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For awhile now, I’ve struggle to put what I write into a genre. None of the standard available categorizations ever seem to fit. The lack of accuracy perpetually grates on me, it feels like I’m forced to put stories in a category that is false advertising.

The problem is, I’m looking for a pairing of elements that isn’t named because its seldom done: Psychology and Science Fiction. These are the films/books I end up being the most excited about when I read their synopsis or see their trailer. I’d also argue it’s a pairing that is one of the most difficult to pull off successfully.

Science Fiction is generally described as: literary fantasy involving the imagined impact of technology on society.

This definition would fit in a general way, but I gravitate toward stories at the level of the individual. I want to experience characters in a situation that is feasible given the right technology (no magic required), and I want to explore what effects this has on a very isolated personal level.

Now, disclaimer, all the films I have included images of here are not necessarily “good” films. I put Transcendence in and I haven’t even seen it. The success or failure of these stories fell on the way the writer/director/actors explored the situations. What they all share is a very good idea that makes them interesting. Take The Butter Fly Effect: Great idea, poorly explored and acted.

I included The Game because, even thought there is no science fiction, one had to withstand a considerable amount of disbelief to buy that the ending was actually something that a group of people could pull off. Still, I love this movie.

Now, a lot of people could argue that a number of these are science fiction action adventure stories. I argue that Star Wars is a better fit for such a description. The difference being where the focus of the story lies. The puzzling out that a character has to do to achieve their end goal is the key difference. Star Wars plots are not about solving a complex mental puzzle, they’re about, for lack of a better description, action and adventure.

I like the idea of a Psy-Fi genera.  Admittedly, it couldn’t actually be named that as it would be confusing as hell in a conversation. I’d be happy with Mind Bending Science Fiction, its often used to describe these films/stories anyway.


The Unnamed Genre | Psy-Fi
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9 thoughts on “The Unnamed Genre | Psy-Fi

  • October 12, 2014 at 8:12 am

    I worry that if my book can’t be placed in the most marketable, sellable pile, my MS won’t even be looked at. It’s gotten to the point where I may have to pitch it as paranormal romance just so that it gets a look in ( it’s young adult). It’s a sad reality, and although I wouldn’t change the MS and where I wanted it to head, it might allow me a second chance 🙁

    • October 14, 2014 at 5:11 am

      Hi Lorelle! Thanks for the comment. I feel the same way. The closest option I had for The Never Hero was Sci-Fi – Superhero. It works, but wasn’t a mainstream category that I wanted the book listed in, mostly because it was a category targeted at adolescent males. I ended up switching it to Action Adventure which was a little broader. Though still, I’d say its more psychological than any of those other options. What’s the title of your book?

      • October 16, 2014 at 9:46 pm

        It’s called ‘Glory’. I’m not published yet though – maybe another year, or two…… 🙂

  • October 14, 2014 at 5:36 am

    Really like this idea! If “new adult” has legs so cab psy-fi. Are you on WattPad??

    • October 14, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      Hi Matt! Glad you like the idea. I hadn’t heard of Wattpad, but I added it this morning. Looks pretty cool, I’ll play with it more when I get home from work. Thanks for the recommendation.

      • October 25, 2014 at 9:38 pm

        My pleasure. Look for me when you sign up.

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  • July 23, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    I’m with you. First book I published would have suited a psychological sci-fi category. Now I’ve shot myself in the foot by writing a hard-boiled paranormal novel. Similarly, I look at examples of film and TV that prove there’s an audience (or at least there was an audience). I agree that there should at least be a catch-all sub genre that gives people a place to search for alternative titles under the parent categories. What if readers are like music listeners and seeking something different? The Alternative category in music is a parent category, and things get more obscure and twisted as you dig deeper. That’s the kind of choice I think readers should have.

    • July 25, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Hi Glenn, Thanks for the response. I’ve come to just refer to ‘my genre’ as science fantasy of late. It doesn’t really hint at the psychological side of things but I like the sound of it. Feel its gives a sense of surrealism within the realm of a scientific explanation of plot point as opposed to magic.


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