This book creates a taxonomy for the major currently popular and bestselling fictional genres: romance (Heyer, Cartland, Woodiwiss and Roberts), religious and inspirational (Corelli and Douglas), mystery and detective (Conan Doyle, Christie and Mankell), and science fiction, horror and fantasy (Wells, Tolkien, Orwell, Niven, King and Rowling, among others). Each of the main chapters looks at the history of a generic form from its earliest roots to its most recent works. The structural patterns in the plot, characters and setting of these genres are then explained. The book also contains a critique of currently popular hyper-formulaic, hack, unliterary writings that have multiplied in recent decades under the guise of generic conventions. There are also sections on special topics such as the publishing oligopoly and the resulting homogeneity among bestselling works, and the steady movement from literary to unliterary fiction.