Digging Deeper into Fantasy as a Genre by Andy Peloquin
Fantasy is an amazing genre, one that offers authors (and readers) a chance to escape the boundaries of modern life and create something truly unique. It is one of the hardest genres to define, as a great deal of fantasy defies limits and breaks out of the mold of more traditional genres.
There are so many sub-genres of fantasy to choose from:
• Bangsian/Historical fantasy, or taking historical characters into fantastical stories. (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)
• Modern/Urban/Low fantasy, or adding a fantastical or paranormal element into modern life (Dresden Files or Harry Potter)
• Romantic fantasy/Paranormal romance, or setting a romance story either in a fantasy world or with fantastical/paranormal elements (Five Hundred Kingdoms or Lost Continent)
• High fantasy, or the more classic fantasy stories set in alternative, fictional worlds (Lord of the Rings or A Song of Ice and Fire).
• Heroic fantasy, or a story following the journey of a hero or heroes along a quest (Shannara).
• Hard fantasy, or stories that present stories in rational, understandable worlds (Mistborn or The Kingkiller Chronicles)
• Dark fantasy, or stories with a combination of horror, paranormal, and supernatural elements, but in a darker, grimmer world.
Each of these sub-genres of fantasy has their own sub-sub-genres, and there are too many to count (comic fantasy, fairy tale fantasy, gaslamp fantasy, steampunk fantasy, supernatural fiction, time travel, Wild West fantasy, Science fantasy, and the list goes on…)
Delving Deeper Into Dark Fantasy
If your tastes run a bit darker–towards horror, thrillers, and the darker side of human nature–dark fantasy is a genre you’ll love!
There are three things that make a novel “dark” fantasy:
1. Darker and more frightening themes.
2. Horror elements in a fantasy world.
3. A dark, gloomy atmosphere, with a sense of dread or horror.
There are many books that incorporate one or more of these elements, but a good dark fantasy novel has all three in abundance.
A few examples of dark fantasy include:
The Black Company by Glen Cook — Demons, shadow monsters, and bloodthirsty mercenaries.
Night Angel by Brent Weeks — Assassins, a grim medieval world, and a curse that keeps the character from dying.
The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie — A grim world filled with death and horror, demonic characters, torturers, and more.
All dark fantasy stories have the classic elements of fantasy, but not all have “heroes”. Your classic dark fantasy novel will often feature anti-heroes, people who do the “wrong” things (killing, deceiving, betraying, etc.)–and not always for the “right” reasons.
What makes dark fantasy such an awesome genre? To me, it’s a much more realistic take on a fantasy world.
Most fantasy worlds are Medieval, and the Middle Ages were not a happy time for all. Women and children were mistreated, death was common, life was hard, plague and disease ran rampant, and wars raged around the globe. Heroes were few and far between, and “might was right” far more than we’d like to believe.
These themes are all common in dark fantasy. There is very rarely a “happy ending”, though the outcome of the novels are usually satisfying. The main character will likely be closer to a “villain” than a classic “hero”, but that makes for a much more entertaining read. After all, someone who is not afraid of the shades of moral grey will often go farther than someone who is trying to cling to “the light”.
For a darker, grittier read, there’s nothing like dark fantasy!
What makes each of these genres special is that they open the door for the creative, the innovative, and the unique. In order for a book to be classified as “fantasy”, there must be some fantastical element.
All of the genres share characters and elements with the other genres, but the one thing that remains constant is fantasy’s delving into something beyond this world and its limits. Just like science fiction takes a look at all the possibilities that scientific advances could open up to us, so too fantasy looks at what could happen if there were fantastical or magical elements to the world!
Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious
Andy Peloquin–a third culture kid to the core–has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child.
When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn’t looked back since.
Andy’s first attempt at writing produced In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent. He has learned from the mistakes he made and used the experience to produce Blade of the Destroyer, a book of which he is very proud.
Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.
His website (http://www.andypeloquin.com) is a second home for him, a place where he can post his thoughts and feelings–along with reviews of books he finds laying around the internet.
He can also be found on his social media pages, such as:
Buy Links In The Days:
Buy Links Blade Of The Destroyer:
- Must be 13 or older to enter
- Three (3) ebook copies of Blade Of The Destroyer
- Giveaway ends Dec 07, 2015
Update: Congratulations to the winner Michelle!