It's Friday and time for the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by one of my favorite blogs: Crazy For Books. This week, the BBH question is, "Why do you read the genre that you do? What draws you to it?"
I'm drawn to more than one genre for more than one reason. My favorite genre is urban fantasy. It combines the world as we know it with elements of fantasy such as vampires, faeries, or lycanthropes. My favorite author in this genre is Laurell K. Hamilton. I've been a fan of fantasy since childhood when I read The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. However, I got bored with the Medieval/Renaissance setting common to most high fantasy novels. Urban fantasy is usually set in the modern world and often contains elements of other types of speculative fiction such as horror, dystopian fiction, or science fiction. It's all the best things about the genres I enjoy rolled into one.
I also love hard science fiction and romance - especially paranormal romance. Romance is what I read when I need a light, entertaining pick-me-up. It's good to be reminded that people can be noble and to feel as though love will win the day by the end of the story, especially when nobility and integrity are sorely lacking in modern society and love doesn't conquer all in real life. Romance novels are a dose of optimism in a world that is all too often brutal, bloody, and cruel. Paranormal romance mixes in that dollop of fantasy I love.
I have a strange relationship with hard science fiction. I'm very picky about it and stories about ships hurtling through space or close encounters with terrifying aliens don't cut it for me. My favorite author in this genre is C. J. Cherryh. Her writing almost always centers around a human who engages in close interaction with an alien/alien race or an alien struggling to fit in with the humans. In many cases, her protagonists must sacrifice a little of their humanity to be able to assimilate into the alien society. However, in doing so, they become a vital bridge between worlds. Cherryh's work plumbs depths of the psychological and philosophical questions of what it means to be human and where the line is or should be drawn between Human and Other. I discover things I missed every time I reread one of her books and sometimes the implications of her ideas give me chills. Cherryh's work isn't light reading but it's always gripping. These are the elements I look for in hard sci-fi and what draws me back to it again and again.
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