Genres and Subgenres in Fiction

Fiction is classified into many distinct genres known to most readers, including fantasy, literary, mystery, romance, and science fiction. There are sub-genres inside each genre. There is also much crossover across genres. In addition, a new genre develops that becomes fashionable every now and again, such as the legal thriller or chick-lit fiction subgenres that gained popularity years ago.

A trip to the bookshop or an internet bookstore will keep you informed about emerging subgenres. Pro tip: Different bookshops arrange their categories differently. For instance, fantasy and science fiction may be lumped together, whereas thrillers may be classified apart from mystery.

The following is a list of popular commercial fiction genres and some of their subgenres.


The term “fantasy fiction” refers to a type of literature in which the storyline is improbable to occur in actual life. Frequently, the narrative incorporates magic or witchcraft and takes place on another planet or in a previously unknown realm of our world.

Typically, the setting’s general tone is medieval, with elements such as architecture, dress, language, and technology evocative of the European Middle Ages. Often, the story includes mythological creatures or talking animals (who may or may not wear clothing and dwell in houses), as well as witches or sorcerers. Frequently, fantasy authors will devote a whole series of novels to the same setting or people.


Horror is a literary, cinematic, and television genre aimed at frightening, startling, shocking, and even repulsing viewers. A horror book, horror film, or horror television show’s primary goal is to instill fear in the reader via scary imagery, themes, and circumstances.

The narrative and characters are equally as essential as the tone and atmosphere in the horror genre. A horror story’s study of the unknown often shocks and provokes.


The mystery genre is a subgenre of literature that chronicles a crime (such as a murder or a disappearance) from its commission through its resolution. Mystery books are often referred to as “whodunnits” because they transform the reader into a detective tasked with determining the who, what, when, and how of a specific murder. The protagonist of most mysteries is a detective or private eye who is tasked with solving a case.


A romance book or romantic novel is a subgenre of genre literature that focuses on the connection and romantic love between two individuals and often concludes with an “emotionally gratifying and hopeful resolution.”

Science Fiction

Science fiction incorporates aspects from the imaginary world that does not exist in reality. They cover a wide variety of topics and is often concerned with time travel, space travel, the future, and the repercussions of technology and scientific advancements.

Suspense and Thriller

It is a fiction subgenre with many, often overlapping subgenres. Thrillers are defined and characterized by the emotions they evoke in viewers. Amplifying their senses of suspense, surprise, excitement, anticipation, and anxiety.


Westerns are mainly set in the American Old West during the later eighteenth to nineteenth centuries. They depict the tales of cowboys, pioneers, and outlaws exploring and taming the western frontier.

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