This is topic How would you classify this? in forum Open Discussions About Writing at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by wetwilly (Member # 1818) on :
I'm ready to start submitting my novel, but the problem is I'm not sure what genre to classify it as for submission purposes. A general description of it...

It's set in the future, but there are no crazy technologies or anything that we don't have today. A one world government has taken over the world, mostly, and they have a big prison complex where they send anyone with a handicap, physical defect, etc. It's sort of a concentration camp for all the world's physically deformed/handicapped/etc. The story is about some of the inmates in this concentration camp. There are aspects of thriller (the main characters attempting to escape is one of the main plotlines), and aspects of sci-fi (just that it is set in the future, as said, no fictional technologies play any significant role in the story). There are also some aspects of fantasy (one character has the ability to heal others, but it's never explained whether it's from god, some kind of magic, metaphysical, whatever). So I'm having trouble trying to decide who to submit this to. Send it to agents who look at sci-fi? Agents who look at thrillers? Fantasy? Mainstream lit? It has aspects of all of the above, but doesn't really fit in snugly to any of them.

Or am I just on a self-righteous "I have created something unlike anything ever created before" kick? Definite possibility.

Have any of you ever faced a similar problem? Any advice?

Posted by aspirit (Member # 7974) on :
Look for recently published novels that have a similar setting, style, or tone. Read those novels' acknowledgments and search online for who represented the authors. Then submit to those agents.
Posted by Meredith (Member # 8368) on :
slipstream? Maybe not.

Check out agents for both sci fi and fantasy. You'll find a few that say they look for genre-bending works.

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited July 17, 2010).]

Posted by geronl (Member # 9156) on :


Posted by MAP (Member # 8631) on :
Well it definitely sounds like a dystopia. I wouldn't call it a thriller since I think most thriller readers expect it to be set in the real world.

I'd call it soft sci-fi or sci-fi fantasy, or you can be really safe and just call it speculative fiction.

I've read advice for determining your genre by thinking of which section you would place it in the bookstore.

Posted by Pyre Dynasty (Member # 1947) on :
Remember that Jurassic Park usually could be found in the thriller section at the bookstore. If it is thrilling I'd say shoot for thriller first (then possibly the agent will say, "this is more like insert-genre-here.") Otherwise I'd go Sci-fi, near-future/world government/mystery healing has plenty of sci-fi cred. You don't necessarily need the whole James Bond gadgetry spread. (Even though James Bond falls in thriller usually too.)
Posted by aspirit (Member # 7974) on :
Jurassic Park was set in our present world, the real world.

Modern works that go in the Literature section are usually set in the real world, just like thrillers. Science fantasy usually contains stronger fantasy elements. I'd go with dystopia or the broader classification of spec fic.

Posted by JSchuler (Member # 8970) on :
There is such a thing as political science (STOP LAUGHING!), which (on rare occasion) talks about things like the likelihood of a word government, so it would seem to me that something that was fiction derived from political theory in the same fashion that things as diverse as warp drives, artificial gravity, or cloning are derived from physical and biological theory, would classify as "science fiction."

But then, I am not a publisher.

Posted by billawaboy (Member # 8182) on :
It's called Social Science Fiction

Classic example:
Time Machine
Brave New World
Left Hand of Darkness
farenheit 451


Posted by wetwilly (Member # 1818) on :
Thanks all.

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