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Suggested adjustment[edit]

In the opening paragraph: I've never seen "speculative fiction" used as a superset term covering SF, fantasy, horror, and such--instead, it is a near-equivalent for "science fiction." (There's a specific history to this usage--Heinlein is its modern popularizer--see [[1]].) I think "fantastic fiction" is more commonly used to indicate the whole family of counter-actuality narrative. RLetson 06:28, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Interesting link. It certainly seems that Heinlein considered it rather synonymous to SF, but it is generally accepted as a catch-all term for anything you find in the SF-Fantasy section of your local bookstore. Heinlein may have been using the term to expand the boundaries of SF, but apparently it has been used since then for further expansion. [Google's] definitions seem to agree, and the Internet Speculative Fiction Database seems to support the all-inclusive definition even though there is definitely a focus on SF.
I've heard neither "speculative fiction" nor "fantastic fiction" used in normal conversation. I can see why "speculative fiction" would be a misnomer for some fantasy: what are they speculating about? How the world would be if magic were real? KennyLucius 15:06, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I come at this as a long-time academic critic and popular book reviewer (currently at Locus), and I can assure you that both "speculative fiction" and "fantastic fiction" occur not only in amateur and professional writing about SF/F but at (print-oriented) conventions every week of the year (Christmas perhaps excepted), in panel discussions or at parties.
When a term has a center and a periphery, it's probably a good idea to map that by distinguishing between careful and casual users--that is what usage panels used to do for dictionaries. In the case of "speculative fiction," I suspect that in an historical usage survey it would turn up primarily in discussions of science fiction, particularly in the debate about whether "science" is a necessary component of SF. Heinlein was addressing what was once called the "Arrowsmith problem": if SF is fiction somehow "about" science, what do you do with a book about the professional life of a medical doctor? If the science is contemporary medicine, is it SF? RAH suggested inserting "speculative" before "science" to exclude the class represented by Sinclair Lewis's novel. In the 1960s, some scholars and critics picked up on "speculative" as a possible substitute for "science," particularly in the face of New Wave SF, which felt like SF but wasn't Heinlein or Poul Anderson. This was also the period when the hard/soft tension was strongly felt. (BTW, the entry in Gary Wolfe's Critical Terms volume is as clear an account as you could want.)
That's the historical line of development for the term, and while the periphery might have spread and gotten fuzzy, the center is clearly the what-does-the-"S"-stand-for question. I realize that language changes, but reference works are among the "conservative" or stabilizing parts of the system, and those who assemble them ought not, perhaps, to give in to the purely statistical or contemporary when rendering an account of a term.
It's a tricky business, coordinating bookstore geography (or advertising copy, or marketing talk) with literary genre terminology--the latter aspires to the rigor of botany (and rarely approaches it), while the former seeks to connect customers with products by following and linking their preferences. "If you like X, you will like Y" can produce interesting and useful maps of audience tastes and demographics and suggest a lot about audience psychology, but it does not account for the mechanisms that generate texts (which is one way of thinking of genre theory). RLetson 17:10, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
We obviously travel in different circles. While I often see both terms in print, conversations are usually about science fiction or fantasy. I find it incredible that you have never seen "speculative fiction" used so inclusively. Had you never heard of the Internet Speculative Fiction Database? If you have, then you've heard the term used to include fantasy.
I have no objection to changing the phrase in the first paragraph, however. KennyLucius 19:24, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Heard of but never used ISFDB--I either reach for the shelf of reference books over my monitor or go to the on-line Locus bibliographies for newer info. Just a matter of habit. I have no problem with amateur bibilographic scholarship--I can remember when that was pretty much all there was in SF/F--but I do find that amateur critical theory tends to overlook the obvious (like relying on standard references and authorities and established literary taxonomic models) in favor of the joys of wheel-reinventing. BTW, I'd be willing to bet (in a perfect absence of any actual evidence) that ISFBD's inclusiveness "just growed" as lists that started with SF came to include neighboring genres in the fantastic-fiction family--its name is not so much an assertion of genre theory as a recognition of the relatedness of the genres and their audiences. In this way, ISFDB is reacting pretty much the same way that a bookstore manager does when she shelves the SF and fantasy together and puts horror right next to that section--and often not too far from the mysteries. It's a reaction to audience demographics, not genre theory. RLetson 20:08, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
To be honest, I've never used ISFDB either. I suppose I should disclose: I own the Award Annals, so I tend to view genres through the kaleidoscopic view of literary awards. I found so much overlap between SF, fantasy and horror awards that I was glad to have a phrase with which to group [http // all those awards]. Many are fan-based, which explains (I think) a lot of the overlap.
I'm loath to let go of my definition of "speculative fiction" because it is convenient for my purposes. I realize this about myself, so I refrain from defending my position authoritatively. Having said that, I'll say this: your definition sounds academically solid. KennyLucius 21:58, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I have seen "speculative fiction" bandied about quite often, referring to science fiction and fantasy as well as the SF/Fantasy hybrids (which this article references as "science fantasy"). There's even a scholarship out there where you create a "speculative fiction" story or art piece to try and win it. However, I think part of the reasons that the layman doesn't tend to use it, are one part "I'm not even sure what that MEANS" and one part "It sounds too pretentious!". Generally, I see more and more casual references to "science fiction and fantasy", instead. Then again, this article marks the first time I've seen a non-snide usage of "science fantasy", and certainly had never seen it used in reference to stories that were fantasy in an SF-ish setting or which used a bit of science (which is getting increasingly common with modern fantasy. Even JK Rowling has made statements about the ability to use magic in Harry Potter being due to a "dominant gene", in order to explain why it's rare for wizarding families to have non-magical children but also why it's very common for mixed-blood wizards to have magical children). I usually see what the article lists as "science fantasy" called "Sci-Fi/Fantasy", "SF/Fantasy" or "science fiction/fantasy", to denote the mixing of genres.
However, I'm no literary critic or historian; I just read and dream up a LOT of science fiction and fantasy. Runa27 00:29, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Having read the above discussion fully, I myself am not convinced by the use of 'speculative fiction' in the first paragraph - speaking wholly as a layperson. It is apparent from said discussion that even within dedicated and academic cicrles, there is debate and inconsistency as to how the term should be used and interprated. Therefore I would at the very least, suggest the note be changed to rea something like: (sometimes referred to collectively in academic circles as...

That notwithstanding, as a layperson, the interpretation of speculative fiction suggested is not the one I am familiar with. And if indeed we must have a hold-all term for scifi/horro/fantasy, then the more common collective term (in real life) might be 'genre fiction'?

My understanding of speculative fiction is as a term refering to 'what if' stories, mainly in the scifi genre.. Surely if we are to accept all forms of fiction which involve aspects of the impossible or fantastic as being 'speculative', then the term 'speculative fiction' automatically becomes a redundancy? You are effectively saying 'fictional fiction' or 'fiction with made-up elements'. 10:36, 7 August 2007 (UTC)


I made a minor edit. In the history section, it is noted that the two main genres of the mid-20th were High fantasy and S&S; and it included examples of what works of High Fantasy were important. I added a few S&S references to even it out.


My Two cents on Feautured Status[edit]

I strongly feel Harry Potter is more Contemporary fantasy then Comic fantasy. it does not parody any other book and does not reference it self in a postmodern way. It's much more Contemporary fantasy as it is a wizard world inside the 1990s in britan, not in an imaginary world. While it can be "funny" is more focused on plot and strong character development.

It appears to me as if little or no distinction is made between High Fantasy and Sword and Sorcery. I personally would say High Fantasy tends to be structured in more of epic proportions, with prophecies, legends and foretellings about powerful beings and what not driving the story, along with recurrent themes of good versus evil and the like. Sword and Sorcery seems to be chiefly concerned with adventure, swashbuckling, and more of a sort of interest in what is happening now, with no "big picture." These facts are somewhat alluded to in both subtopics, but not on the main page.

Furthermore, I do not believe that this is featured article material. It appears to be more of a list of interrelated topics rather tenuously strung together in a single article. It is not a bad article, but itself does nto have alot of content, more being an expanded table of contents.


I am a little concerned about this notion that fantasy was invented by Tolkien. There are many examples of stories which are clearly fantastic, which predate Tolkiens work. The Narnia chronicles are an obvious example. Beowulf from which Tolkien borrowed much of his stylism is another example which predates Tolkien by around a millenium.

It is true that Tolkien is the source of many of the cliches of the current fantasy scene. The obligatory map, and worse still the glossary can I think be fairly attributed to Tolkien.

First I would say that yes, fantasy does predate Tolkien; however we are saying that it "came into its own" (became a separate genre) after Tolkien. Second, that Beowulf was part of the mythic tradition and not a fantasy. Third, that Narnia antedates, not predates The Hobbit.

I still think you are placing too much primacy on Tolkein. I am not sure how you are distinguishing "mythic tradition" and "fantasy". You are right about Narnia. Let me suggest the search for the Holy Grail instead, which definately predates Tolkein!

The 19th century was a hotbed of fantastic literature. Ignoring such patently popular and fantastical works as Bram Stoker's Dracula, there was a body of research conducted by people such as Andrew Lang, Hans Christian Andersen, The Brothers Grimm etc. All of the foregoing were tremendously popular in their own right, and their work documents fantastic literatures which predate Tolkien by hundreds of years. I would therefore argue that to say that fantasy literature came into its own only on the publication of Tolkien's work is to ignore the reality surrounding fantasy literature.

I agree that it is not honest to attribute the invention of fantasy as a whole to Tolkien, but AFAIK he was the first to set his fantasy in a complete, independent fictitious world. And that's what makes his books different from "Dracula" or works of "mythic tradition", which play in our very world, though sometimes a few centuries in the past (I know that Tolkien conceived of Middle Earth to represent our earth in a distant past, but this is not comparable to, e.g., Beowulf, since this connection to our world is not immanent to Tolkien's tales but rather a piece of extra information given by him).

Even Narnia is not comparable to Middle Earth (or rather Arda), since it is a "parallel universe" or a "dream world", and as such rather ancillary to "the real world". In Tolkien's works, there is no separate "real world", since Arda is "the real world". And I think this independence is what sets Tolkien off from the above-mentioned books. Tolkien may not have invented fantasy, but he liberated it.

PS: Could we perhaps agree on the spelling "Tolkien"? The i precedes the e, not the other way around!

Of course, the real founder of the fantasy genre was Homer.

Ha! Homer was writing history, not fantasy.

What's funny about the suggestion that he was writing fantastic stuff? The ancient Greeks had no notion of "fantasy" per se, but they had a rich mythology that is not based in reality. The Odyssey was probably looked at as a good yarn, not history.

I'm thinking this page should be on fantasy fiction. "Fantasy" is also a topic in psychology, of course. --LMS

What do we do about the fact that while there may be a prevailing common distinction between Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction, and there might also be a prevailing sense that each of those genres has a distinct set of signifiers associated with them, academic study in these fields do not necessarily agree with that common definition, and sometimes don't even agree with each other? Which is the encyclopedic--the common or the academic (perhaps plural academic) idea? Some literary scholars, for example, is a proponent of the idea that Speculative Fiction might be a better term, and that all of it can be related to Freud's notion of the Fantastic or Uncanny. That is, the Fantastic is to find the unfamiliar in a familiar setting. In which case, "fantasy" fiction of the type proposed by Tolkien, which is wholly outside of the familiar, might be better defined as Pastoral. But in a way, the study of literature is about categorizing in the sense that botanist might see it. This isn't empirical stuff we are dealing with. Rather these terms, which have been abused by advertisers as "categories" for sales tracking purposes, are more descriptive modifiers that give us a frame work for discussion. This is frequently why humanities academics are misunderstood on the point of categories. When someone says, "I am reading Tolkien in a Freudian way" they don't mean that Tolkien's work IS Freudian. More they are using Freud and Tolkien in combination to discuss something else, something ephemeral, about the human condition, which can only be seen when those two ideas are brought together. Or, at least, that is what the good academics do. I am not here to defend stupid people who say stupid things in the name of Academia, but to point out that what is viewed from the outside as very static and empirical really isn't. Dracula IS a fantasy Novel in the sense that Freud and Rabkin mean. But it is a Horror novel in the popular sense. And ultimately, from a political point of view, it is very Marxist. So where does it go?

This is all, of course, IMHO. --trimalchio

While I'm not certain, I believe that the claim Tolkien created the first "stand-alone" fantasy world may be wrong. E.R. Eddison's first books pre-date The Hobbit by a couple of years, and I think they have no connection to the Earth.

The world in James Branch Cabell's Something About Eve also occurs to me. Cabell's Poictesme books are connected to Earth -- Poictesme is supposed to be in southern France -- but I believe the world in this book is self-contained. -- Paul Drye

Lord Dunsany created "secondary world" fantasy fiction in the early 1900's.


Dunsany created his own mythology in a narrative form before Tolkien put down the roots and seeds that would become the Silmarilian. Tolkien intended a modern English mythology, but clearly he used existing traditions. As a storyteller first of all, in the epic and fantastic mode, how much does Tolkien's cultural artifact differ from Homer's? Before Dunsany there were the penny dreadfuls such as Amadis of Gaul, and concurrent with these and pre-dating them there is oral folklore, which Homer drew from. Perhaps there is no first and original when it comes to story - perhaps it exists in a place removed from time, with ancient urges returning to manifest in the present, and present fabulations rooting down into the darkness of the collective mind.


Tolkien's world is supposedly our own, sort of, as seen in a different stage of imagination, an imaginary past of our own world. Imagine going back in time to the time of the Trojan War, but to the Greece of the myhological texts, not the historical Greece, to a flat world where the Sun is a god in a chariot and Mount Olympos actually reaches to the sky. Is that our world or not? From the introduction to The Lord of the Rings:

Those days, the Third Age of Middle-earth, are now long past, and the shape of all lands has been changed; but the regions in which Hobbits then lived were doubtless the same as those in which they still linger: the North-West of the Old World, east of the Sea.

Maps, of course, appeared in the Oz books and a map appears in Austin Tappen Wright's Islandia, a novel about an imaginary island nation in our world, published in 1942. The novel was created after Wright's death from Wright's far more detailed material including an Islandian language he had created. Most of this original material is now lost. --jallan


I find it disturbing that none of the listed sub-genres cover 'real world people transported to fantasy worlds' stories. For a page on Fantasy not only to not mention Oz, Narnia, Never-never Land or Glory Road at all seems a bit odd. For none of the subgenreas thus linked ALSO to not mention any of the, is straight up erroneous.

BTW all that arguing above as to whether Tolkien established Fantasy -- no, he merly established High Fantasy. Swords & Sorcery was firmly entrenched by the time The Hobbit was released, and people had been cheering Conan and Bran Mak Morn on their adventures long before they caught their breath over Bilbo's, Frodo's and Aragorn's adventures.


I've plonked Narnia down in High Fantasy for the moment. I don't think it quite belongs there, but it wasn't listed, and none of the other categories are any more suitable. The other most suitable places are contemporary fantasy and mythic fantasy, but as you can see, they're not quite right for it either. Maybe there should be a new category, something to do with "alternate worlds" fantasy. After all, there are three separate worlds and a portal that are visited in the Narnia books, all containing differing qualities and degrees of civilisation and magic and species.

History section[edit]

Apart from any specific changes made to the article, I'm a little concerned that a series of edits vastly expanding the history of the fantasy genre were marked as minor. The minor label should only be used for edits that do not affect the substance or content of the article and are unlikely to be of interest to editors who are concerned with the article's contents. An edit that lumps the Book of Genesis into the same genre of fiction as the Lord of the Rings or the Eye of Argon seems to me quite clearly not to meet this standard. Perhaps Help:Minor edit would be of interest.

Moving on to the specific edits:

I think the distinction needs to be made clearer between the modern genre of fantasy and the corpus of ancient and mediaeval mythology and folklore that many fantasists claim as its antecedent. The article itself defines fantasy as "featur[ing] some difference from Earth that is not a result of science or technology", and I would contend that many of the works cited as "fantasy" don't contain any difference from the world in which they were written, as far as their authors and those authors' audiences were concerned.

I notice looking back at previous discussion on this page that someone has asserted that the ancient Greeks and Romans viewed the Odyssey as "a good yarn" (and therefore fiction, not history). I'd challenge anyone who wants to label the Odyssey as fantasy to come up with a citation for this view, as it seems to me to be as inaccurate as the notion that they saw the Odyssey as hard, factual history.

The distinction between fact and fiction, between scientifically possible and scientifically impossible, that seems so clear to us today was not nearly so apparent to the people who wrote and read (or composed and listened to) many of the works listed here, and therefore by the article's own definition of fantasy, they cannot be considered fantasy.

I also think it's particularly unfortunate to include the history of the world as contained in the sacred text of the world's largest religion in a list of ancient "fantasy" works. Whether any one of us personally believes that history, or whether modern science tells us that the events described in that history are physically impossible, is immaterial.

I'm going to do a quick edit on the history section now. This edit will leave the information already there wholly intact and limit itself to

  • drawing a distinction between modern fantasy and fantasy's antecedents,
  • correcting slight factual errors (Beowulf is not a Classical work)
  • and making the references to Genesis less clumsy (one of the links actually leads to a Hemingway novel).

I look forward to hearing what everyone else has to say on this topic. Binabik80 19:20, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I agree with all of your points. I'm the one who made those edits you object to, and I made them too hastily upon reflection.
Basically, ancient works such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, or Beowulf are discussed as "earlier" forms of fantasy very often, but only for the sake of discussing the genre's origins and development. This fact was not made clear enough. From a few internet searches, the impression I get is that even those who classify these works as fantasy for such purposes would likely not agree with doing so elsewhere. Yet, for some reason people seem to find it useful to discuss Beowulf or The Divine Comedy as though they were seminal works of the fantasy genre at least while discussing the roots of the genre itself, which I think is worthwhile to uphold within the article (as long as we make the distinction very clear between those works that are actually part of the modern genre and those which only become "honorary" works of fantasy when speaking of the genre's history). Let's also not forget those Lord of the Rings fans who think that Tolkien's work is every bit the equal of Dante's or Homer's, and actually would have them all lumped together.
Also, should Star Wars be listed on this page as an important work of fantasy? Some place it in the science-fantasy genre/subgenre, but I've seen many people claim it was straight fantasy, and reject the whole concept of "science-fantasy". --Corvun 21:33, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I see there's already an article on science fantasy (that's not quite a stub, but certainly wouldn't suffer from being fleshed out a little); it's probably a sufficiently important subgenre to mention in the introduction as well as adding to the list of subgenres. Maybe something to this effect:
Fantasy and science fiction jointly share the subgenre called science fantasy, which has many of the trappings of science fiction, such as space travel and laser guns, but also contains significant elements that bear more resemblance to magic than science or in some other way draw more from fantasy than from science fiction. The best known example of science fantasy is the Star Wars series of films and its spinoffs, set aboard spaceships and on alien planets but featuring swashbuckling knights, princesses in distress, a dark sorceror who has enslaved the galaxy, a mystical source of magical power called the Force, and even an opening line that is a variant of "Once upon a time", "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away".
With something like this included, I think Star Wars makes a good addition to list of modern fantasy works, since it's reached a far wider audience than any other fantasy work (I guess possibly excepting the Lord of the Rings, but I doubt it).
I like what you've been doing with the history section, btw. It's now a much more in-depth and cogent treatment than the article has been able to boast previously.Binabik80 23:52, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad to see that something I started off as such a mess is actually shaping up into something people might find useful.
Question: I think Gulliver's Travels deserves a mention here, being notable due to its popularity and the fact that it can probably very accurately be called an early work of comic fantasy. Would you agree? And if so, where do you think it should be placed? --Corvun 02:12, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I'd suggest putting it at the beginning of early modern fantasy, introduced by something like, "What we can consider modern fantasy appeared with the dawn of the novel at the beginning of the eighteenth century."Binabik80 15:05, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Apparent vandalism?[edit]

User: went through the history of fantasy section and removed any references to Christianity for no reason I can discern. In light of the facts that the edits were made anonymously and the editor chose not to offer any explanation in the edit summary or here, I'm going to consider this vandalism and revert it. In light of the fact that these are the only two edits ever made from this ISP, I'm willing to give this user the benefit of the doubt & assume they don't how to present their edits. If they want to discuss their edits, I look forward to them being brought up for discussion here.Binabik80 23:11, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Addendum: I think it also bears noting that the paragraph about Beowulf becomes pretty nonsensical without the sentence that User: removed, and there's nothing in there that I think can be remotely construed as offensive to Christians or pagans.

I've included a paragraph directly adressing the Book of Genesis, hoping to better explain its relevance to the subject of fantasy, explaining that the intent was not to imply that the stories are "just fiction", an implication to which some Christians, Muslems, and Jews might object.
I also look forward to hearing why the sentence concerning Beowulf was removed. I'm hoping it wasn't simply because the editor found the mention of Christianity and Paganism in the same sentence to be alarming. I'm not going to presume this was the case, but there are those sorts of people out there. --Corvun 00:18, Feb 28, 2005 (UTC)

Why in the history section Robert E. Howard is not mentioned at all, while, whatever one's opionions on Conan may be, he was one of the first 1900s fantasy writers?

You've got a good point. I think Lovecraft probably deserves a mention as well. The problem is there's so many folks who made such incredible contributions to fantasy. That's why the "history" section was spun-off into its own page. Obviously we need to fill some of the history section that was left here back in. I'll be on it tomorrow if not today. --Corvun 20:22, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Classical "fantasy"[edit]

I've been looking around the Theoi Project, and it looks like there were at least a few ancient Greek authors that expressed open disbelief in a lot of the fantastical creatures that featured in Greek mythology. It is also said that some of the Greek philosophers expressed doubts concerning the literal truthfulness of ancient Greek religion. So while at least some (probably a majority) of ancient Greeks held actual belief in the fantastic, there were others that saw the factual accuracy (if any) of the stories to be secondary to, or at least separate from, the value of the stories themselves. Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions, which is why I brought this to the talk page first, but it seems to be that this willing suspension of disbelief in the fantastic (as opposed to actual belief) is important to the history of fantasy. Thoughts? Remarks? --Corvun 12:01, Mar 23, 2005 (UTC)

I think it would make a good inclusion. It reminds me a little of when people began questioning the literal truth of the Old Testament (though without much of the same baggage of a fundamentalist tradition). This is very interesting. Binabik80 16:28, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)
You bring up a good point - the article, in its intro, lumps myth and legend in with fantasy, which is problematic (if not wrong altogether). A key element of fantasy must be the reader's understanding that the story is not factual - that it never happened (even sort of). It may seem obvious, but if someone believes a fantasy to be real, then it cannot be a fantasy at all. Of course, it is not necessary for the member of a culture to believe his/her myths and legends (i.e., it is not necessary that s/he believes them to be factual histories). Nevertheless, s/he can believe them wholeheartedly; this is simply not a possibility with fantasy. Fantasy is itself the willing suspension of disbelief, and can never be confused with an experience with reality. Furthermore, true myth and legend play a significant role in a culture, regardless of whether anyone finds them to be factual; they sit as moral guides, as cultural and tribal 'genealogies', as historical justifications for current politics, borders, customs, etc. E.g., the myths and legends of the Old Testament are as alive as ever: you might get an Israeli Jew to admit that Moses may not quite have gotten water by hitting a literal rock with a literal stick, but just try telling him/her that his/her cultural claim to Palestine is a fiction - a fantasy! You will get a serious, valid and concrete dispute (and all of it based on the guiding 'myths' of Jewish culture). This concrete 'use', and at least possible factual reality, is something to which no fantasy can aspire, though (as with Tolkien) a writer can create myths and legends inside his/her stories which his/her characters can utilize as their own guiding cultural foundations. It is, I think, a grave mistake to include 'myth' and 'legend' within a discussion about fantasy; it is especially wrong to present myth and legend as 'early' or 'primitive' forms of fantasy. For one thing, such misuse makes the assumption that myths and legends are by definition false (not necessarily the case - just ask anyone who believes their cultural myths). For another thing, it mistakes a cultural phenomenon with a personal one: myths tell you what people actually think they are (regardless of whether they believe their myths to be equal with factual history), while literary Fantasies tell you about what kind of person the reader/writer would really rather be (with no mistake about the fictional source of their musings - and of course one takes into account that 'fantasizing' itself tells you something about the person doing it, but not in the way myths do). I am thinking this article needs some editing? black thorn of brethil 08:48, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Fairytale fantasy[edit]

I removed fairytale fantasy from the list of subgenres. Here's what I took out:

==== Fairytale fantasy ====
Main article: Fairytale fantasy
Adult literature in this subgenre is often violent and overlaps with Mythic fantasy, or sexual and overlaps with Romantic or Erotic fantasy. Children's literature in this subgenre tends to avoid the darker or more sexual tones previously common in traditional fairytales, instead concentrating on the more kid-friendly variety of fairy story.

I removed because it had neither examples, nor a main article, & I think the list of subgenres is looking a little long at the moment (I'll be back here after I've finished my copyedit of the article to talk a little more about that). I have no objection to a reinsertion of the text once either fairytale fantasy has been written (as long as it's something more than just restating the above paragraph) or someone wants to come up with 2-3 examples of the subgenre. Binabik80 04:03, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Do we have a featured article here?[edit]

I think this article might be ready to have a go at featured article status. I've gone through & given it a full copyedit; the table of contents in particular worried me, as I felt the list of subgenres looked a little intimidating (especially since it was just a long straight line of subtopics, rather than a tree), but I eliminated 3 or 4 that didn't have anything in them & now I think it looks better. Before the article goes to peer review, though, I wonder if it might not benefit from some citations. It references a tremendous body of fantasy literature but doesn't cite any non-fiction sources.

I'm thinking here particularly of the history section. To a large degree, the history of the antecedents of genre fantasy comprises collating a number of significant works from Western literature and simply placing them in the perspective of the modern genre. These earlier works & literary periods already have articles on themselves, so the lack of specific, comprehensive sources needn't necessarily be a dealbreaker. But if anyone has any works on the theory or history of fantasy, they wouldn't go amiss. Binabik80 04:44, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Having heard no pushback, I'm going to go ahead and list the article for peer review.
Hi. Sorry I've been absent for so long. I wasn't able to have consistent access to the internet for quite some time and I've only recently been able to get back into the swing of things.
Personally, I think we should try to expand the article as much as we can, periodically moving sections to their own pages and summarizing the main page whilst working toward building up a fantasy series. I think the history and sub-genre sections are almost complete enough to be spun off into their own articles. Next on the agenda would be creating a template for every page in the series. Perhaps a side-table, like the one on the anarchism pages.
Of course, getting more thorough scholarly references and citations would be an integral part of this process.
What do you think? --Corvun 07:56, July 25, 2005 (UTC)

Summary needed[edit]

I've copied the "History of fantasy" section to its own page. The version that remains here needs to be summarized and have (most of?) the images removed. Anyone feeling up to it? --Corvun 05:24, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

Also a summary for the fantasy film and fantasy art sections --Corvun 05:46, August 6, 2005 (UTC)


Okay, now that many of the subjects dealt with on this page have their own articles, I went ahead and trimmed off some of the redundant information that was left here. Though, I think I may have streamlined it a bit too much, we can always re-add information where needed, or write new stuff from scratch, if we want to fill the article back in a bit.

I think it would be nice, eventually, to have new images on the page. While anything representing the state of the art would probably be protected by copyright, we can always go around asking permission.

Also, we should probably re-add one of the images from the old history section to the new history section. Any nominations for which image to bring back? --Corvun 11:23, August 18, 2005 (UTC)

New material on the relation to science fiction and science fantasy[edit]

This article did not reflect the significant advances in SF critical theory made since the mid-1990s. These advances (which I have tried to capture in a major rewrite of the science fiction Scope section) have implications for the discussion of fantasy.

I have added two paragraphs to the introduction that call out technology-of-magic and science fantasy as boundary subgenres that clarify the relationship between fantasy and SF.

Esr 07:39, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

As with the other articles you have rewritten in a single day, I have reverted this one for the same reasons. It's very nice that you just got your degree in Literature and are ready to take on the Literary world, but you'll have to run it by us first. KennyLucius 17:21, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Kenny, who is "us", and what gives you the right to dismiss my work as "vandalism"? Esr 18:42, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Presumably, my right came from the same place as your right to dismiss the existing articles. Please don't try and make this into a personal thing. You are disposing of the work of many people, and dismissing the views of everyone who came to a consensus on the nature of speculative fiction and its subgenres. You can't do that overnight. Try to think of it as educating all of us, rather than correcting a faulty document. Open a dialog.
My suggestion is that you put your article on your own user page with a section for comments. Give it a week, since most contributors don't do this full-time. I will then give you a full accounting of my apprehension. Please, also, cite your source so that I will know who I am criticising. KennyLucius 19:14, 6 December 2005 (UTC)


I didn't see too much discussion about this rename. If it makes sense to do it, perhaps Fantasy (genre) would be a better way to go. John (Jwy) 21:44, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Why move? This artical should be the first meaning of "fantasy", and most "fantasy" link here. --Caiyu (采豫) 12:52, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Agreed that there was no need to rename, and that if there does have to be a rename, Fantasy (genre) would have been much better. Fantasy (Word) is completely counterintuitive to any search strategy. This rename cries out to be undone. BPK 14:55, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, I made a mistake and can't move it back manually. so we need a requested move... Caiyu (采豫) 14:03, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Fantasy (Word) → Fantasy — This article about a genre should be the first meaning of the word "fantasy". --Caiyu (采豫) 14:03, 6 January 2006 (UTC)


Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one-sentence explanation, then sign your vote with ~~~~
  • Support --Caiyu (采豫) 14:12, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Support -- "Fantasy (Word)" is a bad heading. BPK 15:55, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Support -- "Fantasy (Word)" is a ridiculous heading--completely counterintuitive. KennyLucius 17:21, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Support as per KennyLucius. Also note that Fantasy already redirects here. Jokermage "Timor Mentum Occidit" 00:59, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
    Silly me. I missed the part about how this was moved from Fantasy. Of course there would be a redirect. Jokermage "Timor Mentum Occidit" 01:16, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Support -- Counterintuitive. Gentaur 06:32, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Support -- see above, should at least not be (Word) John (Jwy) 04:27, 8 January 2006 (UTC)


Add any additional comments

How about changing it to "Fantasy (genre)" now and have the vote apply to "Fantasy (genre)" -> Fantasy. John (Jwy) 04:28, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

  • "Fantasy (genre)" is preferable to "Fantasy (Word)" but I personally would prefer "Fantasy" to both. BTW, the latest rename to "Fantasy (word)" may be stylistically more correct than "Fantasy (Word)" but aesthetically it's just as bad! BPK 07:43, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Moved. —Nightstallion (?) 08:35, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

The External links[edit]

I streamlined the external links to better fit the typical wikipedia style (much easier to read when only text links). I really do not care about alphabetizing or not, thus I put it back in the previous order, but the wordiness and lack of inclusivity of the added link were also addressed. Kukini 02:03, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

You should comment and discuss prior to pretending you can make decisions on your own. Perhaps we need a vote on this issue as well. Kukini 19:34, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Are you criticizing yourself for streamlining the links? KennyLucius 19:36, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Nope. Just suprised at the bullying behavior of reverting changes without discussion. Kukini 19:47, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, I see I've greatly offended you. I'm sorry about that. I'm sorry you consider me a bully--I don't feel like one. If you decide to come back, let's talk about your goal. I kind of understand what you mean by "wordiness", but I don't know what "lack of inclusivity" refers to. KennyLucius 21:16, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Changed Magazine to Website[edit]

I hope this is the right place for this comment. I changed the descriptor for the Realms of Fantasy link from "Realms of Fantasy Magazine" to Realms of Fantasy Website." The reason I made this change is that our Magazine's website has only a small part of it devoted to the magazine itself. The majority of the pages and forum discussions are devoted to Fantasy Content in a broad sense -- books, events, fiction, artists, games, movies, tv, music. The site is fairly new and the ratio of general fantasy content to magazine content will only continue to skew toward the general. I am new to Wiki and trying to follow the rules! :) I hope this change is acceptable.

Award Annals[edit]

Given the revised link format without descriptors, I wonder if the second award annals link might be more valuable as such and appear more congruent if the following change were made -

Change title from Book Award Annals (which doesn't immediately seem to correspond to the general Fantasy heading although the site is rich in Fantasy content) to Speculative Fiction Awards and change the link from the main site (http // to http // which contains 4 fantasy appropriate categories and lots of immediately relevant links.

I propose this change, but I didn't make it.

This sort of thing happens when someone decides to improve external links. The recent streamlining resulted in two links to the book award annals and removed some of the descriptive text. I can only assume this was to make the entire block linked so it would all be the same color.
An occasional review and purge of the external links is a good thing, but I don't think it should be made pretty. Its true function is to give advertisers a place to advertise so that they won't screw around with the article itself, and it works best if their little blurbs are left alone as long as they aren't contrary to policy. (Disclaimer: I am expressing my own opinion, not Wikipedia policy).
BTW, Alêtheia, you are very nice. Thank you. KennyLucius 19:05, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Purpose of Links[edit]

As a Wiki User, I must contend with this point - (re links)"...its true function is to give advertisers a place to advertise so that they won't screw around with the article itself..."

I find that relevent links to external sites are extremely helpful when researching! Often there are many sites devoted to subjects (like C.S Lewis for example, or The Inklings) that Wiki offers only a page of information or so on. Rather than transposing all of the information to Wiki, which many volunteers don't have time to do, one may add a link -- which allows the user to find even MORE in-depth and relevant information on the subject. That's what the links ought to be. Not advertising, where ever someone thought they could get away with it! I don't think that's the purpose of the links at all -- I think the links should be relevant -- should have the potential to deliver valuable information on the page subject.

Ok -- there's my rant! :)

You didn't sign your message!
I agree with the sentiment of your message, but it doesn't seem to work out that way. Did you ever notice that external links are rarely seen outside the "External link" section? Even when there is a very useful and relevant external site, the link to it belongs in that section, not in the article. There may be many reasons for this, but the one I recognize is that it avoids arguments over whether MY site is relevant enough to go in the first paragraph.
Fortunately, the external link custom allows those useful, relevant links to float to the top of the list. They are usually among the first links to be added, and are never deleted in the occasional purges. I'm afraid that's as close to the ideal as we can get, since advertisers are opportunists and Wikipedia is tolerant.
Links must be relevant and useful to the topic, of course. I use the word "advertising" because that is why most of them are added--not because they are helpful. Some of them really stretch the meaning of "relevant", but arguing over an external link is very unsatisfying--I think it's better to direct what little energy I have to the article itself. I only delete the really lame links.
BTW: why did you bold User in your post? I don't get it.
Addendum: External links are sometimes organized into useful sections like "Portals" or "Bibliographies". Science Fiction is like that. You should have seen how long the External Link list was before it was purged and organized thusly! KennyLucius 23:07, 31 March 2006 (UTC)


Digging/Researching, this might be a great secondary source for the article: Electrawn 03:24, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Strange BBC caption[edit]

On this page about the possible completion of The Children of Húrin. Look at the caption under the photo: "Tolkien is considered by many to be the first fantasy author". First?? Where did they get that from? 15:11, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Raymond E. Feist quote in lead...[edit]

It's something ironical to read the following quote in the lead:

Popular American author Raymond E. Feist, who has sold millions fantasy novels beginning in the 1980s, has stated that the essence of his work is to place ordinary people in extraordinary situations, and conjecture how they may react. See also human condition.

It was almost exactly what Robert A. Heinlein (hey, the same pattern of Raymond E. Feist name...) told about how he created his tales in an interview a long, long time ago. The overlap of this two genres go beyond the produced works... The authors seems to use similar procedures to create their literature. But I don't think this sentence is notable enough to be present in the lead of the article. I would delete it, but I'd like to discuss it first. Loudenvier 15:14, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Two things about this paragraph: First, the elbow-in-the-ribs reminder that Feist is a million-selling writer, as though his sales figures make his critical or theoretical ideas significant. Second: That "ordinary people in extraordinary situations" formula applies to any number of genres and writers (early Eric Amber; nearly any Hitchcock film) and not just fantasy. The second point is the clincher, though fannish promotion of particular writers is also to be avoided in the lead section of a major-genre article. I'd say cut the paragraph and maybe find a characterizing quotation (or several) from writers/scholars who do differentiate fantasy from other kinds of narrative--C.S. Lewis and Tolkien come immediately to mind, and are historically crucial to the development of modern ideas of fantasy to boot. (Though the deepest near-historical roots are in the 18th century and the Victorians.)
On a different matter in the first paragraph: The point about overlaps among fantasy, SF, and horror is well-taken, but the umbrella term more frequently used is not speculative fiction (which remains centered on SF for historical reasons) but "the fantastic." This usage can be seen in one of the major academic organizations, IAFA: the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, which is takes a broad-church attitude toward not-realist/contrafactual work. (See RLetson 18:39, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
I´d liked the lead a lot, well, until I read the second paragraph... I´ve cited Heinlein because he said the same on an interview (where/when I can't remember right now). The lead is concise, well summarized... to the point. But the second paragraph is just superfluous and the citing of a single author much too biased for my tastes. If no one complains I will remove it. (RLetson, I've took the liberty to correct your identation... :-) Loudenvier 20:21, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

I removed the Feist-promoting paragraph again. RLetson 20:46, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Reality VS Fantasy[edit]

I have thought of a way to bring reality and fantasy together. We will invent a device that consists of things from both reality and fantasy and that will allow us to travel between the two. The portal connecting reality and fantasy will be a two-way portal, so that we can traverse between the two and not be stuck in either one forever. This idea was inspired by complex numbers in mathematics, which consist of a real part and an imaginary part. I need the help and effort of everyone round the world in order for us to build the device.-- 03:57, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Already exists; it's called a book. Noclevername 05:11, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

What the hell? That' unusual idea.--Tolthalan 13:26, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

You are a crazy person. AICMFP. -- (talk) 14:13, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

The term "fantasy"[edit]

The word "fantasy" suggests make-believe, and the genre is often distinguished from science fiction by saying it deals with impossible things. As Orson Scott Card put it, science fiction is about what could be but isn't, whereas fantasy is about what couldn't be.

The fact that we designate books about elves, fairies, dragons, and wizards as "fantasy" says something about the common beliefs of our culture. It shows that we overwhelmingly do not believe in any of those things.

In theory, fantasy applies to any fiction with supernatural elements. The problem is that many people in our culture do believe in certain supernatural phenomena, and hence, it isn't "fantasy" to them. For example, I've recently been working on the articles for the novel and film of What Dreams May Come. I have found that this book fits in a special subgenre called bangsian fantasy, applying to fiction dealing with the afterlife. In this case, however, the author himself believes that the events he's describing are accurate and real, and many readers evidently feel the same way. The book even contains an extensive bibliography.

If the impossibility of the events is what determines whether a work is fantasy, then What Dreams May Come isn't fantasy according to many people's views. If, on the other hand, "fantasy" is just the cover term for supernatural fiction, then the book is obviously fantasy.

I'm wondering if this dilemma ever creates any controversy as to what is or isn't fantasy. marbeh raglaim 14:42, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

It does. Per your own reference, in his book How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, Card pegged it best: the best Fantasy has the qualities that makes Science Fiction good, and vice versa. Some authors eschew the phrasing altogether, in fact, and refer to both as Speculative Fiction. --Chr.K. 15:48, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Something related, but asking for help[edit]

I'm trying to find some definitions that clearly state the differences between Science Fiction, Science Fantasy and Fantasy. The main point of it is to figure WHAT science fantasy IS. This is not helped by the fact that Fantasy seems to of had TWO seperate meanings over time. The first being all fantastic fiction, like depicting utopia's and other such things to D&D type worlds, and many other such things, not beng restained to magic. The other definition seems to be refering to stories with magic in them.

I would appreciate any definition you could find, as I think it will help me greatly. It also raises the question, does Fantasy NEED magic? Corrupt one 03:27, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure fantasy needs "magic" in the conventional sense. For example, The Princess Bride does not have any overtly magical elements. It has a few impossible (or at least highly improbable) elements, like the Fire Swamp. Iocane powder doesn't exist, but it's not implausible. And Miracle Max is simply an herbalist. marbeh raglaim 18:15, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. Unfortunatly when I compare the definitions of fantasy, Science Fiction and Science Fantasy, things get a bit confusing. Sometimes Science Fiction is listed as a subtype of fantasy. I'm trying to find a way to trace changing meanings of the terms. Any help would be appreciated. Corrupt one 01:17, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Card says that H.G. Well called his books "scientific romances." The Online Etymology Dictionary traces the term science fiction to 1929. Card describes the modern fantasy genre (the publishing category) as beginning with Tolkien. I don't believe the meaning of either term--sf or fantasy--has changed much, and I think they've always been thought of as distinct, but closely related, genres. Like anything there are gray areas and overlaps. Also see the message I left you on your user talk page. marbeh raglaim 04:26, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Just a quick addition - isn't 'space opera'(which I hear Star Wars is) is also another genre, but not within science fiction and/or fantasy as it places more emphasis on the drama and has more emotional overtones. Is this so? I considered Star Wars as canon science fiction... Armuk 15:38, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

It's not a subgenre, but a subclass under SF proper. And more/less obsolete, except in Hollywood, which is at least 30yr behind modern SF....
As for "science fantasy", it's SF that doesn't "play by the rules", so (broadly) could include anything with FTL or time travel, which remain unproven; only "strict constructionists" would list these outside the boundaries (Spinrad, I think, among them). More commonly, it would include things like superheroes & psychics, anything accepted to be physically impossible, but excluding magic, demons, trolls, & such, which is pure fantasy. This puts X-Men or Smallville in SF (subcat sci fan), Harry Dresden & LotR in fantasy . TREKphiler hit me ♠ 11:20 & 11:26, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikia links[edit]

Hello, I am adding a wiki-link for the wikia on fantasy and magic(Conmyth)..Mightyerick (talk) 23:43, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

OK, no problem. I already added both conworld wikia and conmyth wikis to that article. There has been a wrong link to Novelas wikia I already redirected to conworlds (Novelas does not accept conworlds anymore). Things on wikia are changing too fastMightyerick (talk) 15:17, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Gap between genres[edit]

A question. Would it be useful to add the fundamental differences between this genre and sci-fi?

I really think there is a giant overlap, as long as fantasy is a link to our past and sci-fi is a link to our future. While Sci-Fi focuses on things that people believe we would have in the future (interstellar rockets, spatial travels, etcs), Fantasy focuses on things humans believed in the past (magic, mythologies, fairies).Mightyerick (talk) 01:09, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Since there's absolutely no agreement on where the boundary between the two genres lies (there seem to be about as many opinions on the subject as there are people with opinions), I think the vague treatment in the lead in probably the best that can be done. Deor (talk) 15:02, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Religious Texts[edit]

I think it is worth noting that while some religious texts (the Mahabharata and Ramayana) are included here, as well as what could arguably be apocryphal religious text (the Odyssey, perhaps), other religious texts are not included here, most notably the Bible. If one is fantasy, surely the others are. If one is not, surely none are. I'll wait to edit this myself, but I want to hear a justification for why in an allegedly NPOV article some religions are fantasy and others are not mentioned. (talk) 05:40, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Sacred texts are not considered part of the fantastic and certainly should not be included along with literary fantasy. The Odyssey, on the other hand, is a literary text, and even if some of its audience accepted the portraits of the gods, the underworld, and so on, that does not make it a sacred poem, any more than their belief that there was a Trojan War makes it history. There's also a problem with seeing a pre-modern text that deals with elements of actual supernatural or religious beliefs in an imaginary setting (e.g., the Divine Comedy) as the same kind of thing as, say, a Stephen King thriller or a Charles Williams novel. In the case of Dante, the ruling genre--the one whose conventions make the best sense of the text--is allegory, and specifically medieval allegory. For the Odyssey, the ruling category is epic, even though there are fantastic events and creatures as understood by its contemporary audience. Of course, these categories (epic, fantasy, allegory, thriller) are not mutually exclusive or watertight, and their operations always need to be understood in historical-cultural context. RLetson (talk) 06:57, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
What about the Mahabharata and Ramayana? If they are included, why not the Bible? There is clearly a Western bias going on. Is the Ramayana less worth protecting? This distinction is arbitrary. (talk) 18:31, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
If religious texts are off topic, then you should delete the ones already listed, not add additional religious texts. Edward321 (talk) 22:53, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
My understanding was that they were NOT off topic. Therefore, I added the Bible which includes books with fantastical content. But if we have to have religious censorship, then at least for everyone. (talk) 20:23, 21 November 2014 (UTC)


I've taged one of the definitions of fantasy as dubious - i've read plenty of fantasy in which there were no magical rules, and the characters are not limited as far as the reader is told, including many world fantasy award winners.A lot of poor quality fantasy has heroes whose powers/abilities continuously change depending on the situation to increase tension - hardly consistent. Although it is referenced, this seems to be the opinion of one critic, and the sort of fantasy he prefers. Hence it should be re-written as "Critic xxxxx claimied in his book yyyy that zzzzz). I can't do it well, i don't have the book used as a ref.Yobmod (talk) 11:20, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

That's a good point. Although this belief is quite common to critics and authors, not just one, it generally refers to what is considered "good" fantasy, not fantasy in general. Is Brian Attebery a pre-eminent voice on this opinion? What about Orson Scott Card in "How to Write Science Fiction"? I think Tolkien himself wrote about this in an essay once as well. (talk) 20:08, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
"Is Brian Attebery a pre-eminent voice"? I'd say not, since I never even heard of him. Not that I read an enormous amount of fantasy... TREKphiler hit me ♠ 00:51, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

FWIW Attebery is indeed a significant academic critic in the field--you can start by looking at his entry on WP and follow it up with a Google search. Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories" is considered a foundational work on fantastic literature. (And there's a WP entry on that, too.) Orson Scott Card is not to be dismissed, but I think you will find him cited much less frequently than Tolkien or even Attebery in the critical literature. And that is what should be feeding the definitions and attempted genre maps here, not everybody's homebrewed theories or what they wish fantasy were. Genre theory is full of fuzzy sets and hard-to-define areas, and fantasy is one of them. There is not one definition of "fantasy"--there's a range of attempted definitions and descriptions, and that's what a Wikipedian article is going to have to settle for: what the authorities agree or disagree on. RLetson (talk) 05:32, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

I don't think it matters whether he's significant or not. Fantasy doesn't have to have heroes, villans or usable magic (that can come with a price). So the definition misses parts of the genre in favour for, I dunno, perhaps hack n' slash RPG fantasy. Ttias (talk) 15:36, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

The problem I see with the second and third paragraphs of the "Traits of fantasy" section is that they select one set of traits to construct what amounts to an normative argument about fantasy. Adding citations does not make this kind of argument any more appropriate in this setting than do naked assertions of opinion--fantasy, broadly considered, is a complex genre, and there are critical models that encompass everything from Robert E. Howard to Kafka to The Castle of Otranto, and other models that try to restrict the scope of the term to eliminate, say, expressionist or absurdist or allegorical or science-fictional texts. That is one reason why a major academic organization calls itself the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts. (I also wonder just how strongly the single page of Attebery's book suppports the position implied by those paragraphs. It does not fit what I know of his critical approach, a taste of which can be found in this Google Book Search hit: [2].) There is a critical literature that deals with these questions--that is where this article needs to start. RLetson (talk) 06:32, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

"Medievalist" subtype dominant?[edit]

This characterization strikes me as shakey--currently the two most popular fantasy series for young Anglophone readers are Harry Potter and the "Twilight" vampire books. Then there's Philip Pullman. In fact, gothic-descended motifs (vampires, zombies, monsters, et al.) remain enormously popular and seem to dominate the film/TV end of things. Tolkien's success (forty-plus years ago!) inspired lots of imitators, so pseudo-medieval/sword & sorcery/fur-jockstrap subgenres have remained healthy--but dominant? Find me a couple of reliable, authoritative sources that make the argument and I'll think about it. (I'd suggest looking at Amazon rankings, but that would be OR.) RLetson (talk) 06:37, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

The lead reflects worldwide view, not "young Anglophone readers". In much of the world, fantasy is still associated with AD&D type Medievalist stuff, thanks to the staying power of Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, Gary Gygax, Dragonlance etc.. But yeah, some sources are in order. Gregorik (talk) 00:12, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I put in the "dominant", but that was already toning it down from what it was before: "synonymous with". I would agree that urban/paranormal/contemporary fantasy is rapidly gaining, if not overtaking traditional medieval fantasy. I think they sell more already: it is rare for D&D type fantasies to get onto bestseller lists, unlike Hamilton, Gaiman, plus all the YA stuff so i would agree to toning it down even more, or removing (but D&D still holds sway at cons and in cosplay etc,, but that is OR on my part).Yobmod (talk) 08:59, 27 January 2009 (UTC)


  1. "Edward Plunkett, better known as Lord Dunsany": odd phrasing; seems to suggest a pseudonym ("better known as Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain"); actually a perfectly genuine title
  2. Don't any significant body of reliable sources count magic realism as fantasy?

Peter jackson (talk) 15:45, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

I've revised the sentence to eliminate your first concern. As for the second, I certainly wouldn't complain if you added some material about magic realism to the article (and added a corresponding entry to the template {{Fantasy}}). Deor (talk) 19:08, 28 August 2009 (UTC)


Wow........ """Criticism to fantasy includes it being called "second rate" literature; but author Terry Brooks rebutted this when he answered a question on his official website:"""" Such an authoritative rebuke... ??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:30, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Reversion of edit[edit]

I reverted a two-paragraph cut made by Dbachmann because the point of those paras is precisely to indicate the roots of fantasy-the-genre in the-fantastic-in-general as a part of literature. The second paragraph makes that point explicit and provides a source for the idea. I suppose one might tone down the first paragraph a bit, but the recitation of the roots of modern fantasy in myth, folktale, and allegory is a familiar bit of ancestor-tracing. RLetson (talk) 18:35, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Part of Wikiproject: Science Fiction?[edit]

Why is this article part of the Science Fiction Wikiproject? As far as I can tell, this is completely separate from science fiction. Science fiction involves elements of fantasy (by that I means fantasy by definition, I am not saying that the two genres are significantly related), but science fiction is a separate genre and this article is about a concept that is broader than science fiction itself.

I presume a vote is needed to remove it from the Wikiproject, where should that go?

--Nutarama (talk) 21:14, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

I assume someone felt that the article would be of interest to the members of the project. The tag doesn't represent a claim that fantasy and science fiction are related in any particular way; it's just a way of bringing the article to the attention of a particular group of editors. If you nevertheless think that the tag should be removed, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Science Fiction is the place to bring the matter up. Deor (talk) 22:00, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Sword & Sorcery[edit]

I can't help but feel like the S&S sub-genre has been cheated, in this article. The history section makes only a brief mention of S&S before quickly throwing a "However" at the success of high fantasy. There's a 20 year gap between the success of Robert Howard and the success of Tolkien, at which time fantasy was dominated by mostly S&S. And while high fantasy has certainly taken the throne, S&S maintained a continued presence throughout the 70s, as seen in heavy metal music, French comics, American comics, and the success of the Conan films. All of this feels swept under the carpet on the way to kowtowing to Tolkien. (talk) 02:59, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

The period between Howard and Tolkien is much less than twenty years, if The Hobbit counts. And in any case, it's not just sword and sorcery that's being jumped over in the History section. In the 1940s, popular fantasy included the "modern" variety found in Unknown Worlds (work by L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt, Heinlein, Jack Williamson, and Fritz Leiber)--some of it what we would now call "urban fantasy." In the 1950s--before Tolkien hit--Poul Anderson published The Broken Sword (arguably "high fantasy") and Three Hearts and Three Lions. Then there's all the supernatural-horror and Lovecraftian material--much of it coming from Arkham House, started in 1939 and quite active through the 1940s, the 1950s, and beyond. There was quite a bit going on in that period, and the whole section history is a bit thin. RLetson (talk) 06:01, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Vandalism removal[edit]

Removed some minor vandalism from the first paragraph — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:44, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Can we have more mature examples of 21st century fantasy?[edit]

"The popularity of the fantasy genre has continued to increase in the 21st century, as evidenced by the best-selling statuses [of lots of children's books]."

My first thought is, why are just all these children's books being listed? Let's put in some modern general books as well. But, what are they? This whole part is unsourced, so we need some best-seller figures. I've a glum feeling such a list would prove it is dominated by juvenile books now though :( (Not knocking juvenile books, but they're a bit, well, juvenile for adults, no? Apparently not judging by what people seem to read ): — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:29, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

This page has been completely replaced with vandalism[edit]

I don't know how to fix it, I'm just mentioning it so someone else can. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:10, 19 March 2012 (UTC)


Don't you have your own fair-tales? There is almost NOTHING based on Rus' fаir-tales neither in Ukrainian, nor in Russian fantasy. It is wrong information. They write about West-European-kind world (the Diachenkos, Pekhov, Perumov etc.) or they call "fantasy" the novels that are of some different genres, but not exactly fantasy - when they use motives of Ancient Rus'. It seams to me, the picture of Rus' bylina motive is a wrong illustration for the article. It is illustration for epos, like Beowulf, Die Nibelungen, The Song of Roland etc, which all are not the fantasy. It is not true at all to say "...have been an important source for fantasy." There is no one novel concerning Ancient Rus' which can be labeled fantasy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:41, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Must be a language problem, because I don't think you understand what "fantasy" is. It doesn't have to be based on a King Arthur type of medieval setting. Anything with magic or other supernatural elements can be described as a source for fantasy, and modern novels using those elements, unless strictly horror, is fantasy, whether Russian or not. I don't know about Russian fantasy (though a quick search brought me to Yuri Nikitin who is inspired by Slavic mythology), but there's plenty of stuff from English fantasy that draws from Russian folk tales. Beowulf and the other "epics" are certainly fantastic, even fantasay didn't exist as a genre. Brc2000 (talk) 20:44, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

WorldCat Genres[edit]

Hello, I'm working with OCLC, and we are algorithmically generating data about different Genres, like notable Authors, Book, Movies, Subjects, Characters and Places. We have determined that this Wikipedia page has a close affintity to our detected Genere of fantasy-fiction. It might be useful to look at [3] for more information. Thanks. Maximilianklein (talk) 23:13, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Subgenre articles and redirects[edit]

Do we have anywhere a list of subgenre articles? Without judgment whether they should be considered "subgenres" of a fantasy "genre", without judgment whether they should be listed or mentioned in this article, which articles apparently cover fantasy subgenres? And which "X fantasy" redirects do we have?

The appropriate location may be this talk page, Talk: Fantasy, or Talk: Fantasy literature or some Wikipedia talk page.

P.S. Nominally there is a Fantasy task force of WP:Novels, which claims or recognizes the Fantasy literature article but not this one (no banner above). Fantasy novel redirects there, which fits bearing the Novels banner, but fantasy fiction redirects here. --P64 (talk) 21:11, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

The links in the "Genres of fantasy" section of Outline of fantasy may be the closest thing to a "list of subgenre articles" that we have. Deor (talk) 22:40, 18 June 2013 (UTC)


I need to know the main facts about what fantasy genre is any help? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Emilylouise2000 (talkcontribs) 09:18, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

The article should have all the main facts you need. Erpert WHAT DO YOU WANT??? 09:20, 24 January 2014 (UTC)