Know Your Genre – Pt. 2

Part one of this post listted writing genres A-R. This post concludes with genres S-W. Knowing this information is necessary to target readers, but it also gives ideas about what can be included in a story. Combining several genre expands ideas to make the story unique.

The following information is abridged from:

Wikipedia contributors, “List of genres,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

See the entire article for more detailed information.

Science Fiction

uses scientific understanding to explain the universe that it takes place in. Is NOT Fantasy.

1. Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic

concern with the end of civilization.

2. Hard science

science is detailed, well-researched, and considered plausible.

3. Soft science

science involved is not detailed..

4. Comic

exploits the genre’s conventions for comic effect.

5. Military

told from the military view point.

6. Social

concerned less with technology and space opera and more with sociological speculation about human society.

7. Space opera

characterized by the extent of space travel and distingushed by the amount of time that protagonists spend in an active, space-faring lifestyle

8. Western

elements of science fiction in a Western setting

9. Space western

a frontier story indicative of American Westerns transposed to the backdrop of space exploration and settlement

10. Planetary romance

the bulk of the action consists of adventures on one or more exotic alien planets, characterized by distinctive physical and cultural backgrounds

11. Punk

several different SF sub-genres, normally categorized by distinct technologies and sciences. The themes tend to be cynical or dystopian, and a person, or group of people fighting the corruption of the government

12. Cyberpunk

a futuristic storyline dealing with people who have been physically or mentally enhanced with cybernetic components

13. Biopunk

a story that is about genetics and biological research


speculation about worlds that are unlike the real world in various important ways. Generally overlaps one or more of the following: science fiction, fantasy fiction, horror fictionsupernatural fictionsuperhero fictionUtopian and dystopian fictionapocalyptic, post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history.


a story usually a mix of fear and excitement with traits from the suspense genre, action, adventure or mystery genres, but the level of terror makes it borderline horror fiction at times. Generally has a dark or serious theme, which also makes it similar to drama.

1. Disaster

story about mass peril, where the protagonist’s job is to both survive, and to save many other people from a grim fate, often a natural disaster such as a storm or volcanic eruption, but which may also be a terrorist attack or epidemic of some sort.

2. Psychological

emphasizes the psychological condition of the hero that presents obstacles to his objective, rather than the action.

3. Crime

story that revolves around the life of detectives, mobs, or other groups associated with criminal events in the story.

4. Techno

A story whose theme is usually technology, or the danger behind the technology people use, including the threat of cyber terrorism.


urban fiction, a.k.a. street lit, is set in a city landscape; however, the genre is as much defined by the race and culture of its characters as the urban setting. The tone for urban fiction is usually dark, focusing on the underside.


set in the American West, between the time of the Civil war and the early nineteenth century. The focus is on the adventure of the main character(s) and the contrast between civilization or society and the untamed wilderness, often featuring the characters working to bring civilization to the wilderness. Can overlap historical fiction.


Even a cursory look at this material should suggest many plot lines and how to better market your work.

Many thanks to the author of the Wikipedia post. To research each of these genre was not a quick task. Again, for more description detail go to:

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