I wasn’t planning to post anything at all this week after having posted five entries last week – but this one’s been on my mind since even before I published Systems. How do you classify a novel that for some reason or other can’t fit into one specific – and known – category?
Whilst it seems as though there are a lot of genres for fiction, for novels like mine there are starkly few genres to choose from. I popped over to Amazon and reminded myself of the options I had to choose from when it came to classifying Systems. They included:
- Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
- Science Fiction and Fantasy
- Religion & Spirituality (though this would encompass both fiction and non-fiction)
And in my case, that was about it. There are scores of categories on Amazon, and almost 20 of them are under ‘Literature & Fiction’ but only these come close. (Actually, I had a similar problem with SJ2. But it was still easier than Systems).
I didn’t want to pick Literary because my fiction is really styled more commercially. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense was reasonably accurate, but the sci-fi element is louder. And as for Religion and Spirituality … that, I felt, gave off the wrong vibe. I prefer the unofficial genre ‘Visionary’ or ‘Metaphysical’, maybe even ‘Philosophical’, but these options just weren’t there. And ‘Speculative’ (again, not there) … isn’t that another way of saying ‘science fiction’?
So, for now I’ve stuck with classifying it as science fiction, albeit reluctantly. At various sites – depending on whom I’m addressing – I’ve also referred to it as ‘Islamic science fiction’ – though that’s a technicality and in reality the fiction is neither overtly religious nor does it aim at a specific faith, even if it is inspired by the Islamic worldview in philosophical terms.
But, there is an upside to this conundrum. I’m beginning to run into other authors who are calling for a genre to include ‘visionary’ elements without lumping them under either science fiction or fantasy. So, at least I’m finding some new fiction to read.
Have you self-published a novel? How did you decide what category it best fits into ?
Update: Five minutes after posting this, I found the Metaphysical category on Amazon, as a subsection of ‘Genre Fiction’. Go figure.