Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mixing The Genres

By Leslie D. Soule
      So about a year ago, I began rewriting an old novel-length story I’d originally written in junior high. The problem was that it was written as a sci-fi/fantasy hybrid, as an experiment. I knew that rewriting this particular story would prove challenging, because I’d originally written medieval fantasy-genre weaponry into a sci-fi universe, and films like Star Wars led me to believe that I needed lasers or blasters or…light sabers!

      I talked about this dilemma with a friend of mine, who assured me that everything would be alright. Then, he loaned me Firefly.

      Firefly is a sci-fi work that includes, in one episode, a sword fight. Whaaaa….?  But not only is Firefly an amazing work of sci-fi that manages to incorporate older weaponry, it is also an excellent example of how to blend genres. In particular, it blends the genres of Sci-Fi and Western, and does so brilliantly.
      In my own writing, I often refer to a book by Orson Scott Card for the “rules” of things. This book is called How To Write Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Despite its rather unassuming cover, I believe it to be THE book on writing in these genres. However, the author states on page 22, “You must inform your reader as quickly as possible after the beginning of your story whether it’s going to be fantasy or science fiction.” Thus, he sets up a dichotomy and implies that a story cannot be both. Thus, we have an argument against hybridization. However, if no one ever mixed genres, we wouldn’t have Firefly. Did I mention how fantastic Firefly is? It’s a must-watch.
      So in closing, maybe there’s hope for my little hybrid after all. Watch for my current Work-In-Progress, a sci-fi/fantasy cross-breed featuring human/animal hybrids, called Hybrid Space. 

Books by Leslie:


Barbara Elsborg said...

That's reminded me - I need to watch that series. I bought the set and then never got round to it. But it was cancelled, wasn't it?
I know what you mean about mixing genres. I have a feeling it probably doesn't matter to anyone but us! If the story is good - then that's all that matters.

Susan W. said...

I never watched Firefly but a friend loved it and never missed an episode. She was so disappointed when it was canceled. I love reading hybrid stories of mixed genres. It's the whole otherworld/other dimentional feel that grabs my attention.