When you open that Pandora’s box of fiction, you will find so many genres you didn’t know even existed! There are genres and sub genres, the list could go on! We found these genres fascinating!

  • Bangsian: The Bangsian genre in fiction is named after John Kendrick Bangs, who is a popular writer of this fantasy genre, in which popular historical figures interact with the afterlife.  Bangs is not the first writer who wrote this, but his writings were what gave it a concrete shape. There are three main categories that Bangsian stories fall into: ghosts stuck in the living world, living people stuck in the world of the dead, and people who have died in a Heaven (or Hell). Examples of this genre are:
  1. The Ghost Bride by Yangzee Choo
  2. Damned by Chuck Palahniuk
  3. God Bless You, Dr Kevorkian by Kurt Vonnegut

Shenmo: Shenmo is another genre in fiction which is also known as ‘Gods and Demons’ fantasy and is founded on Chinese mythology. The word ‘shenmo xiaoshuo’ means ‘fiction of gods and demons’. It was coined in the 20th century by writer and literary historian Lu Xun. Shenmo Fantasy is a sub-genre featuring the deities, immortals, and monsters of Chinese mythology. Shenmo stories are written in a vernacular style; based on spoken Chinese rather than Classical Chinese. Examples of this genre are:

  1. Journey to the West by We Cheng’en
  2. The Investiture of the Gods by Xu Zhonglin

Bildungsroman: Bildungsroman is a ‘coming of age’ novel with specific focus on the psychological, moral, and social shaping of the a character, who is usually the protagonist. The genre/term was coined during the German Enlightenment. Some examples of Bildungsroman are:

  1. Jane Erye by Charlotte Bronte
  2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Hard-boiled: Even though this genre shares the setting and characters of crime fiction, it’s more realistic and naturalistic in nature. Detectives in hard-boiled fiction are much more cynical and somber, the (usually urban) setting is more seedy, and the writing is more graphic and violent. The dialogue is quick and filled with slang. Books of this genre include:

Double Indemnity by James M. Cain

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson

Feminist Science Fiction: This sub-genre is of soft science fiction and deals particularly with women’s roles in society, and reflect the anxiety and trepidation that women have about their future. It’s often set in a dystopian world with heightened gender inequality, reflecting the need for continued feminist work (in the real present). Books of this genre include:

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

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