LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #23

Tarq mitchell_crouch at caladrius.com.au
Fri Nov 9 19:46:34 PST 2007

On Nov 10, 1:20 pm, Tom Russell <milos_par... at yahoo.com> wrote:
> On Nov 9, 9:59 am, Lalo Martins <lalo.mart... at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I guess more useful would be to describe works in a multi-dimensional
> > way.  Something like:
> > Story genre: drama, horror, mystery, action, humour, etc
> > Narrative/setting devices: sci-fi, magic, western, war, super-hero, etc
> > Medium focus: acting, music, dance, martial arts, what I call "non-human
> > performance" (car chase, aircraft or spacecraft dogfights or piloting
> > stunts, etc), imagery, and why not, sex
> I can see your general point, Lalo (and yours, too, Mitchell), but I'm
> going to have to disagree here.  I interpet the term "genre", which
> means a type of, kind of, or sort of something, much more broadly--
> that is, I interpet it to be any criteria used to categorize anyhting
> as a type of, kind of, or sort of.

I would define 'genre' as a category of story that can be told in any
variety of media. I *would* include sci-fi as a genre, simply because
it has elements unique to it that, while they can certainly be
implemented in other genres and crossed over in sub-genres, define the
genre as science fiction. Most superhero stories, for example, fit
under sci-fi; how did Spider-Man get his powers? Wolverine? Batman?

The difference -- what I see as a very clear distinction -- between
science fiction and musicals is that you can tell any sort of story in
a musical, but not any sort in sci-fi. Sure, you can *adapt* a text so
that's sci-fi, but that's a radically different sort of adaptation
then the one that goes from, say, novel to musical.

> Within each genre there are genres, and I suppose one could use your
> organizing system to arrange them into a sort of hierarchy.  But I
> wouldn't use that system to say that "science fiction" isn't a genre.
> Two examples to prove my point:
> People who are sci-fi nuts seek out science-fiction books, movies,
> whatever, _especially_.  The fact that there are things that make it
> science fiction-- largely a matter of setting but also a matter of the
> use of speculation and the reocurrence of certain themes-- things that
> appeal to these people, makes it by definition a genre.  It's a "type
> of" story that they like.

I concur.

> Secondly, even with such an organizational hierarchy in place, it
> doesn't make a sub-genre or sub-sub-genre any less of a genre: a
> dinosaur is an animal, and a dove is a type of dinosaur, and a pigeon
> a type of dove, and a parlor roller a type of pigeon.  But all of them
> are still animals.  A parlor roller is still an animal, and, indeed, a
> Champion Parlor Roller is still an animal.

Some might argue that doves aren't dinosaurs, but I know what you mean
(I was a heavy dinosaur nut until I was about ten; my sole goal in
life was to be a paleontologist). Just saying that that might not be
the best example to use if you were to present the same argument to
the broader public. =)

> And so, say, while the psycho-biddy genre, defined by the presence of
> two or more older women trying to kill/drive one or the other insane,
> also fits within the thriller and grand guignol and horror genres,
> it's still a genre in its own right-- in my opinion.

And what a hell of a genre it is.

> > And of course, on any of those dimensions, one given work may "tick" on
> > more than one choice.  In fact, the best sci-fi (in my opinion) always
> > does that; to go with easy examples, B5 uses sci-fi and war story
> > devices, while Serenity uses sci-fi and western.
> Well, there's no such thing as a horror story that's only horror and
> nothing else, or sci-fi that's only sci-fi and nothing else.

Yeah -- what's Star Wars without the Force and Luke kissing his

> ==Tom

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