Spy fiction is a sub-genre of mysteries and thrillers. For a novel to be considered spy fiction, some form of espionage must be present in the plot. This can include one person as a spy, or a whole agency of spies. Spy fiction can be set in the present day, past, and future. When spy fictions are written for teens, the protagonist or protagonists are often inexperienced and considered amateur sleuths.
Spy fiction must have action and adventure. Though some have it outright, others may have more of a cerebral approach. The main character or characters have a mission that is given to them at the start of the story. This can be a mission that they adopt themselves or one that is handed to them by a higher-up. Oftentimes, spy fiction involves some kind of political entity, either employing the spy or working against them. In spy fiction, good and bad parties are clearly defined. Most often, we are receiving the story from the good guy’s point of view, and that good guy is the spy. However, readers must always beware of the double agent! Unless part of a series, most spy fiction novels end with justice. However, before justice is carried out the reader is usually led on a series of twists and turns and kept guessing as to if the main character will be victorious in the end. Spy fictions are usually set in the past, alternate past, or present, and rarely are they set in the future. Continue reading Genre Guide: Spy Fiction
Steampunk, believe it or not, is a term that has been round since the late 1980s. It is usually defined as a sub-genre of science fiction and features a late 19th century or early 20th century setting, but with steam-powered and clockwork inventions and machines. Steampunk can also be identified as a sub-genre of speculative fiction and is often described as alternate history. Most steampunk novels are set in Victorian England or America, but are also known to be set in the Wild West of America.
Steampunk is often characterized by the setting of the story and inventions that are fantastical and magical. Steampunk uses a lot of visual descriptions, especially when it comes to the machinery and fashion. Oftentimes, a lot of description will go into how a machine works. Supernatural elements are typically included in a steampunk story. Steampunk plots are adventure-driven stories, where machines play the part of moving the adventure along. Since there is so much action packed into most steampunk novels, the pacing is usually fast.
The characters of steampunk novels are quirky and include inventors, mad scientists, or the like. Characters in steampunk novels also take on the punk mentality. Usually the main character or characters is individualistic often goes against the mainstream, and he or she may be fighting for a cause or movement. Many times the plot of a steampunk novel involves good vs. evil, where the good guys and bad guys are clearly defined. Continue reading Genre Guide: Steampunk for Teens