Thursday 13 November 2014

The Joy of Cross Genre-ing a guest post by Erik Williams

Erik Williams: Website / Twitter

Erik Williams is a former Naval Officer and current defense contractor (but he's not allowed to talk about it).  He is also the author of the novel Demon and numerous other small press works and short stories. He currently lives in San Diego with his wife and three very young daughters. When he's not at his day job, he can usually be found changing diapers or coveting carbohydrates.  At some point in his life, he was told by a few people he had potential.  Recently, he told himself he's the bee's knees.  Erik prefers to refer to himself in the third person but feels he's talked about himself enough and will grant your eyeballs the freedom they deserve. 

Cross genre novels?  I guess you could say all genre novels, in some form, are a cross genre novel.  I mean, there is no such thing as a pure horror novel.  Often there are elements of historical fiction (like Interview with the Vampire), or crime and mystery (like Falling Angel), or even military fiction (like my recent novel Demon). 

The point is, genres overlap.  They always have.  However, there are that stand out more than other. 
You can see them practically bleeding multiple genres, and with awesome results.

So, here are five cross genre novels worth your time:

  1. Dying of the Light by George R. R. Martin.  I was going to list Martin’s Fevre Dream here (historical fiction meets vampires on the Mississippi) but Dying of the Light just sticks out more as a cross genre whammy of a book. It’s got blood magic, the resurrection of the dead, the world coursing toward apocalypse, while at the same time being a “hey, we’re getting the band back together” story.  It’s equal parts horror and strange love letter to 70’s era rock.Dying of the Light by George R. R. Martin                                                                                                                             
  2. Song of Kali by Dan Simmons.  Simmons has really delved, in recent years, into a lot of historical/horror fiction but, for me, Song of Kali is still his best.  It’s got horror!  It’s got mystery!  It’s got the most unflattering travel journal of Calcutta you’ll ever read!Song of Kali by Dan Simmons                                                                                                                            
  3. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers.  When you think about it, Tim Powers is probably the greatest cross genre writer ever.  You can take his whole catalogue and throw it up here.  But I’ll stick to what is probably his most popular book.  Time travel, Victorian London, murder, Egyptian mythology mixed with sorcery, people that might be immortal, disfigured crazy people living in the London sewers, oh and duplicates of people.  Yeah, try classifying this book under a single genre                                                                               .The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers                                                                                 
  4. VALIS by Philip K. Dick.  I don’t even know how to describe this book.  Sci-fi meets religious thriller?  Modern thriller meets philosophical exegesis?  Or simply a fantastical autobiography (I mean, Philip K. Dick is two characters in this book: the narrator and Horselover Fat (which is the German translation of “Philip” and “Dick” respectively).  No matter how you cut it, it’s a strange book but also fantastic.                                                                          VALIS by Philip K. Dick                                                                                   
  5. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.  You might say, “Hey, this is dystopian fiction. It’s not cross genre.” I respectfully disagree.  This is more than dystopian fiction.  You could also call it a psychological thriller.  A horror novel.  Hell, you could call it social commentary meets sci-fi meets crime.  However, to me, it is also an early rendition of the modern serial killer story.  I don’t say that because Alex is a serial killer (he isn’t).  I say that because he is absolutely a person who has an anti-social personality (a key ingredient in serial killers).  The novel’s examination of his personality (and attempts to alter him) is just as effective as any rendered in Thomas Harris’s novels                                                                  .A Clockwork Orange
Many thanks to Erik for the interesting post!

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