Talk:List of fantasy subgenres

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Swords and Sorcery Definition[edit]

I believe the SaS section needs to be entirely rewritten to accomodate for its various subgenres. The "Drizzt" books by R.A. Salvatore, for instance, are almost unanimously regarded as "Swords and Sorcery" fantasy, yet are far removed from the qualifications on the SaS section of the article, having virtually nothing in common with the titles listed. So, essentially, the section needs to be both rewritten and extended with a more thorough definition of the genre. ~~LVCer

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:37, 1 March 2007 (UTC).

First, perhaps, you could provide some evidence that those books are termed sword & sorcery? I haven't heard them so called. Goldfritha 01:49, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I would contest the placement of the Elric books in 'Sword & Sorcery', as they tend to deal with 'cosmic' conflicts. Would this not make them 'High Fantasy'? --Trithemius (talk) 03:16, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Subgenre Relationships[edit]

I think it important to give readers a reason to visit this article, rather than just skipping it and going to the subgenre pages listed on the template. I think we should probably focus on these subgenres' relationships to eachother and their development as integral parts of their mother genre (fantasy). Now that this has become its own page, rather than a section within the "Modern Fantasy" section of the main Fantasy page, we could go a bit further back into time while detailing the development of their traits.

Other ideas or suggestions? --Corvun 06:19, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

Your suggestion about comparisons is a good one. Even though the sword and sorcery section already had a contrast with high fantasy, I've just added another contrast between the two.

Sleeveless Fiction[edit]

I would like some help from someone with more knowledge than I on potentially adding this as a subgenre of Sword & Sorcery. I have no idea as to the prominence of the term "Sleeveless Fiction" itself -- I've never heard yet it mentioned outside television industry. The S&S subgenre was launched with the success of the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian and includes mostly low-budget TV series fantasies (prime examples being Sam Raimi series like Xena: Warrior Princess, The Legend of the Seeker) which are characterized, as the name implies, in part by a tendency of the costumes to eschew real historical fashions for skin-showing stereotypical vests and bodices. Though most easily identified by characters in period dress more suitable for a modern Renaissance Festival than a 1322 Tuesday in Rye, such series, I have observed, seem to have enough else in common to identify this as a separate fantasy genre. The humor compared to other genres is relatively simple, relying on wry wit and heavy cliché. The subgenre is at times accused of bordering on soft-core pornography, both for exposing as much of the actors' skin as possible, and for employing weak premises to speed along the plot to get to the "good stuff," i.e. a sword-fighting or hand-to-hand combat scene. Characters and plots are also often easily accessible, borrowing from pre-existing mythologies and fitting well-established archetypes. The genre can also include similar Science Fiction works such as Cleopatra 2525. Advice? Consent? More info? Misopogon (talk) 19:05, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

One Supernatural Element[edit]

I was wondering what movies with one supernatural/fantasy element but overwise are set in normal contempary world be classified as. Examples I would give would be Groundhog Day, Big, Its a Wonderful Life, What Woman Want, etc... These movies have that supernatural element so I think they should be included in some sort of catagory besides just comedy or drama. I know usually fantasy involves orcs and elves and other such staples but I think fantasy could be generally considered anything that has a supernatural element in it. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Bodhi395

I've wondered about this for a while now. There's no consensus, not among scholars or even authors, what is fantasy and what is not. I think this issue also plays into the difference between science fiction and fantasy. Ray Bradbury said "Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal.", meaning that science ficiton could happen and fantasy cannot, but even this seemingly good definition runs into problems with most early SF, space operas and the like. Personally, I'd make a seperate sub-genre for works that are not focused on fantasy but have fantastic (as in "of or related to fantasy", not "really good") elements. What Women Want has little to do with most works of fantasy but clearly isn't a normal comedy, Groundhog Day has elements of fantasy (unless it's explained in a more scientific manner in the movie, my knowledge of it is second-hand), and It's A Wonderful Life seems more like a fable than anything else (shows a particular moral lesson) but has a few supernatural elements (I've never seen Big). I think making a seperate category for works of other genres with some fantastic elements that aren't focused on fantasy is the best ideas. Opinions? The Final Dream 19:32, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Critique of High Fantasy[edit]

Should this page include a criticism of high fantasy? I feel that it should just provide a description of what it is, and leave criticism to the High Fantasy article itself. The criticism is not a comparison between subgenres, it just gets into specific details that don't belong in an overview. Could someone explain the decision to bring the criticism back to this page?

There has never been any criticism or critique of high fantasy on this page. This is an article, not just a list with descriptions. Removal of the following:
Perhaps more than any other subgenre, high fantasy is criticized for borrowing too many of its themes and ideas from previous works, most notably those of J. R. R. Tolkien. Others defend this, citing that most of Tolkien's themes and ideas were taken from mythology and folklore with only superficial modifications. Nevertheless, the fact that most authors in this subgenre tend to limit themselves to those aspects of mythology and folklore that Tolkien used, and often combine them in similar ways, is one that cannot be ignored. As a result, many fans of the fantasy genre have grown exceedingly weary of the repetitious manner in which this subgenre's once most beloved characteristics recur. However, it appears that the use of such particular themes and ideas is the very thing that distinguishes high fantasy from its fellow subgenres, and that a sufficiently unique example of high fantasy would be more likely to be placed in a different subgenre altogether, thus rendering accusations of unoriginality somewhat circular. (Similar arguments have been made for the Western, an entire genre perceivedly based around a narrow set of themes and concepts.)
leaves the reader with no information about high fantasy as a subgenre of fantasy. Furthermore, the only bit of it that verges on a critique is the last sentence (the one in parentheses) which again is only a statement about how different genres relate to eachother.
Now this paragraph is quite bulky and could use some slimming down where possible, as long as no actual information is lost. But this is exactly the sort of information this page should be focussing on, as the genres are well-defined on their own pages. This article, being one about fantasy subgenres, is where information on the relationships between the genres belongs; such as information as to why a work would or would not be classified as high fantasy and what first springs to the minds of the majority of fans (which, might I point out, differs dramatically from my own opinion on the matter) is the bit that makes this a Wikepedia article and not just a list of links with descriptions. Wikipedia is not a list of links, nor is it a repository for lists of links, even if you give each link a short description. This page is not an article unless we articulate what it is about to its readers. --Corvun 10:03, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

On the contrary. High fantasy as a subgenre of fantasy is defined by exactly the traits given in the two other paragraphs: imaginary world, clash of good-and-evil, etc. Using folkloric elements derived from Tolkien is not at all required; I have read books described as "high fantasy" that used widely varying folklore sources. Goldfritha 15:29, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Could you point me in the direction of some? I know that stories following the "Joe Everyman finds a portal to a mystical fantasy world" format generally get lumped in with High Fantasy, but lumping aside, all the High Fantasy I've read (in full or in summaries; none of us reads everything after all) has been similar to Tolkien in either approach or final product, and all the complaints I've ever heard from fans on the subject (and the relentless message-board mining to try and find people who didn't harbor such complaints) showed a too-much-tolkien mentality among the fans, who seem to awfully darned sick of LOTR-like stories. But, as the paragraph says (perhaps not clearly enough) anything that wasn't Tolkien-like in approach or final product probably wouldn't be classified as High Fantasy. But again, that's lumping-aside. Should we mention the lumping? The lumping might be important, too. --Corvun 17:59, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
You should check out List of high fantasy fiction, which includes a good number. Goldfritha 17:02, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

The paragraph in question starts off with "Perhaps more than any other subgenre, high fantasy is criticized...." The last word that I quoted, "criticized," tells me that a criticism follows. You may not be the one making the criticism, as you're only reporting it, but that type of evaluation is nonetheless not a description of the genre. 06:43, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Darwinian Fantasy[edit]

I don't know if it's worthy of a place on the page, since the term isn't on Wikipeda yet and as far as I know, it is only used to describe Ian Irvine's View from the Mirror. I guess it means dedication to realism, where good and evil are not tangible, but people's actions may be perceived as good or evil. Mainly, though, the novels place 'survival of the fittest' as the only law. It could be between dark fantasy, science fantasy, and low fantasy. Any thoughts?--Aeronox 02:45, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

I've not read Irvine's work, so I can't comment on that. However, "good and evil are not tangible", "'survival of the fittest' as the only law", that sounds like R. E. Howard's Conan stories (REH was a social Darwinist, after all), which are firmly sword and sorcery, so maybe it's just a matter of Darwinian themes that happen to be expressed in fantasy rather than a subgenre of its own. Not that I'm completely dismissing your suggestion. But could you say a little more about why you think this should be a separate subgenre?

You may be right. I'm not very good at explaining things. Since Irvine is relatively unknown, it probably doesn't matter; a genre isn't defined by one work that is different, but many works that are similar.--Aeronox 02:45, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

yeah, "dedication to realism, where good and evil are not tangible, but people's actions may be perceived as good or evil" sure sounds like sword and sorcery. --Lygophile 13:53, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Heroic Fantasy[edit]

I ran across this article and added a link to here. I'm not sure that it's distinct enough from high fantasy and sword-and-sorcery to merit a separate article -- but if it exists, it ought to be linked here. Goldfritha 00:27, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't quite see the difference. Having read through the article, it looks like there is some sort of difference, I just don't think I can articulate it. Could you expand the blurb on this page to provide a better contrast between heroic fantasy and high fantasy and sword and sorcery?
I'm not sure there is one. Part of it is that the article reads -- to me -- more like a puff piece than a neutral description of a genre. The other part is that all the examples it cites, I have heard referred to as "sword-and-sorcery" or "high fantasy." (I looked it up in _The Encyclopedia of Fantasy_, and it observed that no one's usefully distinguished "heroic fantasy" from "sword-and-sorcery" -- except that it's a more -- upmarket term.) Goldfritha 04:39, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
Then why is it included as a subgenre? 18:16, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
'cause it exists as an article. If it's not necessary, it should be deleted entirely, probably repointed to sword & sorcery, and not just left off the list. 01:09, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
whoops -- that's me. Goldfritha 01:14, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
also notice that it refers to "epic fantasy", though "epic fantasy" is neither linked, nor is their any "epic fantasy" in the list. is epic fantasy another word for high fantasy? then please add that somewhere and/or link "epic fantasy" to the page on high fantasy.--Lygophile 12:52, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Sword and Sandal[edit]

There's an article on a genre of fantasy films called sword and sandal. It seems that it only describes a genre of film, rather than things like literature, so I'm not sure if it should be included in this article. What do others think? 00:51, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Definitely appropriate, I think. Besides, if it's linked here, people who know literature (in the loosest sense 0:) might add it to the article. Goldfritha 01:39, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Hard fantasy[edit]

Is the Hard fantasy about a noteworthy subgenre? I note it has no examples given -- it should either be improved and added to this list or deleted. Goldfritha 00:37, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

ITs been 9 months and no one has come up with an example - i am removing it. 02:32, 20 July 2007 (UTC)


Wuxia was filed under "Historical fantasy." The description does not make it sound like a subgenre; it should either be clear or be moved out into its proper alphabetical position, and the headers adjusted. Goldfritha 00:45, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

I placed it as a subgenre of historical fantasy because the steampunk and Celtic styles were placed as such as well. Wuxia stories are often also set in a specific time period, but they are not necessarily so. Javiskefka 07:18, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Series Fantasy[edit]

I removed the following:

Series fantasy is a series of novels by many different authors that take place in the same fantasy world. This world is typically one created for a licensed property, such as a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. These novels provide background color for fans of that franchise, as well as providing a familiar fantasy setting for a variety of authors to use as a setting for their story.

Settings can be of any of the genres of fantasy listed.

as it is not a genre, but a literary medium. Noclevername 03:04, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

The genres[edit]

There's a little mistake.'Heroic fantasy','Low fantasy' an 'Sword and Sorcery' are actually the same subgenre(just different names).Oh,and 'Science fantasy' is not a subgenre of Fantasy.It's a genre in it's own right(usually called Science fiction)Dimts 09:35, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Heroic fantasy and sword and sorcery, sure -- if you could convince everyone else about here, we could merge the articles -- but not low fantasy. Low fantasy is not so much a genre as a grouping opposed to high fantasy, and many definitions ascribed to it are not consistent with sword and sorcery. Goldfritha 22:44, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Oh,and isn't 'Fairytale fantasy' just a fancy term for 'fairytale'.Several of the genres that are mentioned in this article aren't actually fantasy subgenres.Dimts 10:32, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Heck, no. Fairy tales and fantasies based on fairy tales are quite distinct, even with there being borderline cases. Goldfritha 20:27, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Science fiction and science fantasy are seperate genres. Although they use Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D novels as an example of dark fantasy, I feel they can also be used to show the difference between science fiction and fantasy. Although most of the plot of Vampire Hunter D is shaped by forces usually found in science fiction like super-advanced technology, mutations that appear to be caused by nuclear energy, and things like cyborg horses, there is also a large element of magic, especially in the vampires themselves. Science fantasy is definitely a distinct subgenre.--Drekadair 16:23, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Future Fantasy[edit]

What classification would the Pern stuff fall under? Science fantasy? How about Planet of the Apes? 17:08, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Contemporary Fantasy[edit]

I believe there is a mistake in the list of examples of Contemporary Fantasy. The Chronicles of Narnia is definitely not an example of this genre, neither are His Dark Materia or Hellboy, arguably. The rest I know nothing about, so I won't utter myself on the subject. (talk) 12:15, 21 July 2008 (UTC)