Literary Subgenres I’ve Never Heard Of (and probably neither have you)

It’s time to take a semi-deep dive into the unknown places of the bookverse!

This whole idea sprung from me finding out Scandinavian crime novels is considered a genre (or at least a subgenre of mystery/thriller). So then I thought: I wonder how many oddly specific literary genres and subgenres are there that I don’t know about?

And here I am – after some research and a lot of time lost on Wikipedia – ready to present you some categories that I just think are either very weird or truly interesting. (Plus, I’m going to give you some book examples.)

Let’s get into it!

Sky Pirates

Pirate ship cinemagraphs GIF - Find on GIFER

This is, I think, the one I’m most interested in and honestly most likely to read in the future. Just think pirates in the sky. Like, the good old pirates which I really need to read some books about, except the ships are in the sky. But actual ships with sails. Can you imagine the feeling?

Examples:

(+ Movie Recommendation: CastleIn The Sky I really need to watch some Ghibli movies asap)

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Mannerpunk

1k gifs MY EDIT lily james Pride and Prejudice and Zombies owengrady •

“Mannerpunk is a genre that mashes up fantasy and manner-based comedy. Stories take place in an elaborate social structure, battling primarily with wits instead of monsters, even though the world around them might include magic and mayhem of every kind.”

Think almost every classic from the nineteenth and maybe twentieth century but give it a paranormal twist.  

Examples:

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Bangsian Fantasy

Inferno GIFs | Tenor

Have you ever wondered How is Shakespeare doing in hell? this is a joke and should be taken accordingly, I don’t know where Shakespeare is. Well, Bangsian Fantasy is here to answer your question.

Bangsian Fantasy is a genre that explores famous figures and their adventures n the afterlife, usually in a humorous way.

Examples:

  • A House-Boat on the Styx by John Kendrick Bangs (the most popular Bangsian Fantasy, also the genre was named after the author)
  • Inferno by Dante Alighieri (which I really want to read and can’t believe it was published in the 1307)
  • Heroes in Hell by Janet Morris
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Wuxia

Animation Animated Gif GIF by Disney - Find & Share on GIPHY

An entire book subgenre dedicated to martial artist and their adventures in ancient China. And I’ll be damned f I don’t read at least one in this lifetime!

I think everyone knew this existed. I mean, who didn’t watch at least one of those old Jackie Chan movies with horrible English dubs it’s Drunken Master for me. But who knew there were books?!

Examples:

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Mr. Darcy POV Books

Darcy GIFs | Tenor

Look, I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice yet so I don’t know what the hype is about but wow. People really love Mr. Darcy.

You know the Twilight book that came out this year that’s basically the story but Edward’s point of view. Well this is Pride and Prejudice but through Mr. Darcy’s eyes. And, yes, I know, it doesn’t seem like an actual thing, but it is…

Examples:

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Cashier Memoirs

Whole Food Cashier GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Exactly what it sounds like. Memoirs of cashiers. They show what cashiers go through and how entitled some people can be. (Can’t people just be nice and respect others who are just trying to do their job.) So if you’re tired of celebrity memoirs and want to try something closer to home, maybe you’ll want to check out cashier memoirs.

Examples:

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Oulipo Literature

Black-washing” is not a real thing - BlerdyOtaku

The term “Oulipo” comes from the French phrase ouvroir de littérature potentielle, which roughly translates to “workshop of potential literature.” This genre and literary movement embrace the idea that creativity is nurtured by constraint.

I don’t really know how to explain this, so I’ll do it like my math professor: give you some examples and hope you’ll get it from there. (And I feel so bad for the poor souls who have to translate these books…)

Examples:

  • A Void by Georges Perec (the 284 pages novel is written entirely without using the letter e which, knowig it was first published in French, is pretty damn impressive
  • Exercices in Style by Raymond Queneau (the same episode in told ninety-nine types, each time in a different style)
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Well, this was all for today! And, yes, my head is spinning I hope you enjoyed?

Have you ever heard about any of these subgenres? Are there any weird ones you know and would like to share?

Tell me in the comments!

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12 thoughts on “Literary Subgenres I’ve Never Heard Of (and probably neither have you)

  1. I love a bit of Scandi-crime, but I’ve never heard of any of the others. I was just thinking Mannerpunk sounds like a lot of fun when I saw you’d listed “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell” as an example – one of my favourite fantasies. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard of exactly zero of these subgenres, but they were all really interesting to read about! But an entire novel that doesn’t use the letter e? That sounds really difficult to do.

    Liked by 1 person

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