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Wednesday Extra: What Makes A Genre?

January 11, 2012

I was chatting with Willow whilst writing an article for uni, talking about whether the girls from Sucker Punch (yes, that again) were good examples of sci-fi heroines or not.

At which she looked at me oddly and went ‘Would you call Sucker Punch science fiction?’

The question totally threw me – I mean, it couldn’t be anything else, right? The guns, the trains, the origin story and creepy asylum stright out of a comic book, the Inception-style dream-within-a-dream-within-Gods-knows-what. If not science fiction, what the hell was it?

Turns out she had a lot of answers: ‘Fantasy, pastiche, bit of steam-punk, bit of wuxia, bit of…’

Huh. Turns out they sounded a bit more accurate. And then I thought about it, and it was a gender-retelling of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest too.

It happens a lot, especially in the nebulous field of science fiction and fantasy, with about ten thousand sub-genres between them. Which films/books have you found it hard to pin a genre to?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2012 7:42 pm

    Dare I mention *that* comic again? At the broadest possible level you could call it a supernatural drama, but it also does horror, action/adventure, historical, urban fantasy, folkloric fantasy, speculative fantasy, surrealism and even semi-Biblical fantasy.

    • January 12, 2012 8:14 pm

      God, that thing does it all.
      I have to say, my favourite is when it’s doing Biblical fantasy (so far). That chapter in Hell was stunning, and right up my street. Its horror bugs me, but makes it for it with the urban fantasy awesome.

      Just. Just. GAIMAN…

      • January 13, 2012 12:59 pm

        Volume 2 though! The Collectors conference and the Corinthian? That shit is fucked up >.< And how great is it you can have a comic where Funland, Lucifer, Titannia, Death and Shakespeare as characters and have it all fit together thematically?

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