Delving Into The Supernatural

I wouldn’t normally do this, but I’m battling problems so coming up with new posts is proving problematic.  The following is a post I wrote for koobug.com, which is another support site for authors and readers:

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When I was growing up, the Fantasy genre was beginning to become a very popular genre with readers, and therefore writers. However, there were still many volumes of the two genres that had vied for top spot in ‘popular fiction‘ – science fiction and horror. I consumed my fair share of both but leaned ever more towards science fiction. That was until I was bitten by the Fantasy bug. The horror tales were now appearing in thick volumes of short stories, but still reflecting something of the Hammer House of Horror take on the genre. It was a fading genre! What revived it then was a move towards gore, but the tension, the suspense, of the great tales was lost and that was almost fatal.

It was, in my mind, when horror took yet another turn – attempting to embrace Fantasy – that something new began to appear. There was a subtle kind of horror, often a blending of fantasy and old legends. Characters with strange powers appeared, to do battle with Evil in new ways, or modifications of very old ways. The forces of evil were something beyond Nature, and so were some of hose who battled them – they were ‘supernatural‘! At the same time, of course, the first hints of another new concept appeared – powers went beyond the physical. Mental powers began to come to the fore, and the ‘paranormal’ idea was born. Parapsychology, which investigated telepathy, telekinesis and other ‘mental talents’ was fighting for recognition in the real world of academia, and it leaked out into fiction, where it could be given a reality that it hadn’t (yet) achieved outside of fiction.

By bringing together elements of horror, fantasy, the supernatural, the paranormal and even science fiction, authors tapped a very deep well! Readers couldn’t get enough of it – and still can’t! Okay, so some of the terminology is being misused, and even abused (e.g. vampires are gothic horror or even supernatural, but they aren’t paranormal!), but the fact is that we have a new kind of fiction that actually resists being pinned down into a single, clearly defined, genre. It borders on just being ‘fiction’. The reader can describe it to friends and family however they like. They can feel comfortable with it because it doesn’t carry a ‘brand’ which might embarrass them. They can even call it romance in many cases!

To be honest, I never expected to join the trend. I didn’t do so deliberately. I simply wrote a story that came to me. That has, however, given rise to characters I like and can, in some senses, relate to. I regard the stories as ‘mixed genre‘ rather than as strictly one of those I’ve already mentioned. Let me tell you – that makes life interesting when submitting to websites that demand a clear statement of genre! In fact, that’s a practice I think those websites need to change! It could see a tidal wave of protest if we all begin to use the term ‘general fiction’ or even – shock horror! – ‘literary fiction’ to express our need to not be categorised so rigidly!

At the end of the day, we write one thing: “Entertainment Fiction”!

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