“A sprawling and engrossing map of genre fiction. As a broad survey of genre fiction, and particularly as an investigation into the origins of classic genres, the book more than delivers.” --Kirkus Reviews
"A fascinating account into a fascinating subject." --Steve Berry
From Beowulf to The Time Machine to Harry Potter, an entertaining and provocative look at fiction genres, at how they shift and grow, and how they change society, often in profound and unexpected ways.
How did a mystery writer invent modern police detection? How did Edgar Allan Poe’s story of treasure hunting help win two world wars decades after his death? How did a novel about peace unintentionally inspire the atomic bomb? How did a forgotten volcanic cataclysm kickstart genre fiction as we know it today?
Wars, disasters, plagues, and technological breakthroughs have shaped stories, and in turn, genre stories, both good and bad, have shaped human societies.
The connections are endless.
GUMSHOES, FANGS, ROCKETS, & SPIES digs deep to uncover these connections, and to celebrate the world of readers and writers.