View Full Version : Straddling two genres - where should I apply?

08-15-2015, 01:14 AM
My novel unhelpfully straddles both Thriller and (light, near future) Science Fiction. Sort of Paul Atreides in the 'Her' universe under attack by a secret society.

I'm not really sure where this fits best.

It is certainly fast paced and quite tight with plenty of action. The sci-fi is integral but light - no space battles or anything that grand, more 'Pusher' than Star Wars.

It is set in a contemporary world but I don't know if the Thriller crowd will be put off by the sci-fi or if the sci-fi crowd will be disappointed with the lack of robots/c-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhäuser gate.

Should I hedge my bets and submit to Sci-Fi and Thriller agents or should I concentrate on one avenue?

Many thanks.

Latina Bunny
08-15-2015, 01:21 AM
Still can be classified as scifi. Not all scifi has to be about space battles or anything that grand. :) It's about the future or got futuristic elements? It's scifi. (Or maybe futuristic thriller? Still scifi.)

08-15-2015, 01:44 AM
I queried a historical thriller and my approach was to query agents who represented either historicals or thrillers, so long as they did not say no to the other genre. (As in, I didn't query agents who represented thrillers who said no historicals.) You never know who is going to like your manuscript, so query as widely as possible (as long as you respect their guidelines).

Aggy B.
08-15-2015, 02:09 AM
It sounds like Science Fiction. (Look at Snowcrash or Tad Williams Otherland series for examples of not-space SF. Even things like Bladerunner or Minority Report.) SF is usually classified as speculative fiction in which the science element is integral to the story in some way. In other words, if you take out your "light, near-future" elements you don't have the same story.

As far as looking for agents, I did much as Mayqueen while querying a Steampunk book (which straddled the Science Fiction and Fantasy gap by having both machines and magic in it). I started my query list with agents who represented both. Then added agents who repped either without specifying they didn't want the other. (So they might say they repped Fantasy, but didn't say "And no SF.") I also added any agents who just said "Commercial Fiction" without specifying "No SF/F". And finally added the folks who did only rep one or the other. (They would have been the last I queried, but I hadn't gotten quite that far.)

In your case, I would start by looking for the folks that do both Thriller and SF, and Commercial Fiction. A lot of SF has Thriller elements, so I wouldn't worry too much about agents who only say SF unless they are specific about only wanting Space Opera/MilSF/etc. Checking out what other authors repped by an agent have produced can help you decide which ones are more open to cross-genre work.

Best of luck.

08-15-2015, 10:44 AM
Thanks everyone, very helpful

08-17-2015, 05:19 AM
Sounds a lot like my stuff, actually, except mine also has a supernatural element. There's also the military element, and they have been classified as action-adventures. So, yeah, a lot of labels. The sci-fi and thriller crowds both seem to be my main readership. Patrick Lee writes in a similar vein - check out THE BREACH and GHOST COUNTRY.

01-17-2016, 02:10 AM
Most editors work in a narrow specialty. One guy handles thrillers, another sci-fi. Same with readers: Some like one and not the other.

Straddle that line, at thine own risk.

Aggy B.
01-17-2016, 06:27 AM
Most editors work in a narrow specialty. One guy handles thrillers, another sci-fi. Same with readers: Some like one and not the other.

Straddle that line, at thine own risk.

Yes. But agents rarely rep only one genre. Instead they tend to work in related groups and/or genres they have a particular love for.

FREX: My agent reps Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, and Graphic Novels.

Adniel Lenal
01-17-2016, 06:40 AM
Sounds good to me. If it seems like it covers multiple elements it just means it has many things that the readers intrigue can attach to. If you prefer sci-fi put it out as sci-fi.

02-21-2016, 04:47 AM
I've had a glass of wine and should stop posting, oh well, what the heck. My story crosses the line of memoir/autobiography. Or, is it autobiography/memoir? On the other hand, it could be True Crime. One chapter could be erotica. There are some profanity and violence spread throughout. I try to cover it in my query as simply my true story, with some profanity, violence, and sex. Now I forgot what the gist of my post was.

Jo Zebedee
02-21-2016, 02:01 PM
I don't think any sf agent would baulk at a thriller element - it's integral to lots of the genre.