I love mash-ups. Give me two well-blended genres, and I'm sold most of the time. It's what I dig about Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi Noir, Time Travel Romance, and so many other combos. This week's episode was, in part, inspired by an impulsive move at the library. I was walking around the audio book section, and I just wanted something good to listen to. I saw OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, and I'd heard some very good things about it. Based on the review from that friend of mine, who reads a LOT of fantasy, I picked it up.
Technically, it's historical romance, but it's also portal fantasy mixed with some serious adventure writing. I loved it so much that I'm currently listening to it AGAIN with my wife.
Mash-ups can be tough to do well. My two favorites are Charlaine Harris and Jim Butcher. Both of their series could TECHNICALLY fit in the Urban Fantasy sub genre, but Harris leans more toward mystery/romance, while Butcher is action/noir.
The reason I love both of those series so much is that I enjoy stories that subvert my expectations. It's a big part of what inspires the podcast, and it's what inspires a lot of my writing. Epic Fantasy and Hard Science Fiction have their place, but in my experience, it's hard to find something that's not a rehash of something else I've read before. And while the books I love most are following many of the same patterns as other great stories over the centuries, they do it in a way that feels fresh and new to me.
I'm not saying that there's a lack of originality, either. I don't think mash-ups are the only TRUE new books. I love classic fantasy and sci-fi. And mysteries. And romance. But I'm not always in the mood for something with a classic feel. Mash-ups give me something ELSE to read through and engage with.
What about you? Do you have any favorite mash-ups? What are they, and why do you like them?