Any genre ideas?

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klbritt
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Any genre ideas?

Post by klbritt » September 14th, 2012, 11:38 pm

The YA novel I'm writing at the moment is set in the near future, however the characters in the book have been led to believe they live in a large colony that was built after wars broke out over the world. They believe there is nothing outside the colony where they live - but in reality, the world is just as it is now, albeit a tad bit more technologically advanced (i.e. human cloning is successful). Would this be considered science fiction? Or perhaps an alternate reality? Ugg - I think I dislike picking the genre. I intended this to be dystopian, but decided against it.

Any ideas? Why is this so hard for me? :shock:
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Re: Any genre ideas?

Post by LurkingVirologist » September 15th, 2012, 3:09 am

I think any use of the phrase 'human cloning' will get it pegged as sci-fi, regardless of how the rest of the book sorts out. Just sayin'. Does YA include many sub-genres of science fiction ('hard' science fiction, near future, speculative, etc.)?

Fun fact: identical twins are technically clones. OK, they aren't just 'technically' clones, they are clones. Nature is all kinds of crazy.

Fun fact #2: scientists have successfully cloned monkeys. The technical jump to humans probably isn't that big, although the relatively high failure rate adds to the already thorny ethical debate. Who knows, by the time your novel is done, it might not be science fiction anymore :shock: .
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Re: Any genre ideas?

Post by Shipple » September 15th, 2012, 7:52 am

I also shied away from labeling my manuscript because I wasn't sure whether it was magical realism or fantasy. I guess it could be both.

Sometimes I went with fantasy if the agent said they really liked fantasy. Other times, I conveyed most of the key elements, just called it a middle grade and let it go at that. In my opinion, the YA part is the most relevant b/c it conveys who the readers are and definitely says something about the book.

You could maybe call yours "light science fiction." Or simply say it's set in the near future when humans are more technologically advanced and let it go at that. I don't think an agent is going to reject something out of hand because you didn't place a genre label on it, although it may help them. If you can compare it other similar books-or maybe say it is most similar to ____ meets _____ and list some books whose writing style and feel are similar, I might go with that.
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polymath
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Re: Any genre ideas?

Post by polymath » September 15th, 2012, 10:38 am

Defining a genre for marketing purposes only asks that a writer demonstrate a basic appreciation of marketplace categorization principles. A suitable query letter would show that anyway. If science fiction, that's usually sufficient. However, in this case, due to fantastical social science premises being more prominent than fantastical science or technology premises, yours, kilbrit, is soft science fiction.

Defining a genre for a writer's writing processes might look at more specific category qualifiers. At least for planning, drafting, and reworking purposes if not for describing the intent of the creative vision to a focus group for developmental purposes, like workshops, critiques, beta readers, etc.

Shipple, magical realism and fantasy don't of normal course overlap in most marketplace categorizing. Fantasy premises relate to metaphysical aspects as do magical realism's; however, the differences are profound. Magical realism blurs the boundary between the real-world metaphysical realm and the mundane world. Fantasy takes the metaphysical as an integral part of the mundane realm. Magical realism's metaphysical is supernatural and spiritual in nature. Fantasy's metaphysical is paranormal and cultural. Magical realism's premises take natural world phenomena as spiritual and supernatural phenomena as routine. Magical realism involves a culture's religious belief systems. Fantasy involves a culture's folk culture belief systems (folklore).
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Re: Any genre ideas?

Post by Sommer Leigh » September 17th, 2012, 8:51 am

klbritt wrote:The YA novel I'm writing at the moment is set in the near future, however the characters in the book have been led to believe they live in a large colony that was built after wars broke out over the world. They believe there is nothing outside the colony where they live - but in reality, the world is just as it is now, albeit a tad bit more technologically advanced (i.e. human cloning is successful). Would this be considered science fiction? Or perhaps an alternate reality? Ugg - I think I dislike picking the genre. I intended this to be dystopian, but decided against it.

Any ideas? Why is this so hard for me? :shock:
It depends entirely on what the point of the story is, which is hard for us to consider without more information. My gut says no to dystopian, but it could be depending on how the colony society is structured. It could be sci-fi, but again, it depends on what the essence of the plot is. Cloning is something we can do now, and it is safe to assume that human cloning is not impossible if it were medically ethical to experiment with (which its not in our current society.) That alone does not make it sci-fi, unless the method of cloning is incredibly advanced AND it has immediate consequences on the story and not just an off hand detail of the society. If it doesn't come into play, it doesn't count.

(SPOILER ALERT) Margaret Atwood played with the concept you're talking about in The Handmaid's Tale where the main character's community thinks they are just like the rest of the world and are struggling to keep their population going through the practice of having handmaids stand in as surrogates for the wealthy, upper class. In reality the rest of the world is just fine and has been going about its business without all the crazy that's been happening in the little cult community. Her book was definately dystopian, though that wasn't a classification at the time she wrote it. Keep in mind that the term "dystopian" is used wildly incorrectly across the YA-verse.

It really depends on what your story is about, the essence of it. For example, romance story set in a technological future isn't necessarily sci-fi if the setting is incidental and the romance is the heart of the story - then it's just romance.

Basically, we need more info :-)
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