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Encyclopedia > Popular fiction

Genre fiction is a term for writings by multiple authors that are very similar in theme and style, especially where these similarities are deliberately pursued by the authors. Well-known genres of fiction include romance, western, science-fiction, fantasy, crime fiction and mystery stories and novels. The word author has several meanings: The author of a book, story, article or the like, is the person who has written it (or is writing it). ... Romance or romantic can refer to: Romance (genre) - a style of Medieval narrative fiction. ... Western fiction is a genre of literature that is typically set in any of the American states west of the Mississippi River and between the years of approximately 1860 and 1900. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology upon society and persons as individuals. ... In literature, fantasy is a form of speculative fiction in which physical laws differ from our own through a reason for which no scientific explanation is offered, or which take place a world wholly different from our own. ... Sherlock Holmes, pipe-puffing hero of crime fiction, confers with his colleague Dr. Watson; together these characters popularized the genre. ... Mystery fiction is a distinct subgenre of detective fiction that entails the occurrence of an unknown event which requires the protagonist to make known (or solve). ... A novel is an extended work of written, narrative, prose fiction, usually in story form; the writer of a novel is a novelist. ...

Often as applied to written work the term "genre" is used pejoratively, suggesting not just similar writings but derivative and generally bad writing. Perhaps in connection with this, the term also suggests writing aimed at a particular audience of readers who are construed as having limited taste. It sometimes connotes a sort of literary "ghetto," to be contrasted with literature proper. Literary fiction is an antonym. A genre is any of the traditional divisions of art forms from a single field of activity into various kinds according to criteria particular to that form. ... Literature is literally an acquaintance with letters as in the first sense given in the Oxford English Dictionary (from the Latin littera meaning an individual written character (letter)). The term has generally come to identify a collection of texts. ... Literary fiction is a somewhat uneasy term that has come into common usage since around 1970, principally to distinguish serious fiction from the many types of genre fiction and popular fiction. ... Antonyms (from the Greek words anti = against and onoma = name) are word pairs that are opposite in meaning, such as hot and cold, fat and thin, and up and down. ...

Since the older term popular fiction was also contrasted with literary fiction, but is showing signs of obsolescence, it makes a certain sense at least to raise the query whether genre fiction is not simply the sucessor term. That is not to suggest that popular fiction of previous generations was necessarily tied to specific genres. Much of it was in fact at least formulaic.


Definitions of genre fiction

Only certain sorts of frequently repeated settings and plot devices are labelled "genre fiction," and the selection so labelled is somewhat arbitrary. Stories about detectives, fantasies about romance, or tales of space aliens are usually considered genre fiction, while tales of adultery in academia (the campus novel), of growing up Jewish in America, or of Beatniks wandering the Midwest are not considered genre fiction, though they may well be clichés. A plot device is a person or an object introduced to a story to affect or advance the plot. ... Detective fiction is a branch of crime fiction that centres upon the investigation of a crime, usually murder, by a detective, either professional or amateur. ... Romance or romantic can refer to: Romance (genre) - a style of Medieval narrative fiction. ... The existence of alien beings (intelligent extraterrestrial life) has been one of the enduring themes of science fiction. ... Adultery is generally defined as consensual sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than their lawful spouse. ... A professor is a senior teacher and researcher, usually in a college or university. ... The word Jew (Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination of these attributes. ... The term beat generation was introduced by Jack Kerouac in approximately 1948 to describe his social circle to the novelist John Clellon Holmes (who published an early novel about the beat generation, titled Go, in 1952, along with a manifesto of sorts in the New York Times Magazine: This is... Midwest States (United States of America, ND to OH) The Midwest is a common name for a region of the United States of America. ... A cliché (from French, stereotype) is a phrase or expression, or the idea expressed by it, that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty, especially where the same expression was at one time distinctively forceful or novel. ...

The attraction of genre fiction for both writer and reader is that using a genre plugs into a body of shared assumptions about the setting (generic conventions). The nature and purpose of dragons, warp drives, or shootouts at high noon are part of the body of shared lore that defines the genre; they need not be explained for the reader anew. Saint George versus the dragon, Gustave Moreau, c. ... The Enterprise-D goes into warp. ...


Many fiction genres can be traced to a small number of important or extremely popular literary works written before that genre came into existence. "Genre" fiction is portrayed as those works that seek, in some degree, just to emulate these paradigms. Science fiction began with Jules Verne and then H. G. Wells, as a recognisable genre. Horror stories and mystery stories can both be traced in large measure to Edgar Allan Poe and a few others. Existence is an ontological topic par excellence. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Jules Verne. ... H. G. Wells at the door of his house at Sandgate Herbert George Wells (September 21, 1866–August 13, 1946) was a British writer best known for his science fiction novels such as The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine. ... Horror fiction is, broadly, fiction intended to scare, unsettle or horrify the reader. ... Edgar Allan Poe - Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins/monobook/IE50Fixes. ...

The period 1900-1910 is a fertile one for the development by professional writers (some of them unashamed hack writers) of fictional genres of models and character types; often these prototypes were tried out in periodicals, and formed the basis of later pulp fiction. These innovators (for example M. P. Shiel) are often now largely-forgotten figures. There is also a hack disambiguation page. ... This article is about the magazine as a published medium. ... Pulp Fiction is a movie directed by Quentin Tarantino. ... M. P. Shiel (July 21, 1865 – February 17, 1947) was a prolific British writer of genre fantasy fiction, remembered mostly for supernatural and science fiction, published as novels, short stories and as serials. ...

Fantasy fiction

Much, perhaps most, contemporary fantasy is derivative of, or even plagiarised from, J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The fantasy genre is, however, much older and protean. In literature, fantasy is a form of speculative fiction in which physical laws differ from our own through a reason for which no scientific explanation is offered, or which take place a world wholly different from our own. ... J. R. R. Tolkien in 1916. ... Dust jacket of the 1968 UK edition The one ring of power The Lord of the Rings is an epic fantasy story by J. R. R. Tolkien, a sequel to his earlier work, The Hobbit. ...

It could be said that before Tolkien fantasy conventions had never been so clearly fixed. That would, though, be to omit the Gothic novel and ghost story. The supernatural fiction genre classification applies quite successfully to pre-Tolkien fantasy, to divide out science and adventure fiction from medieval or Celtic romances, ghost stories and horror in the sense of H. P. Lovecraft, whose Dream-Cycle could be considered dark fantasy. It was probably already obsolescent in the early 1950s when The Lord of the Rings was published. Michael Moorcock did much to revive alternate streams. The gothic novel is an English literary genre, which can be said to have been born with The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole. ... A ghost story may be any piece of fiction, or drama, that includes a ghost, or simply takes as a premise the possibility of ghosts or the belief of some character(s) in them. ... Supernatural fiction is a classification of literature used to describe fiction exploiting or requiring as plot devices or themes some contradictions of the commonplace natural world and materialist assumptions about it. ... H. P. Lovecraft Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890–March 15, 1937) was an American author of fantasy and horror fiction, noted for giving horror stories a science fiction framework. ... H.P. Lovecrafts Dream-Cycle, although often overlooked for his Cthulhu Mythos, is a huge entity in a good number of this master of the macabres fictional works. ... Michael John Moorcock (born December 18, 1939) is a prolific British writer of both science fiction and science fantasy. ...

Crossover works

Many works of undisputed literary merit do in fact bear the characteristic traits of one or another genre. The result is that fans of the genre will tend to treat the work as one of their own and as showing the value of that genre; while those who look down on genre writing will tend to deny that the work in question belongs to that genre at all. Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness and Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast are the works of science fiction and fantasy, respectively, most often taken seriously as literature in their own right outside of those genres; correspondingly critics are often hesitant to so classify them. A more extreme example would be Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, widely considered one of the most important novels of the century. It is never called science fiction, despite the fact that a great deal of fictional science is central to its plot. Ursula K. Le Guin at an informal bookstore Q&A session, July 2004 Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (born October 21, 1929), is an American author. ... The Left Hand of Darkness is a science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin, published in 1969. ... Mervyn Laurence Peake (July 9, 1911 - November 17, 1968) was a British modernist writer, artist, poet and illustrator. ... Gormenghast is a fictional castle of titanic proportions that features prominently in a series of fantasy works penned by Mervyn Peake. ... Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. ... Gravitys Rainbow - Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins/monobook/IE50Fixes. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... The Three Graces, here in a painting by Sandro Botticelli, were the goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity and fertility in Greek mythology. ... What is science? There are different theories of what science is. ...

Genre in general

The word "genre" also applies to film and television, but not to most others arts. On the other hand, popular media that are not generally treated as art are rarely categorized into genres either. This suggests again that "genres" are particularly categories of approaches to arts that are used as a simple tool for producing popular rather than good works. Film refers to the celluloid media on which movies are printed Film — also called movies, the cinema, the silver screen, moving pictures, photoplays, picture shows, flicks, or motion pictures, — is a field that encompasses motion pictures as an art form or as part of the entertainment industry. ...

See also: stock character, plot device, melodrama, formula fiction A stock character is a fictional character that relies heavily on cultural types or stereotypes for its personality, manner of speech, and other characteristics. ... A plot device is a person or an object introduced to a story to affect or advance the plot. ... A melodrama, in the broadest sense, is a serious drama that can be distinguished from tragedy by the fact that it is open to having a happy ending. ... In popular culture, formula fiction defines literature in which the storylines and plots have been reused to the extent that the narratives are predictable. ...

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