A Literary Symbiosis studies the merger of science fiction/fantasy and mystery fiction from historical and critical perspectives. Pierce examines the problems and expectations raised by the various literary labels, particularly as regards definition, theme, conventions, stock characters, and setting. While she admits the difficulties inherent in merging idea-oriented, speculative science fiction with the situation-specific and present-time oriented mystery story, she argues that the two genres have much in common. The book examines critically the elements of mystery fiction which have been integrated with varying degrees of success, into science fiction/fantasy. This evaluation focuses on individual authors and novels or short stories which contributed to the original modes and to their synthesis.