A cross-genre (or hybrid genre) is a genre in fiction that blends themes and elements from two or more different genres. As opposed to the (literary and political) conservatism of most genre fiction, cross-genre writing offers opportunities for opening up debates and stimulating discussion.
Such hybrid genres are not new but a longstanding element in the fictional process: perhaps the most famous example is William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell, with its blend of poetry, prose, and engravings. In contemporary literature Dimitris Lyacos's trilogy Poena Damni (Z213: Exit, With the people from the bridge, The First Death) combines fictional prose with drama and poetry in a multilayered narrative developing through the different characters of the work.
Fredric Jameson has highlighted the progressive elements in Third World Literature that defies genre expectations such as Xala; and in science fiction like The Left Hand of Darkness with its exploration of gender roles.
Dean Koontz considers himself a cross-genre writer, not a horror writer: "I write cross-genre books-suspense mixed with love story, with humor, sometimes with two tablespoons of science fiction, sometimes with a pinch of horror, sometimes with a sprinkle of paprika..."
Diane P. Freedman, An Alchemy of Genres (1997)
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