I remember working at Barnes and Noble when Breaking Dawn first released. Lines of people waiting, teens to grandmothers sweeping in to buy this book about a girl, a vampire, and a werewolf. I didn’t get it. Sure I’d been reading paranormal fiction since I was old enough to choose what I read. Bunnicula being the first title, and having read the series a dozen times, it still doesn’t get old. But Anne Rice sort of killed vampires for me. I read the vampire series, actually enjoyed it until Memnoch the Devil came out. I stopped reading them then.
So when another author, this time in the teen genre came out as the latest thing, I didn’t want any part of it. I’d read the Harry Potter books, but my tastes ran more to adult fiction like Jim Butcher’s Dresden series, and Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. The new take on vampires wasn’t all rainbows and sexy hard-ons, but it also wasn’t the whining of Anne Rice’s vampires.
When I finally read the Meyer’s books I got it. People felt grounded again in something more mainstream. The average reader doesn’t often walk through the aisles where the header reads “Fantasy” searching for the next big read. In fast the endless rows of “Fiction” seem to garner more attention than any genre.
What Meyer did was revive a genre that had been fading back to its separated shelves. Once again genre books had found their way into those often cruised fiction shelves. So for all the good and bad, I’m glad the series exists.
The popularity of the movies in conjunction with the books have had a lot of critics grumbling that there’s nothing good left in the paranormal genre anymore. Within the m/m genre even more talk of the dying of paranormal fiction has popped up. This makes me cringe. The idea that some not so great popular fiction means that the whole genre is dying just makes me mad.
As a paranormal writer, I know where to find good fiction, and yes, it is sometimes hidden away on those separated shelves. The problem of course is that everyone sees the popular stuff, hates it and states everything must be worse. In reality, how often does the general public really agree on anything? And how often are they right? I’d say rarely.
For example, one of my favorite books of all time is a little known book called Heroes and Ghosts by S.A. Payne. It was one of the first m/m books I ever read, and though it’s certainly not the norm, since the book is published by a publisher that doesn’t normally release anything other than magazines, and it’s formatted a lot like a textbook. The story is about an alternate society in which people are manufactured to become sex pets. The main character is a very shy gay scientist who is researching extremely dangerous bugs. He accidentally finds himself saddled with a very attractive “pet,” only to discover the pet is more than the usual preprogrammed drone.
I have reread this book more than a dozen times. The cover is now worn and spine wrinkled, but the book is well loved. The love story transcends the entire book, though at times it’s heavy on the sci-fi plot than the romance, this book is really what the paranormal genre is all about for me, a hidden gem.
This book is for me, proof that the genre is not dead, but alive, healthy, and growing. The whole point of Paranormal Paradigms is just to spotlight the genre. Many authors with different view points, posting about what they love about the genre, their inspiration, and the best stories to be found in m/m paranormal. Please enjoy!
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