Trend, schmend: In defense of paranormal fiction

Vampire unicorn. Rrrr!Raise your hand if you've heard someone say, "I'm sick of this paranormal trend." Or, "Paranormal is over. It's played out."

I read the complaint just yesterday on a mailing list, and for whatever reason, hit my personal limit of how many times I can hear this argument without saying something.

Paranormal is not a trend, folks. It's been around forever. Think about The Odyssey and the Iliad. Both are full of gods and monsters. This angel trend? Yes. I remember reading about just a few of those characters in the Bible.

For as long as we've been writing stories, and undoubtedly a lot longer, supernatural elements have appeared. When used well, they're a metaphor for something, another tool writers can use to build meaning from a world of words.

So why do people dump on paranormal? Maybe some of the books don't feel fresh. But you could make the same case about realistic fiction. If a book feels original, if it's well crafted, if it makes you feel something when you read it, then it doesn't matter whether there are unicorns, angels, vampires, werewolves, or husky six-fingered cheerleaders*.

I happen to like both realistic and paranormal fiction. Not everybody does. What I'm hoping, though, is that people stop dismissing the books as trendy, and by implication, their authors as artistic lemmings. It just ain't so.


* also mythological creatures