You'd think you were looking into a volcano full of fire and brimstone, but that is actually one of the three local open cut coal mines on Monday night. This one in particular fell in the path of the local fires when preventative measures were not taken. Not so sure how they're planning to put that out, but they better think fast!
Seeing this pictures made me think of dragons, and dragons made me think of a conversation I was having with my boyfriend regarding genres.
Basically, my boyfriend thinks that naming one of the genres 'fantasy' is silly, because one of the definitions is simply 'to imagine the occurrence of', and isn't that what ALL books that aren't non-fiction are? Of course, I had my disagreement and specified that the genre is named for the other meaning of imagining the impossible or improbable.
Well, I heard him out, and he asked me what sort of things make something 'fantasy'. My initial response was an alternative world with mythical creatures like fairies and unicorns and dragons. Then he pointed out that not all books with alternative worlds are considered fantasy, and that not all books with mythical creatures are considered fantasy either. Like I don't consider my own manuscript WALLS a fantasy, although it's in an alternative world, and the Hunger Games is considered Young Adult/Dystopia (and that has mockingjays and mutts, so they count as mythical creatures). Then he asked if I consider creatures like vampires and witches and werewolves fantasy, and I realised that no, I class them as supernatural. Then he asked me what genre I put the Harry Potter series in, and I said fantasy. When I said that, I stopped for a moment and frowned at myself, because Harry Potter has witches and wizards and vampires and werewolves, which I class as supernatural, but I consider those books fantasy.
In the end, I decided that it was down to themes: what the emphasis is on and what kind of emphasis is put on it. Supernatural is dark and scary and you want it to go away (we discussed where the line between supernatural and horror was, but I won't go into that now because I don't want to creep myself out again). Fantasy is meant to leave you in awe of the world you've been presented with.
We came to the conclusion that we need to make some sort of graph to decide where books fall along the line of fantasy, and that fantasy needs to be renamed 'Here Be Dragons'. Of course, I reminded him that his favourite fantasy book(s), The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, very deliberately doesn't have dragons. And no, the draccus does not count!
So what are you thought on genres and where do you draw the line between ones that are similar?