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On Genre, Fusion, and Frankenstein’s Monster
Fusion is defined as the process or result of joining two or more things together to form a single entity. (You know, like Frankenstein did with his monster. An arm here, a leg there, toss in a torso and a head, and before you know it you have a whole new person!)
This appeals to me. No, not building my own person, piecemeal, like some warped and bloody Ikea project. I mean I like the idea of fusion in general. And not because I have difficulty making up my mind about what I want. (Well, not only that.) It’s more about the inherent experimental creativity of taking a little of this and mixing it with a little of that, and standing back to see what it morphs into that appeals to me. It’s like science for us artsy-fartsy types.
Musicians do it all the time. Fusion in music encompasses any combo you can think of. Folk-punk, rap metal, gypsy jazz, country rap, reggae fusion, blues rock, folktronica, rockabilly–you name, they’ve got it. There’s even something called psychobilly, which, to tell you the truth, I’m kind of afraid to listen to. I mean, what if it’s catching?
Chefs do it, too. Fusion in cuisine combines elements of different culinary traditions. Burrito-sushi, Indi-Mex, Japanese pizza, curry-anything–you name an ingredient and you can bet some clever cook has mixed it up with something unexpected, and made it into a delicious new offering. Take, for instance, a popular Korean dish called budae jjigae, AKA “Army Base Stew” or “troop stew” to those of us who don’t speak Korean. (I know it’s popular because Anthony Bourdain, the well-traveled connoisseur of all things remotely edible, said so on an episode of Parts Unknown.)
Budae-jjigae (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budae_jjigae) contains spam, hot dogs, kimchi, rice cakes, ramen noodles, onions, garlic, American cheese, and baked beans (among other things). Sounds horrendous, doesn’t it? But apparently it’s absolutely delicious, so I’m going to try it as soon as I can get someone to make it for me.
Even authors are into fusion. There are some of us who, though we might officially write one genre, cross over the line to others all the time. My Ciel Halligan books are published as urban fantasy, but libraries from the US and Canada to New Zealand and Australia also have them shelved under science fiction, mystery, romance, paranormal romance, humorous fiction, and even crime, depending, I suppose, on what type of readers the librarians thinks they will
appeal to. And, yes, the series contains elements of all those genres. Kind of budae jjigae for the literary set. I can only hope that will make it easy for readers to find something to their taste when they pick up one of my books.
Speaking of my books and Korea, the first book in the series–In a Fix–has been translated into Korean. I have no way of knowing if the translation is as good as budae jjigae (not being able to read Korean myself), but I do like the cover.
Now, excuse me while I go try to figure out how to squeeze a dash of historical and a smidge of steampunk to my current work in progress. Bon appétit! I mean, happy reading!
LINDA GRIMES is a former English teacher and ex-actress now channeling her love of words and drama into writing. She grew up in Texas and currently resides in northern Virginia with her husband.
Linda grew up in Texas, where she rode horses, embarrassed herself onstage a lot, and taught teenagers they’d have to learn the rules of English before they could get away with breaking them for creativity’s sake. She currently resides in Virginia with her husband, whom she snagged after he saw her in a musical number at the now defunct Melodrama Theater in San Antonio. (There’s nothing like a rousing chorus of “If You Wanna Catch a Fish You Gotta Wiggle Your Bait” to hook a man for a lifetime.)
Like her globetrotting main character, Linda has spent her fair share of time overseas, though fortunately under less stressful circumstances. Kidnapping and daring rescues are all well and good in fiction, but she prefers sanity in her real life.
- Series: Ciel Halligan (Book 4)
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books (May 24, 2016)
- ISBN-10: 0765376393
- ISBN-13: 978-0765376398
The hilarious adventures of human chameleon Ciel Halligan continue in the fourth installment of this original urban fantasy series from Linda Grimes, All Fixed Up.
Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire, has a lot of experience filling in for her clients–as them. A rare genetic quirk gives her the ability to absorb human energy and project it back out in a flawless imitation. She’s hard at work, posing as a well-known and celebrated astronaut, about to make a stunning announcement on behalf of the space program…when the photographer documenting the job sees right through her aura. Worse, it soon becomes apparent that he not only knows Ciel’s not who she’s supposed to be, but means her harm.
When Ciel’s elderly Aunt Helen―also an aura adaptor―is murdered in Central Park, and the same photographer shows up at the funeral, Ciel starts to feel even more exposed. Then more adaptors are killed in the same way, and she becomes terrified her friends and family are being systematically exterminated … and it’s starting to look like she’s the ultimate target. She turns to Billy Doyle, her best-friend-turned-boyfriend, for help, but when an unexpected crisis causes him to take off without a word, she’s left to rely on her not-so-former crush, CIA agent Mark Fielding.
Staying alive, keeping control of her romantic life, and unraveling the mystery of why adaptors are being pursued becomes a harder balancing act than ever in this new Ciel Halligan adventure from Linda Grimes.