Authors Answer 9 – Favourite Genres

A new year, another year older (my birthday was just over a week ago) and another Monday. I’ve had a lovely ten-day break over with my parents in the Netherlands, which I spent pigging out on Christmas food, knitting cat hats, baking oliebollen and setting off fireworks. Oh, and watching my brother’s usual attempts at making a Stalin organ out of any type of firework we have more than ten of.

Back to Authors Answer then, and this week’s question is What are your favourite genres to read?

This isn’t really a new subject, and people who have read my blog before will have long since found out that I adore both Fantasy and Romance. I won’t devote any more words to that.

Two genres I also love but haven’t talked about as much are Murder Mysteries and Science Fiction. When I was younger I absolutely adored Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books, which lack the murder but were usually chock full of mystery. I also devoured every single one of my mother’s novels about Mrs Pollifax and Hercule Poirot. More recently I have been very much enjoying J D Robb’s In Death books, as well as Ellis Peters’ Cadfael novels. None of those latter ones are straightforward murder mysteries, since even Cadfael often has a touch of the star-crossed lovers in it, but they are murder mysteries nonetheless.

Can I explain why I enjoy them? Not really, to be honest. I don’t read them to see whether I can figure out whodunnit before the protagonist does (although I do usually have my suspect, and I am right at least half of the time), they are just a nice way to pass the time. Maybe here too I like the fact that you more or less know how it’s going to end – the culprit will be caught and face justice and all that jazz.

Then there is Science Fiction. I enjoy both Science Fantasy, such as what Jack Vance mostly produced, as well as hard sci-fi, the most recent good example of which I’ve read is Scott Westerfeld’s The Risen Empire. Iain M Banks is also very good at hard sci-fi – I am very sad that we’ll never see any more new novels from him.

What do I enjoy about Science Fiction? Probably the same as what I enjoy in Fantasy – things you don’t have in the real world, worlds more interesting than ours, bigger events, bigger stakes, bigger results. How can you read a Culture novel and not wish that our world was like that? No money, glands that can produce any kind of drug/effect you could wish for, a society that can devote itself to hedonism while at the same time not being self-destructive, and offering the opportunity to be useful nonetheless, if you feel so inclined. Things in sci-fi are always way out there while still being (or at least feeling) within the realms of possibility.

My husband is a big fan of Peter Hamilton, and over the past two years or so he has amassed quite a collection of his works. I’m still working my way through Robin Hobb’s books again, but once I finish that I’ll start digging into Hamilton’s work. He writes the kind of doorstop books that I adore, because you know you won’t finish them anytime soon, so you can postpone that dreadful book hangover.

I’ve got a lot of good books to look forward to in 2016.

Original post is here.

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