For this week’s guest post Marissa Meyer talks about the genre-bending series she wrote, and how, at the end of the day, a good story trumps all.
Take it away Marissa!
What Genre Is This, Anyway?
By Marissa Meyer
There have been a lot of descriptors applied to The Lunar Chronicles, my first series of YA novels. Some of them are buzz words attached to seemingly every YA book these days: dystopian, post-apocalyptic, steampunk, cyberpunk. Some are obvious and safe: science-fiction, futuristic, fairy-tale re-telling / re-envisioning / re-imagining. The series is often referred to as a mash-up of sci-fi and fantasy, or sometimes a science-fiction book for readers who don’t actually like science-fiction.
I get the confusion.
When I was first writing the series, I was worried that this muddle of genres would hinder my ability to sell the book. Was there even a market for this much genre-blending? Was I writing something that would appeal to lovers of many genres… or turn them off? Would publishers be too concerned over issues of bookstore placement and library keywords that they wouldn’t even bother?
But, while these doubts and fears were impossible to silence entirely, there was always one thing that gave me the confidence to continue.
I knew I was writing a book that *I* would want to read. I knew that if someone told me there was a book about a cyborg-Cinderella, *I* would rush to the store to pick it up.
Though I was never much for hard science-fiction, with its fancy spaceship engines and
complicated scientific explanations, I loved Star Wars with its focus on unusual planets, alien
species living in almost-harmony, vivid character relationships, good vs. evil, and the Force – an
elusive power that seemed to encompass its own variety of magic.
This love continued as I got older and discovered the anime “Cowboy Bebop” and the
prematurely cancelled show “Firefly” (and, of course, Serenity). There is technology, yes. Space
travel and robots and plenty of high-tech gadgetry. But there are also fascinating characters
moving through fascinating worlds, while overcoming trials we can all relate to: from finding
love to facing off against an evil government, from the necessity of friendships to the struggles
of discovering where, in this vast universe, do we belong?
These are the things that ultimately inspired The Lunar Chronicles – and all its dystopian,
fantasy, cyberpunk, fairy-tale undercurrents.
So, what genre do I consider The Lunar Chronicles?
If forced to choose one, I call them “space opera” – because I enjoy the epic, dramatic ring it has.
But I’m happy to let readers call it whatever appeals to them. Because while I wrote the books
that I wanted to read, I of course hope that lots of readers will feel they were written just for