One of the things I love about SFF is the fact that you aren’t bound into a strict set of genre conventions, but that you can meld and mesh genres together for a nearly limitless ability to create unique and interesting stories.
Western, mystery, romance, suspense, thriller, detective, literary, historical, chick lit, and more. None of these are beyond the scope of SFF. A well-balanced mingling of any of these can create an experience of wonder and joy. Though an ill-balanced mix will come off as nothing but a contrived mix of shallow dreck.
This is likely something that contributes to the difficulty of separating and classifying SFF sub-genres. How would you classify a sweet prairie romance set in a new colony on the plains of Benedix IV? Or perhaps the story of an elite S.W.A.T. style team set in a magical kingdom? Or a re-telling of the Napoleanic wars that asks “What if there were dragon riders used during the war”? A retelling of the story of Noah that abandons the assumption that mankind wasn’t advanced technologically pre-flood, mixing in elements of fantasy and sci-fi? (Three of those are real books).
Then there’s stories like Blade Runner or Harry Turtledove’s World War series.
SFF is so much more than Tolkien and Lucas and Rodenberry, even if those tend to be the most well known and emulated examples of the modern age.
So if YOU could mix in a genre for the ultimate SFF story, what would it be? And what would the perfect mix for you be?