Talking Books with Nell part 4
Science Fiction is a broad term. I just learned that urban fantasy is included science fiction. Can you imagine? All these years I avoided the Science Fiction category at the bookstore when I really shouldn’t have. I was being biased. I was thinking Science fiction is strictly about aliens. Not. Fantasy can be included in science fiction or it science fiction can be included in fantasy. However you want to classify it. Urban fantasy, dark fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, mythological – all can be associated with science fiction. This is just one example why no one can agree. Which came first? Fantasy or science fiction? I’d say fantasy, but then someone else would debate a good point of view that could easily change my mind.
The mystery category is another favorite. You have your thrillers, police procedurals, noir, detective, cozy and the list goes on. I tried nearly all mystery classifications. There are mysteries that cross genre lines just like science fiction crosses genre lines too. Cozy mysteries are gentle mysteries with no graphic sex or violence and usually has a female protagonist that leads the investigation and she’s most likely not a professional police person. For example, I love this cozy mystery featuring a ghost detective. Aunt Dimity’s series by Nancy Atherton is pretty awesome. This series was published back when there were no electronic books (1993), so that series was a treasure to find when I could find it. I tried Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye Mystery by Victoria Laurie and loved it. She published in 2004 and is still going strong in 2017 with the release of book #15. There are a ton of cozies out there and they are easy to read. No mystifying symbolism or cryptic puzzles – just a relaxing escape whodunnit.
Thrillers are a little harder on the nerves. Someone is after someone else and I can always hear the footsteps behind me. An example of a thriller series is James Patterson‘s Alex Cross series. Or in Mr. Patterson’s poker playing buddy, Richard Castle‘s protagonist, Nikki Heat. Or Dean Koontz. In my opinion, Thriller and Suspense are sort of the same. Kind of. Suspense to me is when the detective gathers the group of suspects in a room and susses out the killer. Like Agatha Christie does in her books. Or Rex Stout with Nero Wolfe. Thriller or Psychological Thriller is more like Thomas Harris and the Hannibal Lecter series. *shiver* Those are the stories that I stay so far away from they could qualify as in a different hemisphere. Seriously, they don’t call me Nervous Nellie for no good reason.
Police Procedurals are focused on an investigation and the story is told from the detective inside the investigation. An example of thatcould be Max Allen Collins‘s CSI: Mortal Wounds. These books are told from the viewpoint of the actual CSI: Las Vegas characters. I devoured these books. Mystery books have always been my favorite. I started in the cozy section and gradually got more hard core-if you can call J.D. Robb‘s IN Death series hard core. Or maybe Kathy Reichs character Temperance Brennan series.
One of my favorite series totally crossed all genre lines. It was written by Justin Gustanis and the series is Occult Crimes Unit Investigations. Also, the Anya Kalinczyk series by Laura Bickle was another series that did not get a fair run. Another one is the Mindspace Investigations by Alex Hughes. The publisher cut that one off much to my dismay. It’s just not right.
I mentioned hard core a couple of paragraphs ago – actually, it’s called Hard Boiled. I like these too. This genre crosses lines of urban fantasy and science fiction. Hard Boiled is exactly what it sounds like. There is no cozy about it. The protagonist is most likely cynical, grumpy and…well…hard boiled. I like reading these types of stories because the characters are bad ass. For instance, Steven McHugh publishes the Hellequin Chronicles. Richard Kadrey publishes Sandman Slim. Sean Cummings put Tim Reaper out there too.
Join me next time for more “Talking Books with Nell”.
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