I am in favor of genre-bending.

When I was a kid, hosting a sleepover was about the coolest thing you could do. I loved having my friends over, eating pizza, drinking sugary drinks, playing games, and staying up way too late. Now that I have kids of my own, I’m not as excited about the idea of hosting them for my own kids. I suppose that’s just part of being a parent. Anyway, of the sleepover traditions that I remember, the suicides stand out vibrantly.

A “suicide” was when you played the mad scientist and mixed all of the beverages together. For the most part, the result was still a drinkable concoction. Sometimes, it was even quite good.

warm_bodiesMy wife and I just saw Warm Bodies the other night. I grabbed it from the library on a friend’s recommendation knowing very little about the film itself.

If you haven’t heard anything about it, Warm Bodies is an zombie-action-romantic-comedy loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Seriously. And, like some of the “suicides” of my younger days, the result of mixing elements was quite good.

I guess I’m a fan of messy lines around genres.

Take the books of Jasper Fforde, for instance. His Tuesday Next series mixed elements of classic literature, science fiction, time-travel, and mystery. The Nursery Crime books are basically police procedurals populated by Mother Goose’s characters. And both series are quite funny as well.

The late Terry Pratchett was likewise a master of mixing things up with his Discworld books, placing fantasy characters in a classical London-like setting and adding elements of current technological or philosophical debates.

When done well, the whole is much more than the sum of the parts. When done poorly, the result is like a “suicide” gone wrong.

Do you have any favorite books or movies that don’t fit cleanly into a specific genre?

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3 responses to “I am in favor of genre-bending.

  1. Relieved. I misread your first sentence and first paragraph whacked as a result. I thought you said gender bending, not genre bending. So the whole sleepover thing freaked me out. I am super glad I learned I was wrong when I entered the 2nd paragraph. Movie concept of mixed genres good, I like. I agree.

  2. That’s funny, I read “gender-bending” too then couldn’t figure out the connection! Funny how our eyes see word beginnings sometimes, and the brain fills in the rest. Speedreading at its finest.

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