It was a dark and stormy night…Paul Clifford (1830) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
This line is quite arguably one of the most famous clichés in all of literature. It’s become so cliché, in fact, that I would venture that most people can quote it and that few people know of its origins. Of course, when Bulwer-Lytton first wrote it, it wasn’t a cliché. The opening to Paul Clifford — a tale about a highway robbery set during the French Revolution — has an obvious purpose: to set the mood for the book.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in 5th grade in 1989. I had a “Homeroom” class that was essentially flex time. We could do whatever we wanted if it was one of three things: homework, reading in a textbook, or reading from a set of specific books provided by the teacher. I read the books. I went through several that year, more than I can remember. A few stand out. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls is one of them. A collection of Edgar Allen Poe’s work is another. I don’t remember the specific title, edition, or publisher; but the book I ended up really falling in love with was a collection of Greek mythology.
In our modern age of relative enlightenment, many treat Friday the 13th the same way as they would International Talk Like a Pirate Day; by posting some amusing memes on social media and injecting it into their small-talk around the water cooler or coffee maker.
The history of the day is shrouded in the past like so many lurking monsters waiting to pounce from the shadows. There have been put forth several theories on the origins, but most fall apart under deeper scrutiny.
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Ray Bradbury (AUG 22, 1920 – JUN 5, 2012) was a prolific author who is credited with writing 27 novels and over 600 short stories, in addition to writing several film and television screenplays. His work helped shape the burgeoning genre of science fiction. He was awarded a Pulitzer Citation in 2007 for his “distinguished, prolific, and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.”
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Interstellar space travel, alien invasions, nuclear holocaust, and futuristic computers; what do all of these thing have in common? They are all elements found within science fiction literature. We looked at the history of science fiction in our last installment. Many works of science fiction fit nicely into a well established set of sub-genres, while others defy classification in their uniqueness. We already looked at several types of science fiction in our article on the ‘Punk genres (such as Cyberpunk,) but there are many more to discuss. In this installment in our genre studies series, I will be covering some of the broad classifications used to define works of science fiction literature.
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Our article on the ‘Punk genres, such as cyberpunk and steampunk, is now availbable.
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Like a mechanical octopus rising from the deep, the various ‘punk genres of speculative fiction can be surprising, amusing, and frightening! The ‘punk genres often blur the lines between different types of speculative fiction. They also share a lot of common themes, such as antiauthoritarianism and disestablishmentarianism. The commonality of these themes is largely responsible for the use of the word “punk” in their names. The views expressed in early cyberpunk works – which birthed the entire movement – reflected those of the punk subculture of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Also, don’t forget to check out my articles exploring the history and sub-genres of fantasy literature HERE, and be sure to follow the page and myself for updates on my upcoming series on the science fiction genre!
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Part three of our series on the fantasy genre has been published!
In this article, we take a deeper dive into the more niche sub-genres of fantasy literature.
In this second section of a three-part journey, I’ll be examining each of the major sub-genres of fantasy more closely. In the first part, we looked at the history and evolution of the fantasy genre as a whole. This time, we will be focusing more on the content and differences of the four major sub-genres of fantasy literature. In the third part, we will explore the more niche sub-genres and sub-sub-genres that tackle very specific themes.
Join me next for part three of The Fantasy Genre, where we will continue to explore the sub-genres of fantasy literature. This next installment will look at the more specifically defined subgenres such as urban fantasy, flintlock fantasy, and dark fantasy. See you again soon!