Cross-genre: a cardinal sin. And yet.
As I understand it, if we’re going to tackle the concept, we have to identify with one part of the ‘cross’– it has to be contemporary before it can get mashed up. But where do such genres as urban fantasy and horror end, and cross-genre begin?
And who decides?
Cross-genre is everywhere – from Cowboys Vs. Aliens to Zombies Vs. Cheerleaders, its mixed signals are all around us, and we can’t get enough. Take the success of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, and the swath of crossed classics that followed – the first title was popular enough to jump format to graphic novel… and crossing format boundaries and well as genre boundaries is indicative of just how popular this is.
In comics, we have Zombies Vs. Cheerleaders. Zombies Vs. Robots converted from comic to book format and there’s a Zombie add-on for the Western genre game Red Dead Redemption—
Yeah, okay, there’s a pattern here. Zombies are replacing Steampunk as the New Cool. But even if we take out shambling dead friends out of the equation…
Let’s turn instead to Avatar – the big screen sensation that had dragons fighting helicopters. There have been a whole series of movie releases that have picked up this theme – Cowboys Vs. Aliens, Aliens Vs. Ninjas (AvN) and Attack the Block.
And it’s not just the big screen. Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards’ TURF seems to be every genre rolled into one; Jasper Fforde’s ‘One of Our Thursdays’ and Ian Whates’ ‘City of Hope and Despair’ have brought cross-genre into this year’s books. And there are more boundary breakers to come.
Cross-genre is everywhere, in every format, and it’s on the rise. With or without zombies, we seem to be able to identify with it just fine.
In our industry, we inhabit the world (worlds?) of speculative fiction. Speculation is what we do, already, so surely breaking these boundaries is part of our remit?
Let’s do it.
(P.S – Steampunk Vs. Zombies. Steamed Zombie. ZombiePunk. You know it has to happen).