Genre fiction always has had second-place status in the realm of literature.
High school and college English teachers dismiss it as a popular diversion that lacks substance. Image-conscious writers avoid it like the plague, lest they be accused of pandering to the base desires of the public. Readers, swayed by years of instruction from these teachers and derision from these writers, refuse to pick up any book that looks like it could contain such less-than-literary content.
The history of literature, however, shows a different side of the story. From the earliest days, genre fiction has captured the imagination of some of the most well-respected authors of every age.
Why there exists such a gulf in prestige between genre fiction of the past and genre fiction of the present remains a mystery. For now, this site will attempt to offer a sort of primer for the historical basis of a literary appreciation of these works.
The three major areas of genre fiction will be considered: horror, science fiction and fantasy. While there are numerous other genres and subgenres--such as mystery, romance, children's fantasy, and others--these three are those that have best stood the test of time.