Genre-Benders–What’s Your Favorite?

I’m doing a rare Saturday blog today over at author Cynthia Woolf’s site, where I’m talking about blended genres. I really became aware of how much the speculative fiction genres were meshing when I began doing the Fiction Affliction columns each month for Tor.com.

Every month, I’d try to pigeonhole all the books into either science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, or paranormal romance…and some of them just didn’t fit. They might have elements of horror, or both fantasy and SF elements. Or maybe they were cozy mysteries with paranormal elements. Or they might be a genre that, to me, never made sense lumped in with science fiction–like steampunk or time-travel or alternative history. So I came up with a new category I called Genre-Benders and, no surprise to me, it has become one of the longest listings I do each month.

Anyway, that’s what prompted the blog today. If you head over and comment, you can win a copy of any of my books (regardless of what the contest says), in print, digital or, if available, audio. See you there!

Mixing Genres–And Get a Copy of THE DEMI-MONDE WINTER

It’s an interesting time in speculative fiction right now, with a lot of genre-blending going on. Maybe it’s always been that way to some extent, but as I’ve done the Fiction Affliction columns over at tor.com the last year and a half or so, it seems as if I’m finding more and more books that I have trouble classifying. 

Initially, I classified books as science fiction, traditional fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and YA paranormal…but where does time-travel fit in there if it’s driven by magic, not science? Where does steampunk fit? Or historical urban fantasy? Or dystopian fantasy set in real-world places? How much do urban fantasy and paranormal romance overlap? And other than the age of the protagonist, some YA crosses over to adult readers. A few months ago, I added a new catch-all category–“genre-blenders”–and split YA books into their genre category.
I’m glad I don’t have to shelve books in a brick-and-mortar store. What a nightmare! When I go to a bookstore, I gravitate to the fantasy section, looking for urban fantasy, and usually skipping over anything with a dragon on it. But I also love reading paranormal romance as long as it has a strong UF storyline running behind the romance (Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, for example)–yet I rarely wander into the romance aisles because I don’t read contemporary or sweet or historicals.
As a reader, do you look at genre? How do you find the books you want to read–from review websites or magazines? (Of course you can always come here on Mondays and see what’s coming–LOL.) 
Leave a comment with your answers–and if you have a blended genre you like, what is it? I’ll be choosing one commenter to win a copy of one of my favorite “genre-benders” recently, Rod Rees’ The Demi-Monde: Winter. It’s the first in series just now being published in the U.S., and it’s a mind-boggler. Kind of futuristic. Kind of urban fantasy. Kind of…well, a genre-bender.
ABOUT THE BOOK: The Demi-Monde is the most advanced simulation ever devised. Thirty million people ruled by history’s cruellest tyrants, locked in eternal civil conflict. The intention: to create the closest thing to Hell, and prepare soldiers for the nightmarish environment of war. But something has gone badly wrong. Reinhard Heydrich or at least a simulacrum resembling the Nazi monster has kidnapped the President’s daughter from the Real-World and concealed her within the Demi-Monde, making it impossible for the program to be switched off. This achieved, he has cut off all contact with reality. It falls to Ella Thomas, a young jazz singer, to infiltrate Heydrich’s virtual domain and rescue the missing girl. But once inside she will discover that everything in the Demi-Monde is not as it seems, and that the Real-World may be in more danger than everyone outside realises…The Demi-Monde: Winter introduces readers to one of the most believable, almost extravagantly detailed worlds ever created, where history’s most fascinating figures and cruellest tyrants rub shoulders with a rich cast of characters. In a fast-paced, action-packed narrative Rod Rees manages to explore some of life’s deepest dilemmas, and suffuses the story throughout with wit and humour.

Want to win a copy? Let’s talk genre today! What’s your favorite–or do you just like what you like? And how do you find the books you want to read? You know the drill: one entry for comment; one for blog follow; one for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and one for Tweeting or Retweeting the contest.