Renee Writes

Weekly Fantasy Fix: Remember When Fantasy Was Just Fantasy?


I can remember going to the fantasy section of the book store and all you’d find was mainly sword and sorcery type fantasy. It wasn’t even known as sword and sorcery back then (or at least I never heard it referred to as that) because it’s what everyone expected fantasy to be.

As fantasy picked up in popularity again, people’s interests broadened and now fantasy encompasses so much more. Now there are so many subgenres out there, I don’t think I even know them all. Here are a few I do know:

Dark Fantasy – traditionally this subgenre combined elements of fantasy with horror, but more recently it also includes fantasy with darker themes.

Epic/High Fantasy – includes a life or death struggle between good and evil, has many characters and a vast world, and generally is written in series or even multiple series.

Sword and Sorcery – the typical medieval style story with lots of magic… and sword fighting.

Urban Fantasy – these take place in our own world, but they involve fantasy themes, such as magic and mythical beings.

Paranormal Fantasy – very similar to urban fantasy, and usually go hand-in-hand, but these speficially are stories about vampires, wereworld, shapeshifters and other similar mythical beings.

Science Fantasy – this one is really a mix of science fiction and fantasy. It’s fantasy that takes place in the future or uses futuristic technology.

There are tons of others… far too many to name here. And it can get really confusing when looking for something new to read. It’s even more confusing for us authors who are trying to decide where our books fit in, as most books can probably fit into several of these categories.

So, what’s your favorite fantasy subgenre? Or are you like me… wishing it could just go back to simply being fantasy? Tell me about it here!


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  • Sneak Peek of my March Short Story
  • Fantasy Author Spotlights
  • Demon Hunt on Sale
  • Fantasy Book Spotlights
  • Awesome Book Deals
  • Tips for Autors: The Writing-Job-Life Balance (video)
  • Free Promo for Authors
  • And more…

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  1. 19 March, 2017    

    I agree that it’s too complicated. 100 different sub-genres is just insane.

    • 21 March, 2017    

      I don’t think it’s going to stop either. New ones seem to be invented every day.

  2. 5 March, 2017    

    Renee: Good point on the explosion of the fantasy genre. I just led a panel discussion at a local bookstore where my hand-out specifically listed as subgenres the following: Bangian, gods/demons, sword & sorcery, comic, grimdark, urban, contemporary, historical, weird, dark, juvenile, wuxia, punk, low, YA, epic/high, magical realism, and vampire. And that list was NOT complete. I left out military, flintlock, diesel punk, steam punk, and others. Bookstore owner said they mostly sell magic realism. Bob

    • 7 March, 2017    

      Wow… yeah, I recently read a list of different fantasy subgenres. There were over 100 on the list and I hadn’t heard of most of them. It’s insane.

  3. 4 March, 2017    

    i too, wish it was easier. I also have trouble knowing where to fit my books.

    • 7 March, 2017    

      I think books that cross several genres are always hard to classify. It takes experimentation to see where it fits in best. You can usually tell when you move it to a new category or change the keywords and suddenly sales pick up (or you get better reviews… or both).

  4. 4 March, 2017    

    I LOVE all Fantasy storylines. So if it means they will all be included if it goes back to just Fantasy, then I’m all for it!

    • 7 March, 2017    

      I think it would just be easier, but I know many people who are particular about the kind of fantasy they read. So I suppose it works for them.

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