Chris Fox’s Dark Lord Bert, an example of a pop culture fiction.

Pop culture fiction is a genre of fiction where stories are written intentionally to be filled with references from other works and media.[1][2][3] Stories in this genre are focused solely on using popular culture references.


Some works in the genre use pop culture references to elicit nostalgia among its consumers, while other examples have the whole setting and universe themselves built upon and revolves around pop cultural references (sometimes even relying on well-known and/or obscure pop culture references as humor as in the case of the cult TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000).[1][4][5][6][7] Pop culture fiction doesn't just reference one or two titles, but works under this genre reference several titles across different genres and media.[8]

Many types of postmodern works and modern-day homage, metafiction, satires and parodies fall under this category.[1] But unlike more typically comedic satires and parodies, pop culture fiction contains depth and serious themes, with many even garnering critical acclaim.[8] Many stories inspired by games and geek culture have also been examples.[9] According to author Gary Westfahl, works under this genre demand an "aura of immaturity, of incompleteness, while projecting no pretenses."[10]

This genre should not be confused with Pop culture non-fiction, which are researches, encyclopedias, and other academic works focused on the study and analysis of pop culture, rather than stories centered around pop culture references.[11][12]


Notable pop culture fiction books

List of pop culture fiction authors

Notable pop culture fiction films

List of pop culture fiction filmmakers

List of pop culture fiction in comic format

List of pop culture fiction in television

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kidd, Dustin. Pop Culture Freaks: Identity, Mass Media, and Society. Routledge; 2nd Edition (Updated: August 2020). pp. 143–145. ISBN 978-0813350875. Excerpt
  2. ^ a b Pickard, Kevin (19 January 2016). "Should Fiction Be Timeless? Pop Culture References in Contemporary Novels". Electric Lit. January 19, 2016
  3. ^ Editorial. "Popular Culture in Literature". Enotes. May 5, 2015
  4. ^ a b Alexander, Jonathan. The Uses and Abuses of Pop Culture in Ready Player One and Grandmother's Gold (July 7, 2020)
  5. ^ a b Martin, Emily (3 April 2018). "CAN'T GET ENOUGH RP1? TRY THESE 25 BOOKS LIKE READY PLAYER ONE". Book Riot. April 3, 2018
  6. ^ Jubas, Kaela (16 March 2015). "Profs explore what pop culture fiction teaches us about health care". University of Calgary. March 24, 2017
  7. ^ a b Returning 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' was a pre-Internet web series - Austin American-Statesman
  8. ^ a b c d e Mountain, John. "The 5 Best Pop Culture Fiction". Substack. August 23, 2023
  9. ^ a b Almond, John (8 July 2021). "The Dark Lord Bert: A Quirky Video Game Literature". Gonevis. July 8, 2021
  10. ^ Westfahl, Gary. Science Fiction, Children's Literature, and Popular Culture: Coming of Age in Fantasyland. Praeger; 1st Edition (April 30, 2000). pp. xi–xii. ISBN 978-0313308475
  11. ^ Malatesta, Mark (10 February 2019). "Pop Culture Definition – Complete List of Book Genres". Book Genre. February 10, 2019
  12. ^ What is “Pop Culture Narrative Nonfiction”?
  13. ^ a b c d e f g The 10 Best Movies That Are Full of Pop Culture References - Page 2 - Taste of Cinema
  14. ^ Hannigan, Carl. "Otaku Girl (Book Review): Where Memes and Literature Mix". Voice Media Group. July 1, 2021
  15. ^ Zutter, Natalie. "The Best Sci-fi and Fantasy Books About Pop Culture Fandom". Den of Geek. August 23, 2023
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k The 10 Best Movies That Are Full of Pop Culture References - Taste of Cinema
  17. ^ a b c 10 Mel Brooks Jokes Modern Audiences Wouldn't Understand
  18. ^ a b How 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' Influenced Film By Satirizing It - The Atlantic
  19. ^ Drawn That Way: 10 Behind The Scenes Facts About Who Framed Roger Rabbit - CBR
  20. ^ a b Clerks: 10 Ways It Established Kevin Smith's Style|ScreenRant
  21. ^ Pulp Fiction at 20: How a phenomenon was born - BBC Culture
  22. ^ Double Down: Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn Take Another Swing With 'Made' - Screens - The Austin Chronicle
  23. ^ Hoffman, Jordan (July 23, 2014). "'Galaxy Quest': The Oral History". MTV Networks (Viacom International Inc.). Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  24. ^ Ted movie review & film summary (2012)|Roger Ebert
  25. ^ Every Piece of IP That Appears in Space Jam: A New Legacy|GQ
  26. ^ Price, Joe (May 20, 2022). "Listen to Post Malone's Theme Song for New 'Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers' Movie". Complex Networks. Archived from the original on May 22, 2022. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  27. ^ Mccall, Kevin (2023-09-21). "'Once Upon a Studio' Trailer Celebrates 100 Years of Disney Magic". Collider. Retrieved 2023-09-21.
  28. ^ Steele, Bruce C. (October 10, 2023). "Meet the Characters of Disney Animation's Once Upon a Studio". D23. Retrieved October 10, 2023.
  29. ^ Croll, Ben (June 11, 2023). "Annecy Opens on Note of Artistic Defiance as Disney Premieres Centenary Short Once Upon a Studio". Variety. Archived from the original on June 22, 2023.
  30. ^ Polowy, Kevin (2023-11-15). "As Disney turns 100, 'Wish' filmmakers stacked new animated movie with more than 100 Easter eggs". Yahoo. Retrieved 2023-11-25.
  32. ^ Edgar Wright: "I am a film school reject. Twice!"|Features|Roger Ebert
  33. ^ Askew Facts About The Films Of Kevin Smith|Fascinate
  34. ^ Keller, Joel (December 10, 2021). "Stream It Or Skip It: 'Saturday Morning All-Star Hits!' On Netflix, Kyle Mooney's Twisted Tribute To Kids Show Lineups Of The '80s And '90s". Decider. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  35. ^ The Obsessive Brilliance of Saturday Morning All Star Hits! – Nathan Rabin's Happy Place
  36. ^ Animaniacs: 10 Funniest References You Didn't Get As A Kid - Screen Rant
  37. ^ Seinfeld: 10 Pop Culture References New Fans Won't Understand - Screen Rant
  38. ^ All the WandaVision Easter eggs you may have missed, from sitcom references to comics callbacks|
  39. ^ 10 Best Pop Culture References In 'Community' - Collider
  40. ^ Stranger Things 4's Most Significant '80s References - Vulture
  41. ^ The 20 Most Obscure ‘Arrested Development’ Pop Culture References - UPROXX
  42. ^ The Sci-Fi References We'd Love To See In Futurama's Return - Game Rant
  43. ^ The Simpsons: 10 Old Pop Culture References That Still Aged Perfectly - Screen Rant
  44. ^ All the Rick and Morty Easter Eggs You Missed in Seasons One and Two|TIME
  45. ^ The Philosophy of ‘South Park’ References - Tastefully Offensive
  46. ^ Family Guy "Something, Something, Something Anniversary" Giveaway|WIRED