What new genres or modes of writing are emerging before our very eyes?

Continuing the discussion from A Sci-Fi thread:

This discussion of genre definition, the fairly modern history of sci-fi, and how certain sub-genres or concepts like time travel only emerged quite recently, got me thinking:

What genres are just now coming into being? Say in the last generation or so…or even ones that are just starting to emerge but perhaps aren’t even definite enough to have taken on a name?

One that comes to mind is climate fiction or “cli-fi” — stories distinctly shaped by the anthropocene…lots of overlap with sci-fi but “not necessarily speculative in nature”. Seems like the subject matter has been emerging for decades, but only very recently has acquired a distinct genre identity.

Similarly, not just genres but modes or forms…I feel like there has to be an influence of things like blog posts, text messages, and Twitter threads, not only as newly popular forms themselves, but as an influence bleeding over into other mediums.

For example Venkat Rao’s Breaking Smart is an email newsletter that’s essentially structured as a long tweetstorm. It feels weird and kinda distracting but also kinda works.

I know I’ve seen articles along the lines of “is the internet killing attention spans / changing how we read?” — but I’d also be curious if people have studied e.g. whether streams and reverse-chronological feeds are changing how we write as well.

Interactive fiction also comes to mind, a form somewhere between story and game, that came to prominence a few decades ago. More broadly there’s now study of electronic or digital literature that includes not only interactive fiction but things like hypertext narratives, computational poetry, etc. (I took a great class on this once!)

Personally I’m a huge fan of hip-hop and would consider that to be an important new form of poetry to emerge in the late 20th c.

Fan fiction is a world I don’t know a ton about, but find fascinating. Would love to learn more about the history there.

I haven’t actually read anything in the quantum fiction genre but…I am fascinated by its existence! (I wrote more about an example of this genre in my antilibrary here: Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel)

A few other interesting ones from this list of genres on Wikipedia:

So…other new modes of writing? Weird emergent forms of experimental poetry? Distinct sub-genres of novel or memoir? What else comes to mind?


It’s related to cli-fi but I think “bi-fi” or biology-fiction is an emerging trend that we’ll see more of.

I’m thinking of speculative fiction based on organic matter and new biologies like the Annihilation series from Jeff Vandermeer

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i think jonny sun is onto something with his “stylized verbal incoherence” as in his book “everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too” https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-09-27/how-speak-aliebn-no-thats-not-typo

in general more use of expressive “misspellings” and expansions and abbreviations which we use in digital conversations (https://gretchenmcculloch.com/book/) as central narrative voices which will be elevated in literary circles. i guess this might also just be post-modernism?

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This is a good one! Been meaning to read the Annihilation trilogy.

Also related, speculative fiction about sustainable futures: solarpunk or ecopunk…surprisingly not among the 18 “cyberpunk derivatives” linked above haha.

Oh yeah totally, I hadn’t even been thinking of innovations in tone / voice, these are good examples! All kinds of little variations that can serve as signaling mechanisms to better express a mood, connect with a particular audience, etc. Cool to see that style guide for “everyone’s a aliebn” and his various other considerations like not relying too much on txt shorthands, and avoiding misspellings that would imply a nonnative speaker.

I guess not super new in general to do this kind of linguistic variation to indicate different voices etc. but definitely lots of expanded possibilities and experimentation with the internet / various platforms that carry their own expectations and constraints.

Now I want to think more deeply about possibilities for experimentation with hip-hop lyricism because I think music is an area rich for playing with this sort of thing. Thinking of how the genre started with simple rhyme schemes but now all kinds of styles have proliferated, from hyper-speed rapping to intricate rhymed narratives to mumble rap…

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