My Favorite Subgenres--And Some I'd Like to Start Reading

Any time I write about genre, I'm always kind of floored by how little I've read in genres I know I quite enjoy! So I'm going to take this opportunity to open myself up to recommendations; if you have an suggestions about what to read in any of the following genres, please let me know in the comments below.

If I'm going to try talking about subgenres I like, let me start by saying that there are four main genres I could consider favorites. Well, perhaps more accurately, I have four genres that my favorite books tend to fall under. Those would be fantasy and horror, which I consider my "actual" favorite genres, and science fiction and mystery, which I enjoy... but not quite as much as fantasy and horror. So I'll be talking about subgenres from within these categories.

First we have Dark Fantasy. This would be a subgenre that I don't have a ton of experience with--I've read A Game of Thrones from the A Song of Ice and Fire and recently fallen in love with Dragon Age: Origins, but I don't recall ever reading, watching, or playing much of anything else in this sub. But I'll definitely be looking for more!

Still in the realm of fantasy, there's the Feminist Fantasy subgenre. I have some reasonable experience here, as I've always been partial to female protagonists over male protagonists. I totally adore stories that involve teams of girls/women, as seen in Sailor Moon's Sailor Scouts, Tokyo Mew Mew's Mew Mews, and Charmed's Halliwell sisters, and I love the action heroine characters exemplified by Song of the Lioness's Alanna of Trebond, Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Buffy Summers, The Legend of Korra's Avatar Korra. I am all over this genre... and I'm still totally on the lookout for more.

From fantasy, we move to Horror. I tend to enjoy Horror with fantasy elements, though, and my first example of that would be the Cthulhu Mythos. Technically, it'd make more sense for me to refer to the Cosmic Horror and Lovecraft Lite subgenres here, but honestly, most of my interest in the subgenres manifests as interest in the Mythos and its multitude of stories and fan works. Not that I'm going to avoid exploring more Lovecraftian fiction!

I also have a bit of fondness for Religious Horror, though I can only recall ever reading one book in the subgenre. Of course, it's kind of crazy that this is even something I would enjoy; I'm a fairly antitheistic person, but there's just something about putting a horror spin on religion that amuses the crap out of me. Examples of this would include Supernatural, Paranormal Activity, Rosemary's Baby, which deal with elements of Christian mythology; Children of the Corn, which revolves around a fictitious "religion of evil"; and InuYasha, which deals with elements of Shintoism.

Then there's Ghost Fiction. This is perhaps the earliest subgenre I discovered, and I loved scaring the crap out of myself with it when I was an elementary school kid. Childhood favorites included books like Wait Till Helen Comes, Time Windows, Ghosts Beneath Our Feet, and similar stories, while my more recent experience with ghost stories has been pretty much limited to movies like The Conjuring, Mama, Poltergeist, and Insidious. I definitely plan of reading more of this subgenre as soon as physically possible.

Spinning off from Ghost Fiction would be a related mystery subgenre I enjoy: Paranormal Investigation. I haven't had much experience with this subgenre as an adult beyond the Buffy the Vampire spin-off, Angel, but my childhood featured books like The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, The Haunted Hotel and other installments of the A to Z Mysteries series, The Haunting of Grade Three, and Scooby-Doo. I'd love to get into reading more of this subgenre... but I don't really have any idea where to start!

Then there's another of my favorite horror subgenres, the only one that doesn't necessarily have supernatural elements: Psychological Horror. My only real book experience with the genre is House of Leaves (which I admit I enjoyed more for The Navidson Record than anything else), but I love movies like Black Swan and The Shining, so I'd love to find more in this subgenre to get into.

The only science fiction subgenre that I have enough experience with to qualify as a favorite is Dystopia. Favorites here would be Harrison Bergeron and The Hunger Games when it comes to literature and Dollhouse's "Epitaph" episodes when it comes to television.

And like I said, there are also a few subgenres I'd like to get into. Sticking with the science fiction genre, these would include Post-Apocalyptic, which I plan to start my trek through with Ashfall. But beyond that, I'm really interested in getting into Speculative Science. It really sounds like everything I wish science fiction was--you know, actual goddamn science? So, seriously, if you have any speculative science recommendations, give them to me now.

Lastly, the mystery genre's subgenre of Cozy Mysteries has appealed to me for a while, though I've never actually managed to get around to diving headfirst into the many, many books on my TBR lists that qualify as cozies. That's definitely a project I'm going to get around to doing, though!

So, what are your favorite genres and subgenres? Have any opinions of the ones I'm partial to? What about recommendations? I'm all ears, guys!

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