It’s genre, Jim, but not as we know it

A copy of The Maker’s Mask is now winging its way to the_antichris in New Zealand, just in time for summertime reading. I hope you enjoy it!

The legal deposit copies have also gone off to the British Library, which for some reason I found totally nerve-wracking, but after all the worst they can do is say ‘Er, these have American ISBNs due to Lulu being based in the USA, and are therefore out of our purview’ and send them back.

Talking of nerve-wracking things, I ought to be sending the book to blogs to be reviewed, and I’m failing to get round to it. I know damn well that most of this is fear of being criticised by strangers and that I should get over it, because being criticised by strangers is one of those things that happens when you write a book, and that in any case it’s the book they’re criticising and not me.

But part of it is that… well, I’m pretty certain the books are genre, but which genre is a bit of a question.

They’re not romances, because the central conflict isn’t so much ‘how will this hero and heroine get together’ as ‘will the heroine manage to get to the end of the book without her bodyguard assassinating the hero or the whole business being rendered moot by the city-state they’re living in blowing up’. They’re not YA, because I’m pretty certain if I was writing YA I’d have noticed. There’s a bit of a mystery plot in The Maker’s Mask and some foul play involving a body in The Hawkwood War, but again, it’s not like the series is going to continue with Innes and Tzenni going to visit relatives at Haut Desert and promptly getting involved with the strange case of Andaluz Prime’s poisoned footman.

So, it’s between fantasy and SF, and… well, there are aliens and there may or may not still be a galactic empire out there (It gets clearer in Heavy Ice, though actually I’d classify that as a ‘one girl and her pony’ book, with the caveats that the pony is more or less a tyrannosaur and the girl is a Hawkwood), but there are also sword fights and weird medievalesque politics and people accusing each other of being sorcerors. In her lovely Amazon review, Sadie says ‘The Maker’s Mask combines elements of fantasy, detective novel, Regency romance and cyberpunk with a healthy dose of humour’ and I wouldn’t argue with any of that.

But, since there are not so many ‘we review fantasy / detective / Regency / cyberpunk hybrids only’ blogs out there, I should get off my bottom and send it to general fantasy and SF ones. Any suggestions?

7 thoughts on “It’s genre, Jim, but not as we know it

  1. I found a list of book review blogs on – the one I thought was an obvious match (SF with a romantic slant) and most others don’t review anything self-published though 😦 seems more open and is updated regularly. Might be worth contacting her but there are hardly any comments on her recent posts so I don’t know how widely read it is & she is in the USA.

    Tough one this, good luck!

  2. I suddenly had a vision of Tzenni being told of the strange case of Andaluz Prime’s murdered footman, and saying, “Innes, what have I told you about assassinating other people servant’s?”

    1. And with that the mystery would be over and they’d spend the rest of the book with Innes patiently handing Tzenni bits of equipment and asking her to design a better kind of noseplug as they sorted out Andaluz Prime’s sewage system. It’s no basis to build a mystery series on.

      Besides, I’m pretty certain anything I wrote would be lacking in gore enough to be described as a ‘cosy’ mystery, and ugh. Half the reason I don’t write straight romances is that even if there was a real-world Zircon Grey in them, if the hero and heroine weren’t humping before they knew each other’s surnames people would call them ‘sweet’.

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