Posts tagged ‘Grimspace’

On genres, categories, and pigeon-holing

sad-woman-drawingI’ve started working on my “Best of 2008” list and have hit a few snags.

One, is that I am completely incapable of limiting myself to a short list. No “Top 5″ or even “Top 10″ for me! At least not at this point. The best I can come up with (at least for now) is a few lists, based on genres or categories. That way, I can avoid apples and oranges comparisons between different kinds of books. For example, my reading experience and mindset of a murder mystery is quite different than they are than, say, if I’m reading an m/m romance.Adrien English Mysteries by Josh Lanyon

Of course if I’m reading an m/m mystery romance, than what I’ve just said is shot to hell. (I’m looking at you, Adrien English Mysteries!) Which brings me to another issue I’ve had working on this end of year stuff:

How limiting or helpful are genre designations?

Of course, some classification is necessary. I mean, I don’t want to walk into Barnes and Noble and have to sort thru auto repair manuals when looking for Lisa Kleypas. However, with many books being much more complex than a simple “romance” or “sci fi” story, how limiting are these classifications, and especially sub-classifications? How many hypenated, genre-slash-genres  must we come up with to accurately describe a work of fiction? (*coughMyFairCaptaincough*)

My Fair Captain by JL LangleyI struggle enough when I have to fill out a form, and they ask me a yes or no question, and expect me to check a box. I’m always thinking, “Yeah, but what about … (fill in any random extenuating circumstance here)?”

I’ve gone back and forth on whether to add genre notations on my booklists here on my blog. I feel like sometimes adding them will prevent someone from checking a book out, because they’ll see the genre or a sub-category of that genre, and think, “Well, I don’t really read … romance (or fantasy or sci fi or m/m)”  and then ignore a truly wonderful and worthy-to-be-read book.Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

Also, while categorizations are supposed to clarify things, and give us a sense of what to expect, sometimes they seem to create greater confusion about a book. Exactly where is the dividing line between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance? If a book is a “Sci Fi/Romance” (as is the case of Ann Aguirre’s excellent Grimspace) is it in the Sci Fi section or the Romance section? Won’t the placement mean that a whole group of readers will never consider reading it because they don’t consider themselves “Sci Fi readers” or “Romance readers”?

Another example:

I’ve been wanting my husband to listen to the audiobook of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. He’s a very open-minded reader (when we met in college his major/minor was Literature/Women’s Studies.) He loves historical fiction as much as I do, and always into novels with high-adventure content. He’s also a big fan of the Anita Blake series (tho’ he’s only read up to book 5 of that so far—no erotic Anita yet!) But, does the “romance” aspect of Outlander, a truly incredible novel, push it more into the “romance” category? I can’t imagine him reading a straight-forward romance.Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I’d be really interested in hearing your opinions on this topic.

I get the need for some genre categorizations, but do you think sub-genres are too limiting? Or are they helpful?

Are there books that you love that you might not have read if you had first known it was of a specific genre or sub-genre?

Does genre categorization make it easier to read thru long lists of books (like my Booklist and Read Books)?

Well, I guess I’ll get back to work on those end of year lists!

ETA: I LOVE all the books I’ve mentioned above. (You will probably see them on the aforementioned “Best of” lists. My problem isn’t with the fact that these books are cross-genre. It’s with the need to break them down into these categories.

December 8, 2008 at 12:43 pm 5 comments

Jax: Alpha-female heroine?

A couple of months ago I won a Wanderlust ARC from the Smart Bitches. I was thrilled, since I had just finished the first book in the Jax series, Grimspace, and loved it.
Here is Wanderlust’s back cover description:
Sirantha Jax is a “jumper,” a woman who possesses the unique genetic makeup needed to navigate faster-than-light ships through grimspace. Jax has worked for Farwan Corporation her entire career. But now word’s out that the Corp deliberately crashed a passenger ship, and its stranglehold on intergalactic commerce has crumbled–which meands that Jax is out of a job.
She’s also broke due to being declared dead a little prematurely. So when the government asks her to head up a vital diplomatic mission, Jax agrees to do it. Her madate: journey to the planet Ithiss-Tor and convince its inhabitants to join the Conglomerate.
But Jax’s payday is light-years away. First she’ll have to contend with Syndicate criminals, a stormy relationship with her pilot, man-eating aliens, and her own grimspace-weakened body. She’ll be luck juyst to make it to Ithiss-Tor alive…

Continue Reading September 19, 2008 at 12:24 pm 5 comments


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