So I spent the past several days making an elaborate spreadsheet of my “To Be Read” List, and classifying each book by genre. This endeavor has only reinforced my long-held belief that authors are very tricky people.
Classifying literature is difficult. A book is a multi-faceted creation, and most have elements of multiple genres. Sometimes the dominant genre is clear – if it involves hunting down a killer it’s a mystery - but usually it’s not. A book taking place in the future might not necessarily be science-fiction. If it’s the far-flung future (as in, 50+ years) then it’s almost always sci-fi - but if it’s the immediate future (anywhere from 1-10 years) its classification becomes murky. Many books that take place in the immediate future are actually about the present. They’re about the ramifications of modern society; our world with one key difference, or one aspect taken to a more extreme degree. In cases like that, I’d argue the book is still considered Contemporary fiction. Contemporary is a monster of its own though, and I’m not ready to tackle that one.