Wednesday, 8 March 2017

New Genre Delights

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Contest season is very much upon us and the majority of my fiction reading for the next six months will be consumed by judging entries in various competitions both local and abroad.

One of the reasons I especially love judging is I get “forced” to read stories that I wouldn’t normally read. I typically judge speculative fiction but this is such a catch-all for all sorts of different flavours, two of which: space opera and superhero, Adam Collings covered in Monday’s post. Accordingly, I’m presented with a variety of stories that I wouldn’t typically read.

Read in your genre

This is the old chestnut we’re all familiar with. And for obvious reasons it makes a lot of sense to do so and for many years I found myself only reading in the genres of speculative and thriller/suspense because that’s what I write. However, my flavour of speculative was narrow (supernatural angels and demons) and so I limited myself to such novels.

Certainly there are some flavours of speculative I struggle with, for example, horror and will choose not to read it. But I’ve had the privilege of reading some real beauties. For example, Patrick Carr’s writing is excellent and Billy Coffey has such a unique Southern voice plus a tremendous insight into small town spiritual good and evil.

Sample other delights

Over the past few years both through judging and developing friendships in the industry I’ve spent much of my non-judging half-year reading outside the speculative genre.

History has now become a keen interest. Having not studied a lot of it through my schooling years I’ve always felt a gap in my knowledge with all things historical. Strangely though, like many of us, I grew up devouring 18th and 19th century classical literature.

Novels with an historical bent have grabbed my interest. Biblical fiction in particular has become a favourite because of what I learn. Similarly, stories set in WWI and/or WWII have appealed because of what I can learn about the period. I so enjoyed Irma Joubert’s “Girl From the Train” (not to be confused with Paula Hawkins similarly titled recent blockbuster).

Rachel McMillan’s Sherlock Holmes-inspired "Herringford and Watts Mysteries" series has taken me back to the early 1900s in Toronto, Canada. Rachel has such a sophisticated witty voice creating two marvellous lady dectectives while giving the reader a spin around some of the sights of Toronto.

Naturally, I can’t not read some of the various flavours of romance recommended by many on this blog. From contemporary beauties supplied by the likes of our own Kara Isaac and Andrea Grigg to romantic suspense by Lisa Harris and Ronie Kendig to Melissa Tagg’s rom-com there’s a feast of great reading to be had.

What’s a genre or new flavour (sub-genre?) that you’ve recently enjoyed and an example of an author that you never expected to read?

Happy reading, dear friends.




Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Angelguard was recognised with the 2014 Selah Award for Speculative Fiction.You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

9 comments:

  1. Love your eclectic approach to reading, Ian, and your preparedness to read in different genres as part of judging all those competitions. I enjoy reading widely when time allows--just tricky balancing that with everything else in my life! Re your question about a book or author we never expected to read, like you, I read and enjoyed South African author Irma Joubert's 'The Girl from the Train' a while back--but then just recently I read her latest one, 'Child of the River', and enjoyed it even more. I don't normally read much straight romance, but her books have so much more in them and such interesting settings and historical contexts as well.

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    1. Thanks, Jo-Anne for your encouragement. I have Joubert's 2nd one in my TBR. I'm pleased that you think it's even better than "The Girl ..."

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  2. You sure have a lot of judging ahead of you Ian! And it is fun reading through genres you'd never normally choose. I enjoyed being able to help guide folk in this way and it sure opened up a huge amount of genre choices to me. So my Kindle accepts all types of writing styles nowadays. It interests me how the writing always reflects the genre. Though at times there's a crossover. I write historical romance but love any of John Grisham's books.

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    1. Thanks, Rita. Been ages since I've read a Grisham novel. I must do that soon.

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  3. I've always been an eclectic reader (or maybe that's just a voracious one - as a child/teen I read everything I could lay my hands on). Genres I've not been interested in are erotica (boring), horror and paranormal, but I've recently enjoyed Mike Duran's paranormal noir The Ghost Box - and a secular author Shelley Nolan's Reaper series. I'm prepared to give Mike Duran's horror stories a go.

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    1. Hi Jeanette ... The Stand by Stephen King is one horror novel that I loved even though it freaked me out as a teenager when I read it. It was an excellent long story but I think it was enough for me.

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    2. Thanks for the warning!!!!!

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  4. I read fairly widely within the niche of Christian fiction, but I've never really got into speculative fiction. Your post, along with Adam's post from Monday, suggests I should try.

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    1. So many to choose from, Iola. You might enjoy starting with a YA dystopian or fantasy which cross the 2 genres: YA and speculative. Oh, so many spec fiction flavours to choose from. Patrick Carr is excellent.

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