Friday, April 23, 2010

The Appeal of Fantasy by Hailey Edwards

 The fantasy genre reminds me of Baskin-Robbins’ thirty-one original ice cream flavors. You could sample a different subgenre every day for a month and still end up with a few varieties you haven’t tried.

Most fantasy novels start with the same base, an idea for plot, characters, and setting that combine supernatural and/or magical elements

The type of fantasy that springs to mind most often is epic or high fantasy. These stories are usually more serious in tone and involve epic struggles with a cast of familiar characters such as wizards, witches, dwarves, elves, and fairies. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is a good example and one most of us are familiar with due to the popularity of the recent film trilogy by the same name.

Another, more traditional, type of fantasy is dark or gothic fantasy. This subgenre combines fantasy and horror elements. The tone is dark and the subject matter is often not for the fainthearted. My favorite example is Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy. 

Urban fantasy is a newer, popular trend for those who like their books light on romance but heavy on action with a sprawling city backdrop. A good example of urban fantasy is The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.

Contemporary or modern-day fantasy, which is similar to urban fantasy minus the requisite cityscape, is my favorite subgenre to read and write. It combines modern times with supernatural elements, parallel planes of existence, or alternate worlds.
When fantasy takes over our imagination, anything is possible.
As you clip the leash on Fluffy for that last walk before bedtime, how often do you look up at the moon as you step outside? Do you check to see if it’s full? Is it reflex or conscious decision on your part?

When you reach the point where your house is more than a quick sprint away, does fear make your nape prickle and palms sweat? If you live near a wooded area, do you often scan the bushes for yellow eyes? Or, in your fantasy, are they red?

We love to read books that pull us out of our everyday lives and thrust us into extraordinary experiences. We long for the thrill of a quest, the tender stirrings of first love, adrenaline laced battles or the rush of making an incredible discovery.

Fantasy gives us all these things and more. It acts as a gateway to anywhere we want to go. It is a key to open fairy doors or castle keeps, enchanted padlocks or gateways into alternate universes. It tempts us into the woods at night only to send us screaming out again at the first sound of a twig snapping underfoot.

The power of fantasy is making your every dream come true, taking you on an exhilarating ride to where rules are made to be broken, and while good may not triumph over evil, it puts up one hell of a fight.

Pick a book and let your fantasy begin.  
Hailey Edwards website - 
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Blogger Dawn said...

Cool descriptions of the different types of fantasies. I like the way you broke it down and gave examples. Of course you had to add Jim Butcher *winks*

April 25, 2010 at 8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have to agree. I'm really just getting into the fantasy genre and I'm enjoying it tremendously. Looks like I have a lot more reading in my near future :)

April 26, 2010 at 8:44 AM  

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