A Genre Map
I’ve got genres on the brain. I mentioned liking my genres jumbled when I reviewed Norse Code. I’m about to start reading Julian Comstock, which looks to be a literary, character driven, near future science fiction, post apocalyptic, steam punk, war novel. That’s a ton of sub-genres. I posted about noir and speculative ficiton and upon further thought that combination is even more pervasive than I’d considered. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around new weird. I’m a hard sci-fi fan that’s been reading more fantasy than sci-fi over the last year.
I’m not a fan of pigeonholing a book into a single genre. I prefer to drill down and see how many different ways I can label something, and thus, my work on TagShadow continues. In my pursuit to distill genres and the thousands of ways books get described into a simple visual, I picked up a copy of Visualizing Data. This is a very round about way to get at an insight I had (re purposed slightly from Chapter 1 of Visualizing Data) this morning.
Genres are like a subway map. They give us just enough information to get where we’re going, without confusing us with the intricacies of the streets and sky scrapers above our head ( or literary merit, social commentary or other complexities ). I illustrate this point with the map that was included in Ragamuffin. Drawn by Jonathan Bennett, this map distills a complex galaxy filled with countless intelligent species (and associated conflict) down to their stops on a wormhole network. Whether this map or the subway map of your favorite city, I think it illustrates my point. Labeling something SFF will tell you where to find it in a bookstore, but there’s a galaxy worth of nuance missing from that simple description.
I hope someone appreciates that I tried to get multiple meanings out of the post title.