatural horror.

Some authors and critics also apply the term to high fantasy stories that feature anti-heroic or morally ambiguous protagonists. Fantasy works by writers typically associated with the horror genre are sometimes described as “dark fantasy.” Conversely, the term is also used to describe “darker” works by authors best-known for other styles of fantasy.

Fantasy, Urban

Urban fantasy is a subset of contemporary fantasy, consisting of novels and stories with supernatural and/or magical elements set in contemporary, real-world, urban settings–as opposed to ‘traditional’ fantasy set in imaginary locations.

Many urban fantasy novels are told via a first-person narrative, and feature supernatural beings such as vampires, shape-shifters, fairies, witches, sorcerers, and demons. Urban fantasy stories tend to have a high amount of suspense and action, and sometimes include mystery, romance, humor and/or horror in the plotline.

Horror

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Horror fiction is fiction in any medium intended to scare, unsettle, or horrify the audience. Historically, the cause of the “horror” experience has often been the intrusion of a supernatural element into everyday human experience. Since the 1960s, any work of fiction with a morbid, gruesome, surreal, or exceptionally suspenseful or frightening theme has come to be called “horror”. Horror fiction often overlaps science fiction or fantasy, all three of which categories are sometimes placed under the umbrella classification speculative fiction. Haunting is used as a plot device in horror fiction. Horror fiction is fiction in any medium intended to scare, unsettle, or horrify the audience. Historically, the cause of the “horror” experience has often been the intrusion of a supernatural element into everyday human experience. Since the 1960s, any work of fiction with a morbid, gruesome, surreal, or exceptionally suspenseful or frightening theme has come to be called “horror”. Horror fiction often overlaps science fiction or fantasy, all three of which categories are sometimes placed under the umbrella classification speculative fiction. Haunting is used as a plot device in horror fiction and paranormal-based fiction. Legends about haunted houses have long appeared in literature. For example, the Arabian Nights tale of “Ali the Cairene and the Haunted House in Baghdad” revolves around a house haunted by jinns. The influence of the Arabian Nights on modern horror fiction is certainly discernible in the work of H. P. Lovecraft. In his early years as a child, he would imagine himself living the adventures of the heroes in the book, and it inspired him to create his famed Necronomicon. Today horror is one of the most popular categories of film.

Paranormal

Paranormal books involve unusual experiences that lack a scientific explanation. Some popular subjects in paranormal books are supernatural creatures, ESP, clairvoyance, ghosts, UFOs, telepathy, and psychics. A subgenre of paranormal books and of romances is paranormal romance. These books focus mainly on the romantic relationships with a background theme of vampires, shape-shifters, ghosts, time travel, fantastical beings, and psychic abilities.

Paranormal Romance

Paranormal romance is a sub-genre of the romance novel related to paranormal fiction. Paranormal romance focuses on romance and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the genres of urban fantasy, traditional fantasy, science fiction, or horror. Paranormal romance may range from traditional category romances with a paranormal setting to stories where the main emphasis is on a science fiction or fantasy based plot with a romantic subplot included. Paranormal romance stories tend to feature a lot of romance, suspense and action, as well as some Paranormal romance is a sub-genre of the romance novel related to paranormal fiction. Paranormal romance focuses on romance and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the genres of urban fantasy, traditional fantasy, science fiction, or horror. Paranormal romance may range from traditional category romances with a paranormal setting to stories where the main emphasis is on a science fiction or fantasy based plot with a romantic subplot included. Paranormal romance stories tend to feature a lot of romance, suspense and action, as well as sometimes include mystery, humor and/or horror in the plotline. Common hallmarks are romantic relationships between humans, vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, fairies, demons, witches, sorcerers, ghosts, and other entities of a supernatural or otherworldly nature. Beyond the more prevalent themes involving vampires, shape-shifters, or time travel, paranormal romances can also include books featuring characters with psychic abilities, like telekinesis or telepathy. “Paranormal Romance: Romance novels in which the future, a fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are an integral part of the plot.”

Science fiction

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Science fiction (abbreviated SF or sci-fi with varying punctuation and capitalization) is a broad genre of fiction that often involves speculations based on current or future science or technology. Science fiction is found in books, art, television, films, games, theatre, and other media. In organizational or marketing contexts, science fiction can be synonymous with the broader definition of speculative fiction, encompassing creative works incorporating imaginative elements not found in contemporary reality; this includes fantasy, horror and related genres.

Although the two genres are often conflated as science fiction/fantasy, science fiction differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation). Exploring the consequences of such differences is the traditional purpose of science fiction, making it a “literature of ideas”. Science fiction is largely based on writing entertainingly and rationally about alternate possibilities in settings that are contrary to known reality.

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