Subgenre Study: Paranormal

This one’s a bit controversial, friends.  While I would put paranormal as a subgenre of fantasy, I’ve started to see publishers and agents list it separate, like it’s its own genre.

Paranormal tends to involve things that are not quite fantastical, such as ghosts, aliens, parallel worlds.  It’s a strange mix of fantasy and horror, to some degree, whether something is just lurking on the edge of your consciousness, just out of view, or it’s something more concrete.

I admit I’m rather fond of it.  Ghosts and their ilk fascinate me, and I like to see something mythological played straight.

Paranormal presents you with the world you know and love, but something’s just a little not right.  And since it is presented as the real world, it makes you wonder if things really do lurk in the shadows.

A subset of paranormal (a subgenre of the subgenre?) is paranormal romance.  Everybody’s heard about this, right – how could you not?  It’s probably the hottest thing on the market (aside from, maybe, Steampunk), filled with perfectly normal people and the vampires/werewolves/demons/angels/zombies/kraken they love.

What do you think, Squiders?  A subgenre or its own genre?  Why?  And what are your favorite paranormal novels/short stories?  (Speaking of paranormal shorts, I just sold on to an anthology last week.)

One response to this post.

  1. I still think of it as a subgenre, but that could be because of a local bookstore that went out of business this spring. The YA section was split in two – one was their fantasy section and one was everything else. Much of the fantasy section was paranormal.

    Some of my favorites include Shiver and The Replacement. I was also amused by Alex Van Helsing.


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