At the SCBWI conference in LA this summer, author Holly Black made a statement that stuck with me…some of the best fantasy melds different genres (here I’m going to generalize fantasy to encompass all speculative fiction).
And it’s very true.
If you blend spec fic with romance, you get Twilight and Eternal.
If you blend spec fic with horror, you get Beautiful Creatures and The Graveyard Book.
If you blend spec fic with mystery, you get The Maze of Bones and The Mysterious Benedict Society.
But I will also posit to say that some of the best spec fic relies on the point in time: Victorian England, Renaissance, the 17th Century (pirates and Salem witch trials).
Don’t get me wrong, modern stories are just as good, but some of my favorites call forth images of a different age with different technology and clothing and mannerisms.
It also allows for a certain suspension of disbelief. If the story’s set during the Depression, who’s to say it didn’t happen? Historical records weren’t as accurate back then, the nation was in turmoil. If a vampire was feeding on the impoverished, would most people even be aware?
There’s also the “wink-wink” notion of knowing a historical event and hearing it related from a spec fic point-of-view. (Oh, the Statue of Liberty? That was meant to be a giant mind control device built by a power-hungry French wizard. Thankfully, a group of kids stopped him at the last moment, and Lady Liberty’s torch became a beacon of hope).
So what’s YOUR favorite spec fic genre & time blend?