Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guest Blog by Jo Anderton & Giveaway - August 18, 2011

Please welcome Jo Anderton to The Qwillery, Jo's debut novel, Debris (The Veiled Worlds 1) will be published by Angry Robot Books in October.


     Genre is a funny thing, isn't it? My days working in a bookshop taught me to both appreciate it, and rebel against it. Most of the time the categories on the back of the books made it easier to shelve a whole trolley's worth as quickly as possible -- particularly first thing in the morning and with only one coffee to help! But sometimes they were just wrong. Like they said thriller when really I knew I was holding a big fat fantasy tome, or (and less often, I have to admit) YA Fiction 8-12 on the back of a gruesome true crime.

     But things really got interesting when the lines between genres started to blur, and that's when my deep-seated need to rebel kicked in. What makes some books set in the future literature and some science fiction? What's more important in a supernatural crime thriller, the 'crime' or the 'supernatural', and how do you decide where to shelve it? Do you let the computer do all the work for you? Or do you make sure no one's watching, take that 'obviously belongs in science fiction' book out of the thriller section and place it lovingly in the genre where it belongs?

     Maybe it depends on the kind of day you've had, the amount of caffeine consumed, and just how invested you feel in that particular genre. Maybe it's all linked so your hidden agenda to single-handedly ensure that fantasy and science fiction get the recognition they deserve!

     Anyway... moving on. So, genre's a funny thing. But nothing felt as strange as seeing the genre debate applied to my own book.

     You see, as far as I was concerned, Debris was always fantasy. It has a hero with a special power, a motley band of companions, and creepy evil-doers with end of the world aspirations. Core fantasy values all. But, at the same time, it is a bit different. Tanyana might be a hero with a special power, but she also has to worry about paying the rent. She lives in a semi-industrialised world, with a class system based on skill, not birth. Almost everyone has the ability to use magic -- a pseudo-scientific magic involving the manipulation of subatomic particles -- and the few that don't are forced into low-paid work collecting the waste this produces.

     Still, you know, fantasy. Surely chatting to subatomic particles just isn't possible, and neither is threading them together to create grand and powerful structures, or seeing them as glowing beads of friendly light embedded in all matter -- no matter how far technology advances in the future. Ergo, magic. Fantasy. With a few hints of steampunk. And maybe even some cyberpunk... but that's in book two.

     By now I really should have realised that genre isn't that simple. At the very least my days of bookshop rebellion should have taught me that. But no, I hadn't learned, so I was more than a little surprised when my publisher started talking about science fiction instead of fantasy. First reaction: "OMG they've confused me with someone else and actually they don't want to publish my book at all!". Once I got over that little hiccup (meltdown) we realised it was more an issue of definitions, instead of horror stories involving manuscripts swapped at birth. I'd say 'magic' they'd say 'subatomic particle'; I'd say 'carriages' they'd say 'on giant invisible spider legs instead of wheels'; 'clockwork and gas pipes' vs 'futuristic city'. You get the idea.

     Genre was blurring again, but this time I'd drawn the lines, and it was difficult to watch them dissolve before my eyes. We've decided on 'manga-inspired science fantasy', which is a pretty good description, although I also like to include 'dark-fantasy steampunk-ish' whenever I can.

     I guess the point is, that along the way I learned to let go a little bit. Genre isn't only about the appropriate code printed on the back of a book. It's also in the eye of the beholder. And I was holding so tightly onto the way I saw my story, and the (not-so-neat) little box I had squeezed it into, that I couldn't understand that anyone else might see it differently. But you know what? They can. In fact, they will.

     And that's okay, because their view of Debris is not wrong at all, just different. Like some of those books, back in my old bookshop days, weren't categorised on the wrong place, just differently to the way I saw them.



About Debris

The Veiled Worlds 1
(Angry Robot Books, October 2011)
In a far future where technology is all but indistinguishable from magic, Tanyana is one of the elite.

She can control pions, the building blocks of matter, shaping them into new forms using ritual gestures and techniques. The rewards are great, and she is one of most highly regarded people in the city. But that was before the “accident”.

Stripped of her powers, bound inside a bizarre powersuit, she finds herself cast down to the very lowest level of society. Powerless, penniless and scarred, Tanyana must adjust to a new life collecting “debris”, the stuff left behind by pions. But as she tries to find who has done all of this to her, she also starts to realize that debris is more important than anyone could guess.

Debris is a stunning new piece of Science Fantasy, which draws in themes from Japanese manga, and classic Western SF and Fantasy to create this unique, engrossing debut from the very exciting young author Jo Anderton.

FILE UNDER: Science Fiction [ Sentient Matter | Cast Down | Cruel Betrayals | All Is Lies ]

The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market paperback copy of Debris from The Qwillery. Please note that the book has not yet been published so the winner will have to wait until it is published to receive the book!

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Have you encountered genre blurring? OR What do you think of genre blurring?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Thursday, August 25, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. I think it's alright to blur the lines between genres, it makes up for a more interesting book. The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon got in the list of 100 best sci-fi and fantasy books, and this is the series which blur the lines - beautiful historical fiction with elements of paranormal and even sci-fi (if you count time travelling). How do you categorise that? Thank you for the giveaway!
    I'm a follower
    impy80 at hotmail dot com

  2. I think that genre blurring is present in just about every book published today.

    One just have to read the sometimes heated discussions on the web about what is SciFi and Fantsy etc.

    Personally I don't mind as I have always disliked trying to pin a book or author into only one specific genre.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

    +1 for comment
    +1 I Follow via GFC - buddyt

  3. Genre blurring is acceptable to me. I think it makes the story more interesting. Please enter me in contest.

  4. I think genre blurring is when a book cannot be placed into one specific genre.

    For example, let's take romance. There is historical romance, fantasy romance, paranormal romance, sci-fi romance.

    I also agree with kara-karina's post about Outlander. When I started reading it, I strictly saw romance, then historical romance, hey, there's some fantasy thrown in, too! LOL

    I like genre blurring; it makes for a run read!

    I'm a GFC follower (booklover0226)

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  5. I am sure I have encountered genre blurring before, I don't think much of it. I think many genre blurred books have more potential than books that stick with just one or two. GFC Krystal Larson edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

  6. I think it's great when writers blur genre lines! It opens up whole new worlds of books! I agree with kara-karina about Outlander, and that is one of my all time favorite books because it worked so well :)
    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  7. I read from many genres and I think I have encountered genre blurring. It's quite common and happens in subtle ways. I see them a lot in paranormal and urban fantasy. Typically in UF, the heroine is the main character. She is fierce and the go to character to save the world and that has transferred to paranormals. Paranormal beings are also showing up in other genres such as the Regency historical romance. I recently discovered there is a Gothic Regency. All these are very interesting.

    I am a GFC follower.

  8. Oh yeah, met a lot of books who refuses to get into the box. Dear Author blog discussed this genre blurring issue sometime ago and it was interesting!

    I believe that there would always be books which would be cross genre-ring and books which are just plain difficult to classify.

    My two cents about genre blurring is that, genre classification is a tool and not a "be all and end all" to all things books. Useful but ought to be used in conjunction with a lot of sense.

    But then again I am no expert. I am just a reader.

    Cherry Mischievous
    cherrymischif-darkward [at] yahoo [dot] com

  9. Oh, I forgot... follower.

    Cherry Mischievous
    cherrymischif-darkward [at] yahoo [dot] com

  10. I always think that most books cross lines. Is a book strictly one thing or the other? - I doubt it. Genre blurring means we can experience a rich mix in our reading.

    GFC: Mary Preston


  11. I have no idea what half the books I read should be categorized as, especially paranormal romance and urban fantasy. There are some urban fantasies that have romantic elements, and some paranormal romances that are mostly about the action and adventure more than the romance. Then there are those that have all kinds of elements, like fantasy, adventure, romance and steampunk, etc. in one book. I don't care what you call it, if it has a great story with fantastic characters, I'll love it.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  12. Genre blending, hey I'm all for it dump it in a blender add ice and tequila. Then sit back and enjoy. I have had many a pleasant sojourn in the genre bending worlds of C.S. Friedman's Coldfire Trilogy, Marion Bradley's Darkover, McDonald's Mageworlds, Star Wars (metachlorians anyone?) to name a few. So blend away there are still plenty of authors who don't mix genres for us to enjoy.
    I'm looking forward to see how Jo Anderton has done with her mix,however indaverdently she's done it. The book sounds like a good tale. I would love to have a copy. I follow The Qwillery at leestewarttaylor(at), on twitter, and I have linked to it from my blog,
    I would be thrilled to get a brand new hopefully signed copy from you and Angry Robot.

  13. I've encountered genre blurring a lot, but I guess book stores can't be too specific. I've seen it mostly when I was looking for an urban fantasy and found what I was looking for in just plain 'Romance.' And I think I found Laurell Hamilton and Kim Harrison books in 'Horror.'
    I'm a gfc follower.


  14. Life sure was a lot easier when i just needed to differentiate between SciFi & Fantasy. There so many genres & sub genres I don't even know what half of them are!

    I read main SFF (see I categorize everything under 2 genres only! LOL) & historical romance. I have to say that I can't tell what the difference is between Romantic Fantasy & Fantasy Romance.

    I'm not fussed. If I like a book I like a book. Who cares what it's called.

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower

  15. It really depends on the genres that are being blurred together. Sometimes its really great and makes a wonderful story. Other times it seems like the author just can't decide what kind of book they want to write.

    jlynettes @ hotmail . com

  16. Ooops... forgot to mention that I'm also a follower as sablelexi

    jlynettes @ hotmail . com

  17. I have encountered many instances of genre blurring and it really doesn't bother me. A couple that I see blended a lot are mystery and historical, where famous people many years ago become tangled in murders and thefts.

    I loved the post, I must read this book! Thank you for the giveaway!

    GFC follower



  18. I think genre blurring is great! It adds some new twists to a story.

    I am a follower.


  19. I think there's a lot of genre blurring in paranormal/fantasy/urban fantasy and some in mystery/thriller/suspense.

    It's fine with me as long as the story and charactyers are interesting.
    GFC Anne38

  20. I have had an incredible week and was just going through my emails and reading the posts quickly - not actually logging in much because of the time crunch. I was reading this post and could not help myself LOL I had to drop in and say; Wow this books sounds awesome. I was not impressed by the title, but the more I read of the post the more I really wanted to read it. I completely agree about the blurring of the genres and sometimes I frankly find it quite frustrating. For instance if I am in the mood for a good UF suggestion I never know where to look. I do not have anything against any one genre and will read them all at any given time I am in the mood, but I do not want to wade through Orcs or Klingons when what I am really interested in is a good rockum sockum UF recommendation :) Thank you so much for sharing today and making me smile - I love it when I find like minds on issues that are important to me. BTW I really, really want to win this book LOL
    I am a follower and wouldn't have it any other way :)

    dz59001 59001[at]gmail[dot]com

  21. I enjoy genre blurring.I like to alternate between reading books that stick to their genre and then those that blur it as it keeps things interesting and freshens it up.

    I am a follower

    Thanks for the giveaway!!

    ssosborn AT gmaildotcom

  22. I think genres have been blurring for awhile now. I mean look at all the different tags applied to books when you go to Amazon/Goodreads. I know in my personal library apply a minimal of 2 to 3 different tags. I personally don't mind~I just simply require to the book to be a great read. Thanks for the giveaway!
    +1 Comment
    +1 GFC Follower:
    +1 Tweeted:!/TiDubb/status/105065303649697792

  23. Genre blurring means I'll be reading something I've never encountered before which is always a good thing! Definitely makes for a more interesting book :-)

    smaccall AT

  24. Genre blurring has introduced me to authors and books I probably would have never picked up otherwise. I find that most of the books I read have some romance in it and that's a genre blurring that will get me every time.
    +1 comment
    +1 I'm a follower on GFC-Lisa Richards

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  25. There's nothing wrong with genre blurring, in fact I'm all for it, but we can see that people still think about specific genres a lot. For instance nobody will fail to mention that "Firefly" is a western based sci-fi. Which means that we are still very conscious of tropes, motifs and archetypes of specific genres and we usually don't fail to recognize them.
    Which is sometimes a good thing because it helps us to categorize and choose what we will read but sometimes it is foolish because it constrains the text, and especially its reception, to a specific niche.
    But in these postmodern times the great thing is we can pick and choose and copy and paste all sorts of things into different genres...and that is becoming more and more popular...regardless of what genre purists tend to think about it ;)

    +1 follower