On cataloguing books (was Re: Obscure Childhood favorites)

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 13 02:24:25 EST 2003

--- Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at Proffitt.com> wrote:
>  Surprisingly, every one of
> the categories I use is
> one you named.  :)  However, I don't always have a
> consistent method for
> classifying things, and your list was even more
> helpful in that respect.
> I don't use Gothic either...usually I class those as
> dark fantasy, unless
> there are large quantities of blood.  :)

I would tend to agree here, I would only use Gothic
for works written before Northanger Abbey and Dark
Fantasy or Horror for anything since. While on Horror
I said it divided into subcategories like vampire,
werewolf etc. I know that there are plenty of ghost,
vampire and werewolf etc stories that are not horror
but I would put them here for convenience.

> Here's another question (not just for Jon):  It's
> easy for me to identify
> children's or juvenile fantasies.  With young adult
> fantasies, it's a bit
> more difficult, and I know I haven't been
> consistent.  I would prefer to
> simply list these as Fantasy with a subcategory
> rather than as YA sub
> Fantasy.  But, as Jon pointed out, there are rare
> occasions when it's useful
> to identify YA fantasy as such.  Do any of you have
> thoughts on this
> subject?  Or, for a more specific example, are there
> any of DWJ's books that
> would be better identified primarily as YA rather
> than as fantasy?

As i said, many books fall into more than one
category, and this includes just about all childrens
and YA. Ideally these books would be in both (or even
more than two) categories. An example might be Philip
Williamson's stories of Dinbig of Khimmur which are a
Saga (on length of series) but some books are
detective stories as well, and would also fit into
other categories as well (its been a while since I
read any so I can't recall enough details - did he
ever reach any conclusion with those?)(SEE, I can
think of more fantasy detectivce stories if I realy
try ;)  

At home I simply catalog my fantasy as "fantasy" but
at school our system allows to use as many subject
headings as we like, and over the last five or so
years we are finally being encouraged to give fiction
books multiple subjects to cover things like the
locations stories are set, themes, issues raised,
genres and so on which means if we are ever asked for
detective stories involving single mothers set in
Western Australia where trust is an issue we can
produce a list (although in the case it would be a
blank one)

I've just thought up another fantasy category;
Hard fantasy, inspired by "hard" SF, this is fantasy
that deals with the technical details of magic and
such, Lyndon Hardy's "Master of the five magics" and
sequels are an example.
I'm sure more will come


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