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On Genre - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
estherchaya
estherchaya
On Genre
As a result of an odd conversation my boss and I ended up in, I am curious about how you, my faithful readers (hah!), classify books. I find it difficult to classify books into just one genre a lot of the time. Anywho, a not-so-brief survey appears below. The titles were all picked for a specific reason, which I'll explain at a later date if I get around to it. I have purposely used radio buttons and not check boxes, because I am trying to get people to commit to an answer, rather than saying it's both. But I was nice enough to include the cop-out "Speculative Fiction" for those of you who are afraid of committment. ;) (Though in all honesty, I think Speculative Fiction is a legitimate category...I'm just poking fun now)

Poll #524413 Genres

What genre is Beowolf?

Fiction
2(16.7%)
Science Fiction
0(0.0%)
Fantasy
6(50.0%)
Historical Fiction
4(33.3%)
NonFiction
0(0.0%)
Speculative Fiction
0(0.0%)

What genre is The Iliad?

Fiction
3(25.0%)
Science Fiction
0(0.0%)
Fantasy
5(41.7%)
Historical Fiction
4(33.3%)
NonFiction
0(0.0%)
Speculative Fiction
0(0.0%)

What genre is Frankenstein??

Fiction
2(16.7%)
Science Fiction
6(50.0%)
Fantasy
2(16.7%)
Historical Fiction
1(8.3%)
NonFiction
0(0.0%)
Speculative Fiction
1(8.3%)

What genre is Around the World in 80 Days?

Fiction
4(33.3%)
Science Fiction
5(41.7%)
Fantasy
0(0.0%)
Historical Fiction
1(8.3%)
NonFiction
0(0.0%)
Speculative Fiction
2(16.7%)

What genre is On Dragonwings?

Fiction
0(0.0%)
Science Fiction
0(0.0%)
Fantasy
6(75.0%)
Historical Fiction
0(0.0%)
NonFiction
0(0.0%)
Speculative Fiction
2(25.0%)

What genre is So You Want to be a Wizard?

Fiction
0(0.0%)
Science Fiction
0(0.0%)
Fantasy
9(90.0%)
Historical Fiction
0(0.0%)
NonFiction
0(0.0%)
Speculative Fiction
1(10.0%)

What genre is The Tempest?

Fiction
3(25.0%)
Science Fiction
0(0.0%)
Fantasy
6(50.0%)
Historical Fiction
1(8.3%)
Speculative Fiction
2(16.7%)

What Genre is Star Wars?

Fiction
0(0.0%)
Science Fiction
3(25.0%)
Fantasy
3(25.0%)
Historical Fiction
0(0.0%)
NonFiction
0(0.0%)
Speculative Fiction
0(0.0%)
Space Opera
6(50.0%)

What genre is A Wrinkle in Time?

Fiction
1(8.3%)
Science Fiction
3(25.0%)
Fantasy
6(50.0%)
Historical Fiction
0(0.0%)
NonFiction
0(0.0%)
Speculative Fiction
2(16.7%)

What is the first Science Fiction Novel?

Around the World in 80 Days
1(9.1%)
War of the Worlds
4(36.4%)
Frankenstein
4(36.4%)
The Return of the Black Widowers
0(0.0%)
From the Earth to the Moon
2(18.2%)

Please recommend one book (of any genre) to me.

Tags: , ,
Current Mood: amused amused

12 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: gittygiggles Date: July 1st, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
i feel stupid. i've never heard of half those books.

did you know wrinkle in time is a MOVIE???????
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: July 1st, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I believe it was a small-screen (i.e. made-for-tv) movie. And I heard not amazing things about it, so I didn't see it.

And I didn't expect everyone to have heard of all of the books.
From: gittygiggles Date: July 1st, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
i really liked the movie :) you can borrow my copy :)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: July 1st, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
and P.S. I haven't read all of the books I've listed.
From: gittygiggles Date: July 1st, 2005 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
i havent even HEARD of all of them! i put speculative fiction for all the ones i didnt know
lionsaoi From: lionsaoi Date: July 1st, 2005 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. I've read or seen nearly everything listed.

This was difficult, as I wasn't sure if I was to mark the genres as they were initially intended (ie, Beowulf as history) or as they would be percieved today.

hmm... I really am a postmodernist
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: July 1st, 2005 07:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was asking you to classify them as YOU perceive them, not as scholars perceive or perceived them.

Also, if you feel like you've got multiple answers (because of the whole "the author intended this, scholars perceive this, and I believe this" thing), feel free to put those answers in the comments.
(Deleted comment)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: July 1st, 2005 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I could only put so many categories without getting even more pedantic than I was being. So I figured people could stick all subcategories in "Fiction" which is why i didn't just put "general fiction."

As for the Tempest... I brought it up because Wikipedia says this:
Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology upon society and persons as individuals. The borders of this genre are not well defined, and the dividing lines between its sub-genres are often fluid. (In Strong Opinions, Vladimir Nabokov half-seriously argues that, if we were truly rigorous with our definitions, Shakespeare's play The Tempest would have to be termed science fiction.)


I've never read "On Dragonwings" but it's a book by Anne McCaffrey. I maintain that it's at least got an element of fantasy. Seth maintains that it is pure Science Fiction.

"So You Want to be a Wizard" is, in my opinion, solidly in the Fantasy category and is an excellent book. You should read it. I first read it the summer that I discovered Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique. I listed to it over and over and over while I read the book (it's short) over and over.
yermie From: yermie Date: July 1st, 2005 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
My views:
Beowulf - Historical fiction. ("Based on a true story") Something happened, one guy killed another, and his mother, and it turned into a legend of good vs evil...

Illiad - Historical Fiction - some events happened, some are extensively embellished, some are fully made up.

Frankenstein - Fiction - I haven't read it in years, but I think it dealt more with some of the characters, rather than just the monster's killing sprees, or with the mechanics of creating the monster.

80 days - haven't read, sci fi.

Dragonwings - huh? fantasy

...wizard - huh? fantasy

Tempest - speculative - been too long since I've read it to remember much about it.

Star Wars - torn. Put space opera, because that's what it's always called, but there's no singing. (and that's what the world needs, darth vader running around singing "I feel pretty"...) It's a speculative look at a future history of an area with differently advanced scientific principles and the fantasy elements of magic. So, yes.

Wrinkle in time - never read. fantasy

1st sci fi novel... hm... I'd go with either of the jules verne options here.

Of course, these aren't even my opinions, so I'm probably wrong.
glenbarnett From: glenbarnett Date: July 2nd, 2005 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)

Hard to fill out because my desired options were frequently absent.

For example, Frankenstein is partly Science Fiction, but it's also Horror. And a morality play. And a powerful argument against her husband's philosophies.


malkin From: malkin Date: July 2nd, 2005 11:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh boy, I'm not even digging into this one. But, I'll say this:

1.) I can't even classify my own stories, and
2.) Dante's "Inferno" is a Mary Sue fanfic, but surely not the first. ;)
12 comments or Leave a comment