The Problem of Genre

One of my biggest problems as a writer is that quite often it is very difficult to nail down the genres in which I write. It was easy in the beginning of my career when I wrote Innocent Until Proven Guilty, which was mystery/suspense. But then I started branching out on other types of books and things got, well, kind of confusing. Let me give you a bit of a run-down, and you’ll see what I mean:

Innocent Until Proven Guilty: A murder takes place in corporate America and then an executive frames another for the murder. Works well as mystery/suspense.

Leader of the Losers: A dystopian future where poverty and class distinction has been solved by eliminating the “losers”. Definitely science fiction.

72 Hours in August: During the 1991 August Coup in the Soviet Union, a plan is hatched to start a nuclear war before the coup is over. Suspense, but also historical, and kind of a mystery as well.

Destiny: The Tales of Reagul story that starts the whole series, except it takes place 3000 years after the beginning of the epic. Story begins with a space battle, turns into a fantasy trek across a mysterious land and then ends with another large space battle. Science fiction? Fantasy? Both?

Deadly Deceptions: In South Korea, a counterintelligence agent uncovers a blackmarketing operation that might actually be masking a major espionage cover-up. Guess that’s a suspense novel, or a thriller, or also a mystery.

The Ameriad: A humorous Greek epic that spoofs the Iliad and the Odyssey by turning the icons of American society into the “new” gods. No idea where this one belongs.

Absent Without Leave: A military criminal investigator uncovers a 20 year old crime that started with the framing of his father and leads to the political future of Texas politics. Mystery, maybe? Thriller? Suspense?

The Teddy Bear Conspiracy: A CIA agent, running an operation to defeat the Colombian drug lords, finds himself targeted by his own people, forcing him to finish the mission alone while someone within his organization is trying to kill him and take over the project. Suspense?

Thompson’s Bounty: A time-traveling Coast Guard cutter encounters 16th century pirates and is sucked into a battle between two naval commanders. Science fiction? Naval warfare?

A Season of Kings (my next novel): The first official book of the Tales of Reagul, which tells the story of a planet where science and magic are intertwined. Most of the story is fantasy, but the whole premise comes from an alien experiment, which basically makes it science fiction.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg, and I’m finding it really hard to market my books because none of them really fit into any solid genre. Or few of them do. I won’t even try to figure out where Plato’s Perspective fits in, as it’s a novel with the protagonist named Plato who may or may not be the actual Plato, and the novel’s point in time may be a bit confusing as well. It could end up being philosophy, science fiction, fantasy, mainstream, history, etc. I’m sure you get the idea.

duaneThe Problem of Genre

2 Comments on “The Problem of Genre”

    1. duane

      The Ameriad is probably a good start, as it’s a fun book to read (more humor but still a strong story going through it). For suspense, I’d start with Innocent Until Proven Guilty. Thanks for asking.

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