A subgenre is one of several categories within a particular. Most recognized genres have one. Think of them as blended families bent toward ADWD striving to break out and act like a grown-up genre, but with a gripe about compliance. Some fall off the nest, others snuggle in, and some are jettisoned. It’s not fair to start one that’s a mere reflection of an established genre, like mysteries puffing up to thrillers. Or horror comedies. Some wits say, after they earn an M.S.C.W in a spacey New England burb, subgenres got their start in ancient 700 BC Greek theater. Back then, there were only two recognized genres—comedy and tragedy. For instance, within the action genre, martial arts, kung fu, and wuxia.[1]

The thing about subgenres is its focus on specific aspects of its semi-genetic parent. In the music world, which allegedly is writing music, lyrics, screams, and odious sounds such as trash metal, death metal, and black metal.[2] Subgenres are not trends, tropes, or titillates. The most recent drop-in subgenres include these low riders. Horror, the umbrella genre begat Postpartum Horror. It straddles the bloody line between horror and thriller novels. “They are stimulated by bloody-sleep-deprived dark narratives of a body that has just given birth. Recent titles include The Push and Nightbitch.[3] Other catchy and revealing titles include the “Bad Mothers” genre, a drop down from Literary based on disenchantment with motherhood and questionable choices. Two titles here are “I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness” and “Burnt Sugar.”[4]

An upwardly moving subgenre is called Cli-Fi. Its umbrella genre is Science Fiction. CLI is short for climate science. The subgenre is often about burning world problems. It was first coined by Daniel Bloom.  It apparently expands the disturbingly relevant vein of science fiction that incorporates real climate science into short stories and novels. Global warming, melting ice caps, and unbreathable air populate these books set in dystopian future, and occasionally in our burning present. The mystery genre counted coup with its dropdown, Metatxural Mystery. These books follow the connecting tissue in mysteries—puzzle boxes as readers search plots for clues. Examples include The Magpipe Murders and The Eighth Detective. HopePunk was offloaded by Speculative Fiction. The gist is collective optimism in the face of adversity. These books look to escape the grimmer parts of the 2020s and the hopeful notion that the good is worth fighting for. The lead title is said to be N.K. Jemison’s Broken Earth Trilogy.[5]

“Experimentation in writings or setting a new trend has always been in vogue in literature since time immemorial, because people are incessantly in search of better and innovative ways to express themselves. Classic genres like Poetry, drama, Fiction, nonfiction have evolved into hundreds of subgenres to address the dynamic reality of modern times. The new social, cultural, political, and philosophical verities shaped by Twentieth Century modernism, postmodernism; mainstreaming of feminism, colonialism, and psychoanalysis; catastrophes of the two world wars, emerging environmental and global issues gave birth to the huge innovations in literature due to which 21st century witnessed the emergence of new genres and different styles of writings.”[6]

My fundamental opposition to our former president, over and above his narcissism, misanthropy, racism, and utter disregard for truth was that he didn’t read books. No books, no genres, no subgenres, no short stories, never an essay, or even a poem. He was our first and only nonliterary president. We should give thanks he isn’t a sub-genre, just a has-been.

[1] https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/what-is-a-subgenre-definition/

[2] https://filmlifestyle.com/what-is-a-subgenre/

[3] https://bookriot.com/new-book-genres/

[4] Ibid.

[5] https://bookriot.com/new-book-genres/

[6] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/358955041_Literature_and_innovation_Probing_into_the_Emerging_Genres_of_21st_Century

Gary L Stuart

I am an author and a part-time lawyer with a focus on ethics and professional discipline. I teach creative writing and ethics to law students at Arizona State University. Read my bio.

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