There are plenty of genre-crossover books, films, and games out there, but to do the job well, you have to do more than just smoosh a couple of “in” concepts together, and hey presto, instant millions. The road to awesome is littered with the corpses of those who tried to merge two much-loved genres and ended up with a BrundleFly.
SO, here’s a group of folks who did it well—book, TV, comic, videogame and film—and should be showered in instant millions.
Perdido Street Station by China Miéville
This is something of no-brainer, as Miéville’s first Bas Lag book became the poster-child for New Weird. Combining magic, science fiction and panty-soiling horror, it paved the way for the equally genre-bending The Scar, Iron Council and the Every Award Under the Sun Winning The City and the City.
Sandman by Neil Gaiman
The ultimate genre-mashup, racing back and forth across time and space and everywhere in between. Horror, romance and mysticism. Epic mythic tales set in ancient Greece and Baghdad, to contemporary paranormal weirdness in downtown London. All interconnected through Dream and his siblings, as mashed-up a set of characters as ever there was. Even the formatting was non-traditional, with single issue one-shots and mini-series sitting beside eight and nine issue long arcs, all interacting with a 75-issue long meta-plot.
Firefly created by Joss Whedon
With a far-future setting merging Chinese and American culture, Firefly also saw high-tech futurism blended with the traditional Wild West. In its brief 14 -pisode run, Firefly gave viewers as much chance of witnessing a horseback chase or train robbery as a laser gun and spacefight in any given episode. Snappy one-liners and silly hats were a constant, of course.
BioShock developed by 2k Boston/Irrational Games, directed by Ken Levine and Alyssa Finley
A first-person shooter that combined puzzle, RPG and stealth elements. An aesthetic merging Art Deco, steampunk and golden-age science fiction, splashed with gore and shadows. A moral choice system of gameplay influenced by Ayn Rand, George Orwell, William F Nolan and George Johnson, swung to a jazz-era soundtrack. It was madness and should never have worked, but DAMN SON. It worked its ADAM off.
Kill Bill written/directed by Quentin Tarantino
It’s kinda like a kung fu action movie made sweet love to a horror movie with anime playing in the background. Crash zooms and over-dramatic musical stings sit side by side with top-tier fight scenes, slick cinematography merges with manga-style animation and cheesy character names and dialogue are crowned with one of the best monologues ever delivered in modern cinema.
This post also appears on the Tor UK blog.
Jay Kristoff is the award-winning author of THE LOTUS WAR, THE ILLUMINAE FILES and THE GODSGRAVE CHRONICLES. He is a winner of the Aurealis Award, nominee for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards, named in the Kirkus Best Teen Books list and published in a dozen countries, most of which he has never visited. Being the holder of an arts degree, he has no education to speak of. He is 6’7 and has approximately 13380 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.