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Getting the point (of a genre)

Crumbly Writer

I noticed that both Ernest and I have recently written zombie apocalyptic stories, so suggested we examine each others work to see if we could share ideas or reference each others work.

However, I noticed a certain trend in both our works. Each of us Solved the zombie apocalpse within the scope of our single book. In Ernest's case, militarily, in mine, thru science/genetics (surprise, surprise!). But it struck me that this flies in the face of the success of the genre.

Zombie stories are an unrelenting horror story, where in the individual might survive, but the horror always remains and the future is always questionable. As such, stories which resolve the central issue might not be appreciated by fans of the genre.

Needless to say, it pointless referencing each others' work if we both resolve the same crisis differently, but it raises the question of how far can you yank a popular genre before it breaks? Many genres are continually reinvented (Dracula, Post-Apocalypse, horror), reintroducing the same material to a new generation.

Anyone have any related experiences or thoughts on this issue? When does a story shoot itself in the foot by not understand a genre's basic appeal, and when is it valid to reinvent?

By the way, it's still worth reading both of our stories (his a several chapter short, mine a full novel, neither ready for release yet). ;)

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

By the way, it's still worth reading both of our stories (his a several chapter short, mine a full novel, neither ready for release yet). ;)


But mine is almost there.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Anyone have any related experiences or thoughts on this issue? When does a story shoot itself in the foot by not understand a genre's basic appeal, and when is it valid to reinvent?


I don't have any related experience, but I do have a few thoughts.

Many genres are continually reinvented (Dracula, Post-Apocalypse, horror), reintroducing the same material to a new generation.


Dracula is not a genre, it's a particular story within the vampire genre.

I've read Bram Stoker's book, and I've watched a few Dracula movies. Other than the movie actually titled Bram Stoker's Dracula, the movie that is singularly most faithful to Bram Stoker's story is not a serious vampire movie, it's a spoof, Leslie Nielsen's Dracula: Dead and Loving It.

I bring that up as a lead in to my main point. I don't think it's every invalid to reinvent a genre. Or would that be more appropriately considered creating a new related genre? As long as that is what you are deliberately doing and not re-inventing it accidentally because you started to write in the genre without understanding it, have at it.

There are a number of reasons to re-invent a genre. I think the one that is most likely to bring success, is to bring the genre to a new audience out side of it's traditional audience.

I think the biggest obstacle to success is letting others (particularly it you want the story published by a traditional publisher) pigeon hole it in the base genre.

docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

Many genres are continually reinvented


The funny part is we have examples in our history. Those who fought in WWI thought they would end wars. It worked for a while, but the next generation had to fight another war.

Most horror stories the fight might be won, but lo and behold the horror crops up again, sometimes in same location and others in different places.

Any solution turns out to be only a temporary reprieve.

So don't worry about how your characters solve it in their turn. The horror will return and someone else will have to solve it all over again.

As long as the stories are good fans of the genre will enjoy them. As far as I have seen both you and Ernest tend to tell good stories.

Dicrostonyx

@Crumbly Writer

I'm not sure that I'm fully comfortable referring to zombies as a "genre" in and of themselves, but I'm a bit of a purest when it comes to terminology. I'd say rather that they are a common element in a specific sub-genre of the broader genre of survival horror. As an example, take a book like "I Am Legend"; the monsters in the books are a strain of vampire, but functionally it's a zombie story where the "zombies" are only a threat during the night.

Without having read either of your stories, I'd suggest that if you solve the zombie issue, then yes, you are missing the point. Zombies are completely ludicrous as a monster, and it doesn't take a lot of deep thinking to see the problems. Humans did not rise to dominance by being stronger, faster, or tougher than other animals; if you take away our problem solving and ability to work together, we basically become walking meat for every predator out there.

The popularity of zombies basically comes down to two factors. First, everyone knows someone who pisses them off, and zombies are a valid target. Second, because zombies are so problematic it's generally a mistake to put them front and centre in a novel. Instead, they function as a background threat that prevents the characters from acting freely, forcing disparate personalities to work together. The drama of zombies comes from the human characters, the zombies are just the setting.

It's like with all those Stephen King stories where the threat goes unseen for most of the story. The point is to throw a bunch of people into a small space and watch as social order breaks down; the threat that puts them there is basically irrelevant.

Note, this is not to say that stories that "solve" the zombie problem are necessarily bad; if nothing else they can be cathartic to readers who are annoyed by all of the little genre conventions in more mainstream zombie works, such as the fact that so few survivors actually seem able to learn from their mistakes. In order for that to work as a story, though, you need to build to it. If the threat is solved too quickly, then it wasn't really a threat at all, at least not on a large scale. You could certainly do an effective zombie story in a small town or remote area where authorities are able to quarantine the problem. The zombies would still be a real threat to anyone inside the quarantine, but the overall issue is easily solvable to those outside.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

In my 'zombies in space' novel, half complete and now temporarily abandoned, the few survivors 'triumph' over the zombies by outliving them by a variety of means, since the zombies lack the wherewithal to maintain a food supply.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Dicrostonyx

because zombies are so problematic it's generally a mistake to put them front and centre in a novel. Instead, they function as a background threat that prevents the characters from acting freely, forcing disparate personalities to work together. The drama of zombies comes from the human characters, the zombies are just the setting.

In my story, the conflict is between the surviving humans, who seek to eliminate the 'zombie threat', and a newcomber, "The Zombie Leza", who lives among them and communicates with them. Her mere existence among them threatens everything they know about the situation, and she continually challenges them to change their thinking, even as the ever present threat of being ripped apart by zombies remains. She's safe from zombie attack, but she has a hard time convincing the humans that they're likewise safe when their every experience contradicts the idea.

Also, like in most of my stories, nothing gets resolved especially quickly. What she outlines in a multiple decade resolution, as the humans are tasked with implementing her ideas on their own. So while the book 'resolves' the zombie issue, it doesn't necessarily solve it.

On a related note, I wasn't sure how to resolve zombie animals. Are all animals prone to becoming zombies, or just the human or mammals? In order to provide a sharp contrast, I made it into a human problem. Most of the passive animals (dogs, deer, rabbits) are effectively wiped out, but predators are largely able to burrow and defend themselves, making themselves a viable threat to the zombies.

Any thoughts on how that topic? Is 'zombism' a universal problem, or a genetic anomaly (i.e. only affecting related species)?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

In my 'zombies in space' novel, half complete and now temporarily abandoned, the few survivors 'triumph' over the zombies by outliving them by a variety of means, since the zombies lack the wherewithal to maintain a food supply.

In the true horror tradition, you've got an easy out: just when the humans think they've won, the zombies figure out how to survive by discovering a new food source, continuing the threat and undermining the human's defense strategy.

Take a look at that prospect and see whether it breathes any new life into your story.

REP
Updated:

@Dicrostonyx

I agree. What really astounds me is the subculture that believes zombie do exist, or at least their existence is a possibility. A belief that is held by my daughter and granddaughter.

In my opinion, the human body requires blood flow to distribute 'food' to the body's cells. Since the zombie is dead, there is no blood flow, so the body gets no food and would not be able to function as described in the typical zombie stories. An opinion that has no affect on my daughter and granddaughter's beliefs.

Of course, as writers, we are not constrained by reality.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

since the zombies lack the wherewithal to maintain a food supply.


Since when do zombies (dead reanimated corpses) need a food supply?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

On a related note, I wasn't sure how to resolve zombie animals. Are all animals prone to becoming zombies, or just the human or mammals? In order to provide a sharp contrast, I made it into a human problem.


Well, the original Zombies of legend were people drug into being brainless automatons. Then Hollywood made them crazed killer, then took it further and made them disease carrier. Few disease actually cross the species barrier, although some do. I've heard of some moving from animals to humans, but don't know of any that go from humans to animals - it probably could happen, but not heard of any.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Since when do zombies (dead reanimated corpses) need a food supply?


energy source to be able to move at all.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Well, the original Zombies of legend were people drug into being brainless automatons.


No, that's the zombies of reality. The zombies of legend are supernaturally re-animated corpses.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater


energy source to be able to move at all.


The zombies of myth and legend are corpses re-animated by magic/supernatural forces. The magic/supernatural forces provides all the energy they need to keep moving indefinitely.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Dominions Son

My novel is intended to be Science Fiction, not Supernatural. Although it does assume faster than light space travel.

AJ

Dicrostonyx

@Crumbly Writer

Any thoughts on how that topic? Is 'zombism' a universal problem, or a genetic anomaly (i.e. only affecting related species)?


It depends in part whether the plague is magical (actual returning from the dead), functionally magical (alien origin, etc, where it doesn't play by normal rules), or trying to be more scientific like a virus. Note that saying it's a virus is irrelevant if you treat it in a magical way; I'm referring to actually treating the zombie plague in a somewhat realistic manner.

If the plague is a virus, species limitation is easy: viruses are rarely cross-species, and cross-species jumps tend to burn out quickly. Viruses are just too specialised to be a wide-spread multi-species problem, at least in most cases. This is even more true if the virus was created or changed in a lab. However, there are some viruses which are multi-species, and viruses aren't the only plague vector. A parasite is actually a good choice for a zombie plague since it's basically a small animal that has taken over the body for its own purposes.

In Mira Grant's "Newsflesh" series, the virus' ability to cause zombies was based on how many virus bodies an organism had, and the cut-off seemed to be large dog size. Basically every mammal is infected, including the surviving humans, but the disease is passive unless triggered by exposure to the active form (getting too close to zombies) or by the virus overcoming the drugs in your system. That series also treated zombies more as a hive mind species; the more zombies in an area, the faster and more intelligently they all moved. One zombie can be ignored, a few zombies can be outrun, a pack in a major threat.

@awnlee jawking

the few survivors 'triumph' over the zombies by outliving them by a variety of means, since the zombies lack the wherewithal to maintain a food supply.


In John Ringo's recent series "Black Tide Rising", the human survivors are mostly an ocean bound force, since human population pre-fall means that even secure land bases are so overrun that extraction is impossible without air support. Zombies are discovered to have two unpredicted food supplies: rats and slower zombies. Additionally, zombies tend to hibernate when lacking food, so they can survive longer. The only thing a zombie really needs for survival is a semi-fresh water supply -- and they're not picky about freshness.

One reason that I mention the above series, and I was getting at this with my first post, is that zombies as an actual direct threat has basically burned itself out as a sub-genre. If you're not doing something new and interesting, either with the zombies or with the survivors, then readers no reason to read your story over the thousands of other generic zombie stories. The zombie fiction that's going to survive the next few years will be the stuff that breaks out of the traditional tropes.

Since the zombie is dead, there is no blood flow, so the body gets no food and would not be able to function as described in the typical zombie stories.


Once you assume magical origin then all normal rules go out the window. Reanimated corpses probably don't actually require food, when they "eat" brains or flesh they are actually ingesting a magical life energy or soul.

In the above-mentioned series by Ringo, he gets around the problem by making the plague an actual engineered virus, and a major plot-line in the first part of the first novel involves explaining how it actually works. In short, it's a modified rabies virus with a second viral load spliced in. Rabies acts as a highly contagious airborne vector with flu-like symptoms which gives the blood pathogen (the actual zombie virus) time to establish itself in the host system.

I've heard of some moving from animals to humans, but don't know of any that go from humans to animals - it probably could happen, but not heard of any.


I suspect it probably happens a fair bit, but there are two reasons we wouldn't hear about it. First, most animals with close contact to humans are food supply, so they're not going to last long enough for a disease to take hold; and second, we don't exactly have wide-spread reporting on non-human diseases, so you'd pretty much have to be in an affected field to hear about it.

I did find an article on LiveScience about famous species-hopping diseases. Apparently any modern feline which develops ulcers is due to an early large cat dining on human entrails and contracting Helicobacter pylori, which still persists in lions, cheetahs, and tigers. A couple of respiratory diseases that kill human infants in developing countries wiped out huge populations of chimps in West Africa in 1999 and 2006, probably transmitted due to ecotourism.

It's also thought that primates have caught several diseases from humans, including Polio (chimps in Tanzania), Yaws, which is a non-STD variant of syphilis (gorillas), and anthrax (chimps and gorillas in West Africa). However, it may just be that these diseases exist in jungle conditions and that both humans and apes contracted them from the same source, so it only looks like human transmission because we didn't used to study the apes as closely as we do today.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Dicrostonyx

If you're not doing something new and interesting, either with the zombies or with the survivors, then readers no reason to read your story over the thousands of other generic zombie stories. The zombie fiction that's going to survive the next few years will be the stuff that breaks out of the traditional tropes.


I don't think that's true. The fiction that endures is the fiction that's best publicised. Everyone's heard of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code and some here will have read it. Yet who has read, or can even name, the story he "didn't" plagiarise? Similarly with JK Rowling's Harry Potter, and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. And Fifty Shades Of Grey is just one long succession of cliches.

It's possible the contrary argument is stronger. People like stories in a genre to stick to the rules of that genre, hence the popularity of sequels and spin-offs.

AJ

Replies:   Lugh
Crumbly Writer

@REP

I agree. What really astounds me is the subculture that believes zombie do exist, or at least their existence is a possibility. A belief that is held by my daughter and granddaughter.

In my opinion, the human body requires blood flow to distribute 'food' to the body's cells. Since the zombie is dead, there is no blood flow, so the body gets no food and would not be able to function as described in the typical zombie stories. An opinion that has no affect on my daughter and granddaughter's beliefs.

Of course, as writers, we are not constrained by reality.

Hee-hee! In my new story, I try to postulate a case where zombies are possible, establish the rules where such a universecould exist, and then work backwards from there (fyi: in my new world, the zombies' do require a functioning blood flow, but can survive on less blood than humans require. In other words, you could kill a zombie by slitting it's throat.)

In this universe, the zombies 'consume' human blood to make up for what their own bodies lack.

@Dicrostonyx

Zombies are discovered to have two unpredicted food supplies: rats and slower zombies.

My zombie universe has similar rules, through they're only revealed slowly over time.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Lugh

@awnlee jawking

My background does make it hard for me to cope with Dan Brown. It was worst, I think, when he described the entrance to NSA, in a way that looked nothing like that, but quite dull.

Fifty Shades of Grey, IMHO, should have been the memoir of the head of the uniform cloth department of the Quartermaster General of the Confederacy.

It is interesting to wonder how much the general reader accepts the accurate history (and plausible alt history) that I'm currently writing. Some readers have sent nitpicking criticisms, such as informing me that the agency that collected certain information would have been the Naval Security Group, not the National Security Agency -- something that I know quite well but simplified. I don't think the readers want to know about a unit with the designation NAVSECGRUACTLANTFLTDET (Naval Security Group Activity, Atlantic Fleet Detachment).

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Lugh

I don't think the readers want to know about a unit with the designation NAVSECGRUACTLANTFLTDET (Naval Security Group Activity, Atlantic Fleet Detachment).

Put it in a footnote at the end of the chapter, or in an Appendix/Forward.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

In this universe, the zombies 'consume' human blood to make up for what their own bodies lack.


Congratulations, you just invented vampires. :)

samuelmichaels

@Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

In this universe, the zombies 'consume' human blood to make up for what their own bodies lack.

Congratulations, you just invented vampires. :)

LOL!

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Congratulations, you just invented vampires. :)

Not quite. They don't have the fangs, they hang around during daylight, and they rip people apart with their hands and then (after they've consumed the available blood, eat the body (to get the minimal blood in the muscles and organs). It's still as messy and vampire movies, and not as romantic as vampires, but it makes more logical sense.

But I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking along these lines, it demonstrates it's a commonly perceived fallacy in zombie lore.

Dicrostonyx

awnlee jawking

The fiction that endures is the fiction that's best publicised. Everyone's heard of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code and some here will have read it. Yet who has read, or can even name, the story he "didn't" plagiarise? Similarly with JK Rowling's Harry Potter, and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. And Fifty Shades Of Grey is just one long succession of cliches.


I get your point, but those books aren't genres, they are individual titles which have some combination of doing something differently than their predecessors and coming at the right time to get an audience. They might not be the best works overall, but they tend to be good example of types.

The Da Vinci Code and Fifty Shades of Grey, for all their issues, are doing different things than the books they're ripping off; most notably they are normalising the story-lines as mainstream fiction rather than as genre fiction. For example, The Da Vinci Code is basically just a primer on modern conspiracy theories thrown into a blender, but unlike other such stories it is written as a detective story rather than a science fiction novel. That shift in tone and style makes it more approachable to a mainstream audience. A publisher could promote the hell out of Wilson & Shea's Illuminatus trilogy, but it still wouldn't sell 80 million copies; the book's just too weird.

Harry Potter argues against your point, by the way. The first book in the series wasn't well known or publicised outside of the UK. It wasn't until after the second book that a grass-roots movement of fans pushing the series managed to get enough attention that became became aware of it, at which point the publishers started pushing it heavily. Scholastic makes a big deal about how they paid an unprecedented amount to an unknown author to get the US publishing rights... but that was after the second book had already come out in the UK. It wasn't like they were taking a huge risk, they just saw a trend before their competitors did.

My point above was not that zombies will disappear from fiction, but that unlike 20 years ago books don't just disappear by not being reprinted. Any new zombie story is competing against every book that has every been made available in digital format, not just what happens to be on the shelf today.

Lugh

I don't think the readers want to know about a unit with the designation NAVSECGRUACTLANTFLTDET (Naval Security Group Activity, Atlantic Fleet Detachment).


True, but that's probably a length issue. The Ringo series mentioned above uses SECNAV a lot early on, and rotates in CINCPAC later. The advantage of both is that they can be pronounced as two syllable words, so they don't get in the way of reading quickly. Ringo treats them as names, and they can be read that way. Of course, he's also using NCCC a fair bit in the first book, but it's only the main characters who aren't allowed to know who that actually is, readers see his name when he's "onscreen".

Replies:   awnlee jawking  Lugh
awnlee jawking

@Dicrostonyx

The first book in the series wasn't well known or publicised outside of the UK. It wasn't until after the second book that a grass-roots movement of fans pushing the series managed to get enough attention that became became aware of it, at which point the publishers started pushing it heavily.


In my rant, I believe I was still at the stage of 'who has read the book this "didn't" plagiarise'. JK Rowling won the court case so legally her story of a boy wizard going to a wizard school etc must officially be considered an original work. But how many here have read, or know the title of, the story with which it has so much in common?

If someone wrote a zombie story as a piece of mainstream fiction, by your criteria would that take it out of the genre and into the mainstream, meaning it could be an enduring work?

AJ

Lugh

@Dicrostonyx

OK, I'll bite. I don't recognize NCCC but haven't read the Ringo series. National Command Authority, perhaps?

Dominions Son

@Lugh

OK, I'll bite. I don't recognize NCCC but haven't read the Ringo series. National Command Authority, perhaps?


In context probably NORAD Command Control Center.

National Command Authority would be NCA.

richardshagrin
Updated:

@Lugh

The CCC was a Depression era agency to provide jobs, the Civilian Conservation Corps. Perhaps to draw from NiS universe, NCCC would be Naked Civilian Conservation Corps. Numerous stories could be set in the NCCC universe, perhaps with cross-over to NiS with characters joining the NCCC after either graduation or during summer vacation. Building trails or otherwise providing entertainment for tourists at National Parks. Rangers and Strangers, pretty much the same to female members of NCCC.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Lugh


NCCC


I thought it was the National Credit Control Council.

Regarding US National Military, my understanding is one of the top regional commanders is the one in charge of the United States Northern Command and this person was also the top dog for NORAD.

Replies:   Lugh
Lugh

@Ernest Bywater

Northern Command is a relatively recent organization, recently taken over by GEN Lori Robinson, the first female four-star head of a unified command. The US often "dual-hats" a senior officer with the authority for several commands -- I lose track of the number worn by one individual, who heads NSA, the Central Security Service, U.S. Cyber Command, etc.

NORTHCOM is often written that way, in nuanced distinction from USNORTHCOM, because it includes NORAD, which is explicitly a joint US-Canadian command. The chief of NORAD is the US commander of NORTHCOM, but the deputy, with line authority, is a Canadian officer, usually second in seniority in the Canadian military.

Dicrostonyx
Updated:

@Lugh


OK, I'll bite. I don't recognize NCCC but haven't read the Ringo series. National Command Authority, perhaps?


Sorry, I probably should have said. In the novel, it stands for "National Constitutional Continuity Coordinator". The real position, the "National Continuity Coordinator", is basically an assistant to the president of Homeland Security, but Ringo's version is a guy in a HSA bunker intended to retain civilian control of the military in the event that a disaster wipes out the normal chain of command.

awnlee jawking


If someone wrote a zombie story as a piece of mainstream fiction, by your criteria would that take it out of the genre and into the mainstream, meaning it could be an enduring work?


Just because something is a genre work doesn't mean that it's not enduring, or even mainstream. But to your point, yes, I do think it would be possible to write a story which involves zombies but which is tonally closer to another genre. In fact, this happens all the time, but the zombie fad is still new enough that it's hard to tell the difference between what is part of the "genre" and what is some other element of the story.

It doesn't help that the term "genre" tends to be used in a very general sense, confusing it with other literary elements. In addition to genre, stories have settings, tones, structures, and story elements, including character types and archetypes, none of which are necessarily elements of genre.

To paraphrase a comment made by Terry Pratchett in an interview years ago, a novel set in Tucson in 1882 is not necessarily a Western, so why do we assume that a story set on Mars has to be science fiction?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dicrostonyx

To paraphrase a comment made by Terry Pratchett in an interview years ago, a novel set in Tucson in 1882 is not necessarily a Western, so why do we assume that a story set on Mars has to be science fiction?

No, no. Most stories set on Mars are actually epic poems! 'D

Replies:   tppm
tppm

@Crumbly Writer

Actually, if you think about it, a lot of stories set on Mars are westerns.

Ernest Bywater

@tppm

a lot of stories set on Mars are westerns.


ayep, just a different state and town

Dominions Son

@tppm

Actually, if you think about it, a lot of stories set on Mars are westerns.


By that standard, Star Wars was a spaghetti western.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Star Wars was a spaghetti western.


I thought it was another rip off of The Seven Samurai with a lesser number of Samurai.

Replies:   tppm
tppm

@Ernest Bywater

Right idea, wrong Kurosawa movie. It was largely based on The Hidden Fortress.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@tppm

Right idea, wrong Kurosawa movie.


I was speaking of the ancient legend the movie was later made from, along with a dozen other films.

miksmit

Funny, I thought star wars was based off celtic mythology with lugh the hero fighting with balor the man inside a machine who happened to be lughs grandfather.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@miksmit

You're all sorta right. According to most sources, "Star Wars" was based on Joseph Campbell's book "The Power of Myth", which broke down most epic novels and myths into a basic formula they all followed. George Lucas was supposedly heavily influenced by it, and used it to create the entire "Star Wars" empire, so the SW empire was indirectly based on hundreds of epic dramas, beginning with many of the ancient Celt and Greek dramas. Given that history, it's highly doubtful you can pin it to any single movie or book, other than Campbell's.

Replies:   Dicrostonyx
Dicrostonyx

@Crumbly Writer

According to most sources, "Star Wars" was based on Joseph Campbell's book "The Power of Myth", which broke down most epic novels and myths into a basic formula they all followed.


This is apocryphal, and sort of reverse logic. After Star Wars came out, a lot of academics compared Star Wars to certain elements of Campbell's theories, and that has become the standard interpretation of Star Wars. Unfortunately, there's no evidence that Lucas was intentionally drawing from Campbell.

Lucas wrote the original script for Star Wars in 1973, and while he probably read "A Hero with a Thousand Faces" in college, he didn't rediscover it until 1975. According to Lucas, his main influences were Flash Gordon and John Carter of Mars.

Most of the parts of Star Wars that are compared to Campbell are general elements of fiction which are present in most fiction, especially epic fiction, which was of course Campbell's point. It's not that Lucas was specifically aping Campbell, it's just that Campbell was very concise in his description of what seems to be a standard trait of how humans approach storytelling.

All of which is basically what I was getting at. The fact that genre is sufficiently separate from setting that you can mix them up and interpret films in different ways is a clear indication that they are separate concepts, and that it is only sloppiness that causes people to think that genre and setting are the same thing.

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