There’s a TON of literature out there!!! Seriously, it’s enough to make one’s head spin. Fantasy, science fiction, non-fiction, historical…
But there are two genres that stand head and shoulders above all the others: Romance and Horror.
Why THOSE two?
The ancient Greeks had this idea that they called ‘Eros Thanatos’: Sex and Death. Sex gives life and Death takes it, and thus the two concepts are inextricably intertwined. Literature reflects this.
Romance is the world’s best-selling genre. I suspect that this is because humans instinctively know that the only hope for the future lies in ‘pairing up’, in creating a stable household within which one can usher in the next generation. Even in the absence of children, marriage is the foundational bedrock of any stable society. Without it, anarchy begins to creep in. As God Himself decreed, ‘Male and female created He them… Therefore a man shall leave his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ That, I think, is why the world’s best-selling genre revolves around concepts such as ‘soul mates’ and ‘true love’.
But why is Horror ever nipping at Romance’s stiletto heels?
Death—or the fear thereof—haunts humanity’s every waking thought, whether we want to admit it or not. There are a million ways to die, and horror stories reflect this. Honestly, I suspect that our fear of death eclipses even our need for love. In that sense, I kinda wonder why Horror is the ‘number two’ genre instead of the top dog.
The answer is simple. You can fall in love, get married, have sex, and tell about those experiences later. But you only get to die once, and then… well, it’s kinda too late to write about your ordeal, isn’t it? Death is just as much a reality as Love, but the difference is that there’s no going back after you croak. The stories you’re gonna write then will only ever be read by God.
Romance and Horror, Horror and Romance…
The popularity of those two genres speaks volumes about the human condition.