This post is linked up to the 2017 Book Blog Discussion Challenge.
I was reading my latest Shelf Awareness newsletter a couple of days ago, and I saw an advertisement for a book, professing the following:
I have to confess that it kind of made me laugh. This claim immediately made me think, The best Swedish crime novel? Is that even a thing? How hard is it to be the best Swedish crime novel of the year? Is that a terribly competitive market?
The question buzzed around in my head for a while, and so I investigated. Now, anyone who’s an actual fan of crime novels probably knows that Swedish crime novels really are “a thing.” After a quick internet search I discovered that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a Swedish crime novel. Even I’ve heard of that one. And apparently Stieg Larsson started a whole new craze. I found several groups and lists dedicated to Scandinavian crime fiction, in fact. Obviously, I wasn’t giving this little gem enough credit!
This made me wonder what other strange-sounding niche genres might be out there.
A search brought these to my attention:
- Bangsian: A fantasy genre that uses famous literary or historical individuals and shows their interactions in the afterlife … So, like Jane Austen hanging out with Tom Clancy? That could be interesting. (Apparently, this strange-sounding sub-genre is named for John Kendrick Bangs, who often wrote in it.)
- Sword and planet: A subgenre of science fantasy that features rousing adventure stories set on other planets, and usually featuring Earthmen as protagonists. Go Earthmen!
- Giant monsters: A story about a giant monster, big enough to destroy buildings (or eat a ship!). But, wait, not all giant monsters are bad. Just check out TIM: Defender of the Earth. He’ll save us all!
- Jiangshi fiction: Stories about jiangshi, the hopping corpses under the control of Taoist priests, derived from Chinese literature and folklore.
- Biopunk: A science fiction (or sci-fi horror) story that focuses on genetics and biological research. Apparently, you can just choose anything, make it sci-fi and then stick “punk” after it. How about some Chrispunk? Sci-fi Santa stories—could be a new revolution!
- Bizarro: Stories are purposefully strange, absurd, and surreal. The name suits it well.
- NASCAR-themed romance novels: Um, yep. Pretty much what it sounds like. This is really a thing!
- Epistolary: A story told exclusively through letters, emails, newspaper articles and other primary sources.
- Bildungsroman: Explores the education, development and coming of age of a young protagonist. Well, I guess I’ve read lots of these, but I sure haven’t heard that genre name before!
- Mundane Fantasy: This sub-genre is basically supposed to be simpler fantasy (in contrast to High fantasy or Epic fantasy). But, really, couldn’t they come up with a better name for this? I mean, why didn’t they just call it Boring Fantasy?
Have you read (or even just heard of) any strange sub-genres? I want to know!