Fantasy - sub genres

Discussion in 'General Writing Discussion' started by AnyaKimlin, Jan 14, 2012.

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    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    I'm trying to work out what is fantasy and how you work out what constitutes the various sub genres. All opinions welcome.
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    Aaron Stone

    Aaron Stone ...Enfyre Anwatter

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    Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting.

    The above is the Wikipedia definition of fantasy, and, for the most part, covers it. Pretty much if it contains magical elements or supernatural occurrences, it's fantasy
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    HareBrain

    HareBrain Lagomorphing Staff Member

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    Good grief, there's Moonbat trying to figure out how the law will develop, and you trying to work out all the fantasy sub-genres ... is no one just lazing in front of the TV any more?

    I guess maybe we should compile a list before we define them? Here's what I've got, off the top of my head:

    Sword'n'sorcery
    Epic fantasy
    Paranormal romance
    Steampunk
    Urban fantasy
    High fantasy
    Low fantasy
    New weird
    Weird western (ooh)

    Some of these overlap, and I haven't included any sci-fi ones like space opera.

    Any missing?
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    Mouse

    Mouse roar

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    Cyber punk?

    Looks like I'm doing 'paranormal romance' then. But there's not really any romance.
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    TheTomG

    TheTomG Thomas M. Grimes

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    In order to perhaps better answer the question, I think it might be useful to know why you ask? I am sure there are no hard and fast answers and what answers, or even what type of answers, are most useful might change based on the reason for your question.
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    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    Ok that is another question? (I'm avoiding the TV it's currently occupied by the Lilo and Stitch movie AGAIN!!) When does Sci-Fi become fantasy and vice versa ?

    I must sound like such a novice but until i started writing I never gave genre a thought - does it have a great cover? blurb looks interesting? First few pages seem good? OK I'll read it. I didn't care if it was literary, (less likely to read), fantasy, action adventure, historical etc

    Apparently my other detective fiction/Murder mystery has nearly as many subgenres lol

    Is Pre-Tolkein fantasy classed as Classic Fantasy ?

    @TomG - I am asking for views out of pure curiosity. Not really looking for a definitive answer just a perhaps clearer or less clear idea than I have right now. Also to give me an idea of where my own could fall or what elements it includes.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
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    David B

    David B New Member

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    The sub-genres listed in Wikipedia are:

    Comic fantasy, Dark fantasy, Magic realism, Mythic, Paranormal Fantasy, Superhero fantasy, Sword and sorcery, Epic Fantasy / High fantasy, Low fantasy, Prehistoric fantasy, Historical fantasy, Urban fantasy, Science fantasy (Sword & planet), Juvenile fantasy, Romantic fantasy
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    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    You left out Fantasy of Manners aka Mannerpunk, which had its days of glory back in the early '90s. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell briefly revived it.
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    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    I understand High and Epic fantasy don't have to be the same thing ? Is that right ?
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    David B

    David B New Member

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    TheTomG

    TheTomG Thomas M. Grimes

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    Curiosity is good, I don't think it did anything to the cat by the way, it was out of town that day and has a good alibi.

    I get concerned that people fret too much about categories and fitting into them, rather than just writing what they want / need to write and "to hell with the category!" Sounds like you are not in that trap, hurrah! Was just checking.

    Why don't we INVENT some new ones too while we're here? That would be fun!
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    HareBrain

    HareBrain Lagomorphing Staff Member

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    I don't think this should be a concern (despite the feedback you got previously). It's probably enough for you to know whether it's fantasy or sci-fi; other people can label it what they like (and different people will label it different things). I would suggest that when approaching an agent etc, you're better off mentioning other authors' works with which yours fits, rather than trying to attach a convenient sub-genre label.

    Cheat! :D (ie, why didn't I think of that?)
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    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    It's not a huge concern as I have two very different fantasies and neither fit easily into a sub-genre -- It's more a general question were any opinion and thoughts are welcome, so I understand the genre more. I'm not going to change them to fit.

    I have learned from previous feedback recently that is important not to get it wrong. Everything about my world is high-fantasy except when it is set. I'm not wanting to be misleading with my labels. It's like the other one is probably contemporary fantasy set in the 1980s, but it's not entirely comfortable there because it's about old folk in the countryside. (Sort of Last of the Summer Wine investigating paranormal activity).
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    Ökuþórr

    Ökuþórr In my chariot of awesome

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    I came to the decision a while ago to ignore all the labels and just use Fantasy. I can no longer be bothered with all the sub genres and new labels people (which people? i have no idea!) like to stick to things. Epic fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, high fantasy low fantasy upside down inside out second star to the right and straight on till morning fantasy! Gah! Makes me want to pull my hair out. I just read and write what I like and let those who fret about this stuff to care. If the current trend is to label every little thing and try to fit it into a nice little box, well, I've never been a very trendy person and it looks like thats not gonna change. Am i the only one?

    Rant over.:p
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    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    :) I'm not frustrated, mostly just interested in it. So if I am asked questions I know what I am talking about or can at least blag it. Wikkipedia seems inaccurate with it's full blown descriptions based on what I have read here.

    Sometimes my lack of reading Post-Tolkien Adult fantasy (I do sometimes) comes back to bite me when it comes to answering questions about my own stories.

    I didn't intend to write fantasy - one started as a modern action/adventure and the second started as a short story about a trip to Blackpool. However when one character turned into a bird in one story and in another story a stone circle went missing they became fantasy. :)
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    psychotick

    psychotick Dangerously confused

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    Hi,

    Just a quick aside since it was asked, it's science fiction when you move away from 'magic' and into seemingly scientific explanations for how things work. Don't get me wrong, you can still have magic of a sort. You just have to explain it within some sort of scientific paradigm. Psychokinesis, psionics, telepathy, mutancy, mind melds etc.

    Cheers, Greg.
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    AMB

    AMB Advanced Muddle Brain

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    Subliminal Fantasy. Doesn't have any elements of what you might think of as fantasy, but you come away from it with the definite feeling that what you read was indeed a fantasy novel.

    :p
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    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    Thanks, Greg :)
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    Hex

    Hex Mod in tooth and claw Staff Member

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    re: urban fantasy -- I had a story with a completely rural setting (although there was a school and a bus, and houses) and the people who published it defined it as 'urban' fantasy :)
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    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    ahh see I wondered about that. My sort of contemporary fantasy - is urban apart from the first is set in Blackpool but the second in North Scotland (it's about as rural as the UK can get). But maybe it's more paranormal/horror in place, This is interesting lol

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