Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Paranormal Fiction - In Depth

The ALA conference had a great session on paranormal fiction this year. Many bloggers wrote it up. For definitions and stuff, this one is great.

ALA Report: Things That Go Bump in the Stacks Part 1- The Appeal of Paranormal Fiction
via RA for All by Becky on 7/14/09

A summary of the summary:

"Things That Go Bump in the Stacks: Whole Collection Readers' Advisory for Paranormal Fiction." Here is the link describing the program as well as all of the resources and handouts...This was a panel discussion with three popular paranormal authors, Charlie Huston, Charlaine Harris, and Marjorie Liu.

Paranormal fiction...blends contemporary fiction with an alternate paranormal world. It can appear in any genre, not just horror...In horror, traditionally, the paranormal characters are less sympathetic; they are the "bad guys," the biggest threat to the heroes. In today's paranormal fiction, the paranormal characters are not only sympathetic, they are quite often the heroes of the story themselves.

Before opening up the discussion to the authors, Hollands summed up the appeal of paranormal fiction very nicely with 11 key appeal points:

  • Paranormal fiction puts magic in the real world, and, as a result, it is an easy entry point to fantasy
  • There is a lot of genre crossover
  • Specific or all paranormal creatures themselves are appealing to certain readers
  • Many of these novels have strong female leads
  • They tend to appeal to women and men
  • They also appeal young adults
  • They all have a contemporary setting and style
  • These books have a lot of humor (even amidst some violence)
  • There is a great deal of sexuality here
  • Lots of fast paced action
  • And most importantly, although these books have fantasy elements, they are all grounded in real world issues. The most common of which is the idea of diversity and tolerance of those who are different.

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