So I am going to present to you the fourth SFF genre:
The name is by no means a new one, in fact it has been used for years to describe exactly the type of story I think deserves it's own SFF-genre. Granted it is used mostly about films and games. And it was used much more widely ten to twenty years ago. At least here in Norway where it is called "eventyr" (, also meaning fairy tale in case you come across it in that meaning).
Usually action is tacked on at the front, and I think everyone will recognize the term action-adventure. But by going to my DVD collection, I notice most of the films who would be classified as action-adventure during the 90s are now only described as action. (Bizarrely this includes my Norwegian DVD of Underworld.) So I guess now would be a good time to take the adventure term back to SFF where it belongs.
Maybe it's time I gave a description of what I think about when I use the term Adventure:
Action-oriented story. Usually with a quest. Can sometime border the mystery/thriller genre, but it has a supernatural, paranormal or mythical element. Often the element is an artifact the the main character is looking for, or it could be some sort of ancient cult/conspiracy/guardians of wisdom that is involved. Anything that involves what can be called alternative, or fringe, archaeology falls into this category.
From my description of Adventure, it is easy to use the most widely known example to clarify further; Indiana Jones. For some reason the Indiana Jones movies are considered SFF by fans of the genre, while most people outside the genre consider them action movies.
Indiana Jones looks for mythical artifacts, something that as far as we know are legends and do not exist, like the holy grail. This is what makes people see it as SFF(, I think most people use Fantasy to describe the movies).
But I see a huge problem with Indiana Jones belonging to SFF without the genre Adventure being utilised.
And that problem can be traced back to the holy grail, and also literature. Indiana Jones isn't the only one to hunt for, and find the holy grail, Robert Langdon did the exact same thing in The Da Vinci Code. The difference being the "san greal/sang real" interpretation.
Take away the setting, and you have what amounts to basically the same story. But despite this Dan Brown is considered mainstream by SFF fans, while Indiana Jones is being embraced as SFF. I see this as the kind of value judgement that I hate as a SFF fan.
We SFF fans are tired of SFF being classified as Lit.Fic. if the literary crowd thinks it is good. But we do the same with Brown. Brown may not be a great writer, but his stories, at least The Da Vinci Code, are as much SFF as Indiana Jones' adventures.
And to remove, as much as possible, the value judgement, I think we need the Adventure genre under the SFF umbrella.
(If you wonder why I use Brown as an example, I considered using Clive Cussler, but settled on Brown because he's more familiar to most people. And I have to say that Cussler's books more or less embodies the Adventure genre.)
What do you think? Am I wrong, am I right? Do you disagree that my definition of Adventure falls under the SFF umbrella? (Am I even making any sense?)