TOP 5 GENRE MASH-UPS by Jay Kristoff, author of Endsinger
18 September 2015
By Rob Cox
We've asked the awesome Jay Kristoff to give us his Top 5 genre mash-ups, in celebration of last week's paperback release of Endsinger, the final novel of his brilliant Japanese-Steampunk Lotus War trilogy. Click the covers for extracts and find out below what Jay picked . . .
* * * *
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 ST STATION, 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.
FIREFLY, 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 it’s brief 14 episode 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.
SANDMAN, 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 mini-arcs, all interacting with a 75-issue long meta-plot.
BIOSHOCK, 2k Boston (Ken Levine)
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, 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.