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Old 05-22-2016, 08:35 PM   #1
felixgallus
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Historically Accurate Zombie Fiction, what genre?

Hi Guys,

I'm writing a novel based in Roman Britain, it is historically accurate but it includes zombies, what genre would you put it in when it comes to marketing it?

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Old 05-23-2016, 04:24 AM   #2
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Fantasy or SF, depending what you describe the origin of the zombies to be. Fantasy if it's magic, SF otherwise.

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Old 05-24-2016, 11:10 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Fantasy or SF, depending what you describe the origin of the zombies to be. Fantasy if it's magic, SF otherwise.
Or horror, if appropriate....


But for purposes of listing on sites like MR, where we may see genres like "Historical Fantasy LBGT Christian Hooligan Family Crime Comedy."* You might want to simply state the couple genre components which you think most appropriate"
"Alternate History Zombie Musical" or whatever,

(*I made that up, but not by much)
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Old 05-24-2016, 11:23 AM   #4
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I've always regarded "alternative history" as a subset of SF. There are of course authors who specialise in this field, such as Harry Turtledove and Stephen Baxter.
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Old 05-24-2016, 11:34 AM   #5
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I've always regarded "alternative history" as a subset of SF.
Really? I recall reading "If the South Had Won The Civil War" in High School.* It was based the premise that General Grant died in an equestrian accident at the beginning of the war, IIRC. No science (fictional or otherwise) or fantasy involved in any way.
That pretty much set my assumption for what the term meant.
It is indeed frequently combined with SF, but on the Venn diagram, I see it as an intersection, not a subset.

*OK, I never read anywhere near the whole book, I found it excruciatingly boring. But I was assigned it, and it helped cure insomnia for several nights. Put me right out.

ETA: I just looked up the book to refresh my memory. It looks like some people really like it. And it has an introduction by Harry Turtledove.

OK, back to the topic. As you were.

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Old 05-24-2016, 02:34 PM   #6
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Fair enough. I've always considered that any book which portrays a different world to the one we live in counts as SF, regardless of whether or not it has science in it (unless it has elves and magic, in which case it's probably fantasy ).

A good example is Stephen Baxter's "Northland" trilogy, which describes a world in which the course of history in Europe and Asia (and ultimately the entire world) is completely different to that of our world, all because of a decision made by one woman around 5000 BC. There's no science in it; it's essentially a trilogy of historical novels - but not our history. Nonetheless it's published by Gollancz SF.

Hence I would also consider a novel set in Roman Britain with zombies to be SF.

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Old 05-25-2016, 04:53 PM   #7
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A good example is Stephen Baxter's "Northland" trilogy, which describes a world in which the course of history in Europe and Asia (and ultimately the entire world) is completely different to that of our world, all because of a decision made by one woman around 5000 BC. There's no science in it; it's essentially a trilogy of historical novels - but not our history. Nonetheless it's published by Gollancz SF.
Not familiar with it but I just looked at a plot summary.
I would guess that either:
1. It's SF because the people in the book developed comparatively advanced civil engineering abilities before they otherwise would have.

OR

2. Since Baxter is an award winning SF author, the publisher was going to darn well bill the book as SF if they could in any way sell the arugment, regardless of its appropriateness.

I mean, if someone wrote a book about a village of stone age people, their political struggles, love lives, adventures, whatever, which was rooted in historical research, but NOT alternate. Just a fictional story set in a stone age village, rather than in modern city, what genre would that be?

If merely being alternate history makes it SF, does that mean that any contemporary story where something happens that didn't happen in the real word (essentially ANY fiction, by definition) is therefore SF because the reality in the story is not the same as ours?

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Old 05-25-2016, 05:15 PM   #8
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If merely being alternate history makes it SF, does that mean that any contemporary story where something happens that didn't happen in the real word (essentially ANY fiction, by definition) is therefore SF because the reality in the story is not the same as ours?
One could make that argument, certainly, but I think personally there's a reasonably clear distinction between a fictional event set in a world that's plainly ours, and "alternative history", which is more radically different. Some may of course disagree.
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felixgallus View Post
Hi Guys,

I'm writing a novel based in Roman Britain, it is historically accurate but it includes zombies, what genre would you put it in when it comes to marketing it?

I recommend taking a page from the applicable genres the major bookstores, reviewers, and Worldcat used to classify the Vampire Chronicles (e.g., Interview With the Vampire):
  • Primary genre: horror.
  • Secondary genres: sci-fi (or sci-fi & fantasy, if the latter applies), historical fiction, fiction & literature
  • Tertiary genres: paranormal, supernatural

Last edited by Froide; 05-25-2016 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 05-27-2016, 01:15 PM   #10
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I've always regarded "alternative history" as a subset of SF. There are of course authors who specialise in this field, such as Harry Turtledove and Stephen Baxter.
Unless there is something science fiction in it, I normally don't do that. I do lump science fiction, fantasy, (some) horror, paranormal, etc. books under a "speculative fiction" header and alternative history could certainly fit under that umbrella.
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Old 05-31-2016, 03:36 AM   #11
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Thanks Very Much Everyone

Thanks guys I appreciate all the comments, its seem strange labelling it as SF but at the same kind makes sense. The most important question I suppose would be, is it the type of book anybody would be interested in reading?
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Old 05-31-2016, 10:56 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by felixgallus View Post
Thanks guys I appreciate all the comments, its seem strange labelling it as SF but at the same kind makes sense. The most important question I suppose would be, is it the type of book anybody would be interested in reading?

I'd buy it if Elizabeth Kostova ("The Historian"), or another literary writer wrote it. Maybe even a respected genre writer, if one I enjoy reading decided to write something of this nature.

Aside from those....No.
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:43 AM   #13
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I recommend taking a page from the applicable genres the major bookstores, reviewers, and Worldcat used to classify the Vampire Chronicles (e.g., Interview With the Vampire):
  • Primary genre: horror.
  • Secondary genres: sci-fi (or sci-fi & fantasy, if the latter applies), historical fiction, fiction & literature
  • Tertiary genres: paranormal, supernatural
Just because some website is wrong, is no reason to go with it. Interview With a Vampire is NOT SF. Not in any way. I would not even call it paranormal. Paranormal deals with ghosts.

I would call it horror, fiction, literature, supernatural, and maybe fantasy.
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Old 05-31-2016, 10:13 PM   #14
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Just because some website is wrong, is no reason to go with it. Interview With a Vampire is NOT SF. Not in any way. I would not even call it paranormal. Paranormal deals with ghosts.
"Paranormal", as a literary genre, deals with ghosts, vampires, werewolves, other werecreatures, witches, demons, fey, psychic abilities, and a variety of other things. It literally means "beyond normal", so why you would limit it only to ghosts is beyond me.
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Old 06-01-2016, 07:45 PM   #15
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"Paranormal", as a literary genre, deals with ghosts, vampires, werewolves, other werecreatures, witches, demons, fey, psychic abilities, and a variety of other things. It literally means "beyond normal", so why you would limit it only to ghosts is beyond me.
Because that's how paranormal is used mostly and how most people know it to mean. Paranormal is mostly used to mean ghosts. If you do a google images search, will see mostly ghostly type images.
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