A Tube Map of SF&F Genres

As with any London Tube style map, distance on the map has no connection with distance in reality. Position is about how to make everything fit. I feel like it needs more stops on the big pink Fantasy circle line. Green stops allow you to change services to mainstream rail lines. Purple stops allow you to change to the horror tram services.

There is a foot tunnel between Cyber Punk and Steam Punk.


28 responses to “A Tube Map of SF&F Genres”

  1. Planetary Romance is nearly a closed station these days.

    Sword and Sorcery explcitly needs a station, I think, even if its mostly covered under Low

    I’d add Sci Fi Thrillers as a green station

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What about “science fantasy”? It’s kinda old but shows up every now and then. Perhaps “sword and sorcery” too, though that may be too general.


  3. Hard SF is the Northern Line: deep, but crowded and can get quite stuffy.
    Fantasy is the Circle Line: stay on it for long enough and you just end up back where you started.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I second the suggestion about Sword & Sorcery needing it’s own station.

    Other possibilities on the pink light: Portal Fantasy, Fairy Tales, and Superheroic Fantasy? Maybe?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Dark fantasy (or weird?) on pink with an interchange to horror.

    I’d quite like to work out a connection with heroic fantasy (or sword and sorcery as mentioned above) and science fantasy and so on. Maybe some sort of “pulp zone”?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Yes, sword and sorcery definitely needs a station. Meanwhile, there are probably several foot tunnels and connecting lines to the romance line, i.e. from soft science fiction, space opera, urban fantasy, paranormal romance (which of course has its own station, that’s probably an interchange with the romance line), time travel and even steampunk. Probably dystopian and post-apocalyptic, too, at least I’ve seen romance versions of both.

    Meanwhile, at least according to the Kindle store, the military SF and space opera stations are moving closer together with soft science fiction as some kind of Aldwich or Mornington Crescent, where the train hardly ever stops. And they definitely have a foot tunnel to science fantasy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Seems to me that magical realism should be a stop closer to literary fiction than science fiction is, since the literary establishment accepts it with far more ease. Of course, I’m spatially challenged and couldn’t imagine how to fix it so it looks as good as you have it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maybe Climatepunk could be a solar-powered shuttle bus between the ~punk subgenre stops, apocalyptic and dystopian.


  8. This is fantastic, but I agree with others that Magical Realism needs a connection somehow to Lit Fic… those highbrow negative critics of SFF seem to accept that magical realism is MORE OKAY than the other parts of our galaxy.

    Thanks for a hilarious and thought provoking juxtaposition of two mental maps. Will be studying.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can see why one might put space opera next to planetary romance, but space opera can be quite hard (e.g. Bujold, Cherryh) – and MilSF doesn’t strike me as particularly hard.

    Maybe techothrillers should be somewhere on the map.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m just worried about what the train schedule looks like at Time Travel (especially for the trains that haven’t been built yet), and how many interchanges there are at Parallel Worlds and Alt History.


  11. Don’t forget Hope punk and Solar punk as a ditch you can fall into when making your way from Steam punk to Cyber punk (obligatory /s here).


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