3 min read

10 Obscure Fiction Subgenres

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Photo by Ed Robertson / Unsplash

Are you a bookworm who has exhausted all the popular subgenres and looking for something new and exciting to read? Or, are you an adventurous reader who is always on the lookout to explore beyond the usual? Well, I have you covered! Here are 10 obscure fiction subgenres that are sure to pique your interest, along with some book recommendations to get you started. Get ready to embark on a thrilling literary journey!


This sub-genre blends elements of sci-fi, fantasy, and mainstream lit, often creating a surreal and dreamlike narrative.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Bizarro Fiction

Bizarro fiction is characterized by its absurd and unconventional storytelling, featuring bizarre characters, settings, and plots.

Help! A Bear is Eating Me! By Mykle Hansen

New Weird

New Weird combines various spec fiction sub-genres, often featuring strange and otherworldly settings and creatures.



While not entirely obscure, cyberpunk is a sub-genre of sci-fi focused on a dystopian future where advanced technology and cybernetics are prevalent.

Glitch by Andrew Mackay

Weird Western

This genre combines elements of Westerns and spec fiction, often featuring supernatural or sci-fi elements in a Wild West setting.

On Stolen Land by Stephanie Rabig


Nobledark is a subgenre of fantasy that explores the darker and more complex aspects of traditional fantasy worlds where evil usually pevails. Unlike Grimdark, the characters have the power to change the world and, while still morally ambiguous, they might actually want to.

The Vagrant by Peter Newman

Slipstream Noir

This genre blends elements of slipstream and noir fiction, creating a surreal and atmospheric narrative with a dark and gritty tone.

Ice by Anna Kavan


Mythpunk is a genre that reimagines traditional myths, legends, and folklore frequently in a contemporary or futuristic setting and subverting or deconstructing the original narratives.

Of Dreams and Shadowsby Jesikah Sundin


Solarpunk is a genre that envisions a future where renewable energy and sustainable practices are prevalent, often featuring lush and vibrant settings focusing on environmentalism.

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson


Climate fiction examines the effects of climate change on society and the environment. It’s frequently set in near-future and dystopian worlds.

Zahrah and the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor

These are just a few fiction subgenres. There are many more out there, each with its own unique blend of themes. Also, it's important to keep in mind people often disagree on the more nuanced definitions of obscure sub-genres. That is a large part of why I kept these “definitions” short and simple. Plus, many books bend sub-genres and crossover into more than one.

Furthermore, many readers are simply not into sub-genre labeling and it’s even mocked by some (just browse Reddit). I personally will read anything with interesting characters, a fantastical world, and a great story. I cannot deny, though, I absolutely love dark fantasy as a whole and any sub-genres under or adjacent to it. Dark & delectable is my default... Even though I love a good cozy fantasy as well when the mood strikes. So, I don’t mind the sub-genre labeling, despite not always bothering to look at what sub-genre a book is marketed as.

What’s an oddly specific and obscure sub-genre you love?? Comment below and let me know! 

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