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How Do You Like Your Fantasy?

Lord of the RingsToday’s topic is from Tam Ames: “What exactly do you consider fantasy? What does it mean to you? How broad, how narrow?”

It’s a good question. for me, “Fantasy” has always been defined by the “Lord of the Rings” – which I started reading in second grade. Others have built upon this in my world, including most notably Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” and Terry Brooks’ “Shannara” series.

But over time, my understanding of what constitutes “Fantasy” has broadened to include urban fantasy, fantasy/sci fi hybrids, magical realism, and others.

So my questions today: What does “Fantasy” mean to you? Who are your favorite authors in the genre, and why? If you write Fantasy, what kind of subgenre to you specialize in?

4 thoughts on “How Do You Like Your Fantasy?”

  1. I think my definition is fairly broad. I’m not even sure there is a term for the type of fantasy I like, but it’s usually in a setting much earlier than modern. Recently I found some of the vampire, werewolf novels of fantasy and am thoroughly enjoying them.

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  2. I love fantasy, and I agree the definition broadens into numerous subgenres these days. Tolkien I would classify as high fantasy, which includes alternate worlds (not planets), magical beings, and a quest of some sort. High fantasy favorites–other than Tolkein, of course–include The Riddle Master of Hed trilogy by Patricia McKillip, The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay, Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunners series, and The Last Herald-Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey (the latter two feature gay main characters). Fantasy/sci-fi crossovers would involve elements of advanced technology along with magic and might take place on another world, but not necessarily. Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon books hit those marks. Urban fantasy usually plugs supernatural and/or paranormal elements into our known world, or an only slightly altered version of it. By far my favorite urban fantasy series are Rob Thurman’s Leandros brothers novels and Andrea Speed’s Infected series. The latter is a bit hard to classify, actually, because it includes shifters, which are often included under the “paranormal” definition. But the shifters in this series are the result of a virus, not of a supernatural legacy. Here are a couple of unusual recommendations in the fantasy realm with male/male elements: The Prince and the Program by Aldous Mercer, which is a sci-fi/fantasy/mythology/technology story in which Mordred of Arthurian legend, with some significant twists, becomes enamored of the AI version of Alan Turing while working for a small software company in the present day. The Descent of Kings series (five books) by Maria Albert is classic high fantasy with wonderful characters, gay pairings (human and otherwise), and some amazing twists and turns in the plot. (For the sake of full disclosure, I was involved in copyediting these books, but I am a contractor and receive no money from sales, and I genuinely loved the stories.)
    You just have to keep enabling to talk about books, my favorite subject, don’t you? ;D

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  3. I think I have a really broad definition of Fantasy, I put almost anything that is not pure realism into it.

    My favorite things to read are usually either complete fantasies, with totally unique worlds and set in a time and place that has nothing to do with reality (one of my favorite authors in this style is Robin Hobb. Both her Rain Wilds and Farseer series are so pleasing) or on the other side I love an Urban Fantasy, which exists in our world but has supernatural/paranormal creatures.

    I write Romance, and though much of it is paranormal or Fantastical my plots center on the romance, not the world around it. I have a lot of respect for Fantasy authors, and I am so grateful they do what they do!

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