I’m hosting a guest post today for the book tour for science-fiction novel “Prime”. The author talks about bending genres. I hope you enjoy the guest post!
Getting My Exercise from Bending Genres
Throughout the entire book-publishing process that I’ve been going through over the past few months, I don’t think I agonized more than over two drop-down menus.
For the benefit of people who have never published a book on Amazon, there is a stage in the process when you must choose two genres in which to place your book. You are confronted with two drop-down menus with dozens and dozens of categories.
This choice almost killed me. Prime, my first published novel, is firmly in the science fiction genre, but that isn’t good enough. Sci-fi these days includes a lot of diverse territory. And my problem was the book didn’t fit neatly in any one category.
While to story takes place on another planet, it isn’t really a space opera, since it’s not a grand, sweeping story of spaceships. Nor is it hard sci-fi, with endless details about the alien world, and the physics of it. Was it dystopian? Well, maybe, but that is generally reserved for stories about Earth falling into bad times. War, apocalypse, nothing really seemed to fit.
So what about non-sci-fi genres? It could be considered a coming-of-age story about a boy, Toch, who is the result of generations of genetic engineering—he’s a messiah-like figure (the Prime) who can free his race. The problem is that his ‘powers’ won’t emerge until his genes can mature. Or, since the story follows Toch and his friend as they try to avoid being captured by the planet’s oppressors, it’s an adventure story? But do readers of these genres expect a sci-fi overlay to their stories?
And since it involves kids growing into adults, is it young adult fiction, or even more appropriately, new adult fiction? (Incidentally, Amazon hasn’t yet introduced new adult as a category.) And as soon as the book is pigeon-holed as a youth-centred book, would that scare off adult readers?
And there is a love story element to the book—surely I shouldn’t categorize it under romance?
With so many sub-genres these days (I remember when bookstores had simple categories like ‘fiction’ and ‘poetry’ and ‘biography’) it’s harder and harder to categorize books that don’t exactly fit in one niche. I waffled for an eternity, trying to figure out where my book belonged.
And, on some level, I’m proud of that. If it did fit too neatly into a single genre, I would be worried that it was two-dimensional and not robust enough. As it is, this dilemma I found myself in proved that I had crafted a (hopefully) well-rounded book that might appeal to a wider cross-section of audiences.
That experience of writerly genre-angst has crossed over into my life as a reader. I find now I am more willing to explore other genres I had previous ignored, hoping to find hidden gems that defy their forced-upon categories.
About the Book
Author: Windsor Harries
Since birth, Toch has prepared for his destiny: to become the Prime, the being who would save his race from the oppressive Spidon. Perfected over uncountable generations, the genetic power that will free them lies dormant until he reaches maturity. Until then, with the help of his friend and Protector, he needs to stay hidden—and safe—from the Spidon.
Everything goes according to the Plan, until a traitor reveals the truth about Toch, putting the future of their entire race in danger . . .
Windsor Harries was born and raised in Toronto, Canada in the heady years between TV’s heyday and the internet revolution. He has been writing ever since he can remember. His early influences include Edgar Rice Burroughs and Doctor Who (Tom Baker, of course). For his mild-mannered secret identity, he works as a marketer in the financial services industry. He had written numerous books, but Prime is his first published novel.