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Poll: What is your favorite genre of fiction?

Children's 7 (7%)
Fantasy 37 (39%)
Historical 5 (5%)
Horror 2 (2%)
Mysteries 5 (5%)
Romance 3 (3%)
Science Fiction 20 (21%)
Thrillers 4 (4%)
Young Adult 3 (3%)
I don't read fiction, you insensitive clod 8 (9%)
   Discussion: What is your favorite genre of fiction?
Josh Woodward · 16 years, 10 months ago
I just can't get into fiction novels. I'm a slow reader, and I have a short attention span. I can't even remember the last time I read one. I think it was back in college, but even then, I looked for notes online.
Erica: movin' to Ohio!! · 16 years, 10 months ago
i love them unicorns. and have i mentioned that my sister has sucked all of my artistic ability into herself? her dragon sketches are AMAZING. the scalework is so detailed. props to pigeon, bc we love her and she is SO TALENTED. i might have to do her in bc i can't handle the competition. ;)
Talcott · 16 years, 10 months ago
I'll read just about anything. In the end though, I prefer stuff that covers more than one genre. I tend to like some rooting in reality, but unless there's something particuarly unique about the style, not completly mundane. I also have a weakness for post-apocolyptic settings.

This all explains why I'm getting into the Dark Tower series so much :-)
Gordondon son of Ethelred · 16 years, 10 months ago
I voted for Fantasy but science fiction and horror are right up there with it. I also love mysteries and historical novels.
iPauley · 16 years, 10 months ago
I have a large number of Star Trek novels I read in high school, and enjoyed the lot of them. lately, though, I've been getting into Tom Clancy novels a lot... I'm reading The Sum Of All Fears right now (well, as time permits, and it doesn't often), and I insist on finishing that before I watch the movie. :)

-- Pauley
Bruce Rose Back · 16 years, 10 months ago

With the notable exception of Hunt For Red October, the movies have shared little more than the title with the books.  I can give you my pet peeve about the Ben Affleck movie, if you'd like... either before or after you see it.  Come to think of it, I could give you my favorite part as well.  Neither one qualify as spoilers.  If you're reading the book first, you may even have the same peeve. :-) 

Clancy is a tough one to convert to film anyway, since he spends so much time on development.

iPauley Back · 16 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, The Hunt For Red October was pretty dead on.  I've not read Patriot Games or Clear and Present Danger myself, but I've read about them, and know there are several plot points out of whack (the whole "But Dan didn't die!" deal with CaPD), plus the books took place in reverse order of the movies' releases.

The biggest gripe I've heard about the movie version of SoAF was that they completely changed the time setting in needing to recast Jack Ryan, trying to make him the action hero by himself to carry the story instead of using more of the continuing characters from the series.

I dunno, think Red Storm Rising would make a good miniseries?  Probably a touch too long for a single movie...

-- Pauley

Bruce Rose Back · 16 years, 10 months ago

With the length of movies increasing, Red Storm Rising might even fit into a single sitting.  But it would be better if they inserted an intermission, so you could get more popcorn. :-)  The problem is that there isn't a good villain role.  You can take that either as an individual villian or a 'national power' villian.  If you substitute another country, then you almost have to change the location (Iceland?)... which is too much of a change for Clancy fans to accept.  And Clancy-movie fans would spend too long wondering when Jack Ryan was going to come in and save the day.

You pegged my peeve.  I spent so much time trying to figure out what year it was that I couldn't really enjoy the movie.  That, and it was Ben Affleck (which is a completely different issue.)  The problem was that the movie removed 30 years of inactivity by placing the entire story in 1974.  Possible, but unexpected.

I won't say anything else about the movies until I see CaPD again.  Since I've only seen it once, my memories are a bit weak.

Have you read Without Remorse yet? 

iPauley Back · 16 years, 10 months ago

No, I'm waaaaaay out of order on my books.  I read THfRO in 9th grade or so, after seeing the movie a few times.  Later on, senior year, I bought Red Storm Rising as a something-to-kill-time-on-the-plane-ride-to-Orlando diversion while on my senior trip.

Really got into them (and started the hideously-out-of-orderness) after checking Executive Orders out of the RIT library one summer to, again, kill time while working at the Corner Store.  Bought my own copy partway through the read, and later bought Day Of Honor (to which EO was the sequel, for those scoring at home....  or even if you're by yourself  ), followed by Rainbow Six, and am now currently working on SoAF.

I'm not sure which Clancy novel I'm reading next, but then, I also know I've got a hardbound volume containing 6 Hitchhikers' stories (the 5 novels and a 6th short story) that I haven't read yet.  I've decided that should be next.

-- Pauley

Talcott Back · 16 years, 10 months ago
Yes. Yes it should be :-)
iPauley Back · 16 years, 10 months ago

I also expect this to open up the floodgates on a buttload of in-jokes I never understood before. ;)

-- Pauley

iPauley Back · 16 years, 10 months ago

In regards to the 'national power' villian...  hey, it "worked" once, just stick to the original time settings of the book, mid to late '80s, and keep the Soviets.

I hope (but don't expect) there are enough folks out there that realize there's more to Tom Clancy than just the Ryanverse...  even though he didn't write them all, his concepts are in things like OpCenter, and the like, and they didn't have Jack Ryan.

-- Pauley

Laura P. · 16 years, 10 months ago
What about just straight up literary fiction?

I voted "mysteries" though because they are my second favorite. I looooove Dorothy L. Sayers!
Agent Scully Back · 16 years, 10 months ago

That's what I was looking for.

I didn't vote because the classifications didn't fit what I read.

It's a girl! Back · 16 years, 10 months ago
Exactly.  I voted for childrens because, of the choices, that's the genre I most enjoy reading.   But right now I am reading and enjoying Immortality by Milan Kundera. It jumps around from a writer musing about his novel, to excerpts from the novel in question, to anecdotes about Goethe, all while reflecting on the nature of immortality.  Just how would one classify this novel?
Jan Klump Back · 16 years, 10 months ago
Yep. I'm with you on your post.
Jan Klump Back · 16 years, 10 months ago
Yep. That's my vote, too.
Joe Navratil · 16 years, 10 months ago
...but what genre of fiction, exactly, would you classify books like "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay"?

And on top of that, I'd have to say that the majority of my fiction reading recently has been comic books. And White House press releases.
Talcott · 16 years, 10 months ago
"there's a difference between fiction and genre fiction"

There is?
Talcott Back · 16 years, 10 months ago
see, and there you go responding at the same time I'm responding :-)

"Stories that have a distinctive form, style, or content are referred to as genre fiction "

But that's every thing other than some of the more experimental pieces. I could just as eaisly split up the "classics" into catagories and then label them all as "genre". It's a meaningless distinction.
Talcott Back · 16 years, 10 months ago
Hmm, two threads of the same debate between the same people is getting confusing. I'm going to try to use my magical powers to merge them into one.

"the fact that plot, not character, is the driving force in genre fiction is important, too."

Alright, but that's a completly different cut than spliting "classics" from the genre catagories listed in the poll. Look at all of the sci-fi that's blatently Shakespeare in Space. Now apart from issues of originality (which is neither here nor there), the driving forces are the same.

"humans strive towards organization, and that includes the books."

We do, and I wouldn't argue that all writing can be placed (however awkwardly) into a genre. What I object to is the idea that the "classics" are somehow separate from all of "genre fiction" any more than "mystery" is apart from "science-fiction".

"but until then i think it's useful, if i want a brain candy mystery, that i can just go to the uncatalogued mystery shelf and pick one up. it's a high-circ area - it must be working"

That's fine, and I don't mind the idea of setting up a mystery section, a horror section, etc. But there's no real reason why a mystery book written today is more brain candy than Sherlock Holmes.

"but for the librarian it's all about the best way to provide access to the material."

Ok, but that's an orginizational issue, that doesn't define the books themselves, only where you can find them. In a lot of grocery stores, the cans of refried beans are placed away from the other canned foods by the taco fixin's, but I could still consider them canned food. From a librarian perspective, I can see the need to group "classics" in one physical section, but I don't think that their placement on a shelf means there is a difference between them and the rest of fiction.
Talcott Back · 16 years, 10 months ago
But how do you make a genre (or section if you'd rather) based on originality? All stories melt down to a few basic plots. All characters can be taken back to a few archetypes.

Even going off more specific examples. Sure, science fiction is full of people doing the same thing Wells and Verne did, who did the same thing that Swift did. "Literary fiction" is the same way though. There might be more sci-fi/fantsay/mystery/romance comming from the same branch, but that's a matter of there being more of those printed. There were waves of Coupland-esque novels that came out after Generation X got big. For a more recent example all of the Sex In The City inspired books, or the "semi-autobiographical stories about comming of age in a repressive small town" books.

All of those would be just as much genre books as Pratchett or Adams. More so, really, if you were dividing by originality.

Going strictly by the book, there need to be either many more generes that are never touched on as such ("modern generational statement", "ironic look at contemporary dating", "yet another touching book about my dying relative") and then have a seperate, very small, section for the original books, (which sounds more and more like Plato as I type that).

I can see the point of genres for sorting by theme, setting, and/or other elements (including age-range, geographic interest, and otherthings outside of the book itself), but quality is too much of a subjective thing to base orginization on. That's not to say that random fantasy novel X is better than Swift (or Coupland) just because I like it, but just because a book is published in a "genre" doesn't mean that it's worse than them either.

Classifying these groups as genre, as opposed to "literary" and "classical" fiction, only places artificial importance on the "non genre" books. I'm not saying that influential and original books shouldn't be celebrated and singled out, but that does not remove the books from their genre catagories.

Bruce Rose Back · 16 years, 10 months ago

Let me start by saying that I really appreciate the genre debate.

I had the same sort of problem with the genre sorting at our radio station.  The person who reviewed a particular disc was responsible for determining its genre.  So, when I reviewed a Great Big Sea disc, I listed it as folk (which may have been wrong, but that's not the point.)  Someone else had reviewed the exact same disc and placed it in world (which is a catchall, really.)  Since the whole point of genrefying was to introduce the programmers to artists they may not be aware of without throwing their show off, having multiple copies worked well.  We could only enter one into the database, but that's a software limitation.

That system which contributed to more airplay also kept the Kennedys out of some playlists.  The reviewer had placed them into rock-mainstream, and I kept looking for them in folk.

For my personal (music) library, I use an alphabetical arrangement.  It works because genre doesn't figure into my selection.  Of course, even in that statement, I'm steeped in hypocracy.  I have various artists discs selectively inserted and classical and holiday in independent areas.  For my use, it works.  But in a more public area it wouldn't, given that someone looking for something 'close to Weezer' would end up with Gillian Welch.

I don't know if I had a point, but I pretty sure that if I did, I didn't make it.  Carry on. :-)

Gordondon son of Ethelred · 16 years, 10 months ago
I put in YA with you in mind, you better have voted for it.

I"m glad you pointed out there is a difference between fiction and genre fiction. I couldn't figure out how to do that in the question. I didn't put in Classics because they aren't genre fiction.
Talcott Back · 16 years, 10 months ago
Why not?
In three hundred years, would Vonnegut (or Tolkien, or whoever really) be shelved in "Classics"? If Dickens never existed, and next year someone wrote Oliver Twist would that be a classic? What about Wells or Orwell? Is it a matter of being published as a paperback, and sold in an airport?

Does the setting make it "genre"? Is it the literary quality?

The whole concept that there are these magical forms of "genre" and "classic" (and, depending on who you're talking to, "literary") has always rubbed me the wrong way.

Good or bad can still be debated, but the whole split between genre and classic is completly arbitrary.
no one Back · 16 years, 10 months ago
categories are never perfect, but they're useful. humans strive towards organization, and that includes the books.

So true in principle and it is very practial. On a personal level though, I don't know whether to place Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker series among the science fition books or humour. Is Robert Graves's I, Claudius even fiction? Conversely, how could I think of Malcolm Muggerige's Jesus as non fiction? Where the fuck does Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing slot in? Ergh, someone help me with classifying Crews's The Pooh Perplex please? And, surely, 1984 is not really fiction at all? It is politics or philosophy (no, no, let's not get into that!) dressed up as science fiction, as is Brave new World.

There is no way I could pick a favourite genre of fiction. Man, to me the boundary between fiction and non fiction looks pretty blurry. Luckily I don't have many, err, uhm, yes, fiction type books, so they just sit on my shelves sorted by author or editor.

If I wasn't an atheist I would shout out: "God bless the librarians," because only someone like you could sort my books.

Once youv'e done my fiction, you can start on the non fiction. Now here I have the philosophy books next to the science books, then there are the philosophy of science books, history, philosophy of history, sociol...

ah SHIT!
Gordondon son of Ethelred · 16 years, 10 months ago
Of course genres are more marketing devices than anything else. A given piece can combine many genres. There are plenty of horror/fantasy and some of my favorite books are historical mysteries like the Brother Cadfael series.
emilie is CRANKY · 16 years, 10 months ago
caaaaaaaaaan't deciiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide :P
Janos · 16 years, 10 months ago
And Fantasy. I can't decide whether Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones novels would be considered one or the other ;) To me, they have an equal amount of both. Kind of.
dirty life & times Back · 16 years, 10 months ago
or are they young adult?

diana wynne jones is usually called that, anyhow. if they're both young adult, young adult is my favourite :)
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 16 years, 10 months ago
Terry Pratchett is pure fantasy? I don't see any science fiction elements? The core of his world not scientific principles.
Bruce Rose · 16 years, 10 months ago

Maybe if I list authors, someone can tell me.

Tom Clancy
John Lescroart
Mercedes Lackey
Richard North Patterson
James Patterson
John Grisham (occasionally)
Patrick Robinson
Michael Crighton (but really only Rising Sun)

and I really liked The Perfect Storm... I think that was Sebastian Junger

I marked thrillers.  Was I right?

[edited for readability]

Joe Navratil Back · 16 years, 10 months ago
and I really liked The Perfect Storm... I think that was Sebastian Junger

Most of the Junger stuff ("essays", like the collection Fire) I've read would qualify as non-fiction, I think -- how far away from "based on a true story" do you have to get to really qualify as fiction? Is it the first time you put words into someone's mouth?

Either way, that's some good reading.
Bruce Rose Back · 16 years, 10 months ago

That was a tough one to put in the list.  He tells a very compelling story, but we can't really know if his telling is an accurate portrayal of events.  He's certainly done his research... but the point is: We don't know.

I'm almost afraid to broach this topic, but... we're here.  Where does the bible fit in?

no one Back · 16 years, 10 months ago
As nobody is silly enough to take me seriously I feel free to opine that the old testament belongs to action/horror and the new testament to fantasy.
Will work for anime · 16 years, 10 months ago
i see no one's voted for Historical as of yet. I voted for fantasy as that's what takes up most of my library, but i love history as well....i guess that's why i'm reading Quicksilver, by Neal Stevenson
right now...historical fiction based around the late 1600s-early1700 is Europe...albiet it is fiction the setting and some of the "true" characters are fascinating.
Adam Hartfield Back · 16 years, 10 months ago

I voted for historical!

Love love love Margaret Jones' work (Mary Queen of Scots, Henry VIII, Cleopatra, Mary of Magdelene) as well as The First Man in Rome series by Colleen McCullogh...those have been my favorite books of the past decade. I've had the latest book in the FMiR series for about 18 months now and am trying to work through stuff I've had for longer before I allow myself the treat.

(I was a history major and a Classics minor...hmmmmmmm)

100% dainty! · 16 years, 10 months ago
Weetzie Bat fans represent!!!

I like straight-up literary fiction the best, but after that it's young adult all the way. all the newbery books, yah!
stealthlori · 16 years, 10 months ago
I devour fiction of many stripes, including fantasy, mystery, and children's,, but my favourite books  tend to be of the semi-contemporary and semi-literary "genres".  The MBLABOA list, etc. 
Doktor Pepski, kommie · 16 years, 10 months ago
My taste is definitely science fiction in just about every media, be it film, television show, and literature.

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