Author Topic: Sorting fantasy works by subgenres.  (Read 1151 times)

Offline Agrippa

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 183
  • I'm not quite sure what to say.
    • View Profile
Sorting fantasy works by subgenres.
« on: December 15, 2022, 09:47:20 PM »
First off, hi there, it's Agrippa and I know I haven't posted here for some time. Got distracted by a few other sites and new interests, but I'm back. I'm post this thread in the Legends of the Heroes forum largely because I don't know where else to put it. With all that out of the way, here's my thread.

It's safe to assume that everyone here is familiar with fantasy and its subgenres. High fantasy, low fantasy, dark fantasy, historical fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy and ect. These are all major and minor divisions of the fantasy genre, and in some cases can even be combined. But first, let's nail down what fantasy is, for our purposes at least. Fantasy is the genre of the uncanny, the supernatural and the superhuman. Tales and scenarios of happenings not only outside the norm for our daily lives, but entirely outside the realm of at least known possibility of our world.

As for the high/low division of fantasy I'll be using the more traditional literary definition, with high fantasy taking place in a secondary world, aka completely fictional world, and low fantasy taking place in the primary world, or a fictional version of the real world. Another way to say it, is that whether or not a work is high or low fantasy is about the degree of separation from reality, with high fantasy, secondary or fictional world fantasy, having a higher degree of separation from reality as low fantasy, fantasy that takes place on a fictional version of our world. This is because I find the more recent/TvTropes definitions of high fantasy and low fantasy both too narrow (secondary world only), and internally inconsistent, each defined by elements that have little or nothing to do with each other. So here we go.

Fantasy Subgenres
Low Fantasy: Fantasy stories and scenarios that take place in a fictional version of our world.
  • Historical Fantasy: Fantasy stories and scenarios that that take place in real world historical periods.
  • Contemporary Fantasy: Fantasy that takes place in the real world and during the time period of its writing/publishing. What TVTropes means by Urban Fantasy.
High Fantasy: Fantasy stories and scenarios that take place in a completely fictional world.
Dark Fantasy: Not so much a subgenre of fantasy as it is a hybrid genre. Namely of fantasy and horror.
Cosmic Horror: Our universe is ruled by or at least shared with godlike beings beyond our useful comprehension. These entities are innately hazardous to us and oftentimes have no love nor concern for us.
Science Fantasy: This is also a hybrid genre, just of fantasy and science fiction. I'd say the difference between fantasy and science fiction is that the extraordinary elements of fantasy are outright impossible in real life, while the extraordinary elements of science fiction are theoretically possible but are practically impossible due to lack of technology and infrastructure needed for them. That doesn't preclude combining the two genres though. This is where the impossible meets the merely highly improbable. Where the wizard and scientist* shake hands, work together and hopefully don't blow up the room they're in.
Space Fantasy: Simply put this is fantasy that takes place in space, and oftentimes features travel between planets. Usually this is high fantasy but can in theory be low fantasy.
Urban Fantasy: Fantasy that revolves around city life. It's usually contemporary or at least low fantay.
Industrial Fantasy: Fantasy that takes place during or in the aftermath of an industrial revolution.
Portal Fantasy: Fantasy that transports a character/group to a completely fictional world (high fantasy), to a different part of a completely fictional world (still high fantasy) or to a different place and or time on our world (low fantasy, historical fantasy to be exact if it's to the past).
Superhero Fiction: Yes, superheroes are fantasy. You can fight me about this, I doubt anyone will though. Usually, they're low fantasy. Oftentimes science fantasy too.
Wainscot Fantasy: Fantasy that involves a hidden or secretive society of magical beings.
Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy: Fantasy that takes place after devastating and oftentimes world or region altering calamities.
Epic Fantasy: Fantasy works with truly momentous stakes, broad wide-sweeping ramifications in world and perilous quests against great and terrible evils. Mostly considered strictly part of high fantasy, but I see no reason that bars low fantasy from also being epic fantasy.

*Yes, I know that scientists are the ones who conduct experiments to test hypotheses and establish theories while engineers are the ones who actually apply scientific research to practical ends. Blame this on decades if not centuries of cultural inertia.

I'd like to note that this is not an exhaustive list of fantasy subgenres and hybrid genres, so feel free to offer additional subgenres if you want to.

Offline Agrippa

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 183
  • I'm not quite sure what to say.
    • View Profile
Re: Sorting fantasy works by subgenres.
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2022, 09:48:22 PM »
Since I like to have a system for things, I came up with this template below for sorting and detailing fantasy works. I then moved it to its own post, so it'll be more noticeable.

Title of fantasy work
[image]
Fantasy Subgenres

Description

Offline Agrippa

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 183
  • I'm not quite sure what to say.
    • View Profile
Re: Sorting fantasy works by subgenres.
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2022, 09:52:25 PM »
Example #1: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, created by Hirohiko Araki

(click to show/hide)

Low Dark Urban Fantasy

Historical Dark Urban Fantasy: For Phantom Blood (also counts as Industrial Fantasy), Battle Tendency and Steel Ball Run (also Industrial Fantasy).
Contemporary Dark Urban Fantasy: For Stardust Crusaders, Diamond is Unbreakable, Vento Aureo, Stone Ocean and Jojolion.

The saga of the Joestar family's trials and tribulations as they encounter, and ultimately wield the supernatural, whether in the forms of Hamon, Stands and the Spin. This series chronicles the struggles of the Joestar bloodlines and their allies with their golden spirits against an array of evil forces - from 1889 London to 2012 Miami on the Earth the Phantom Blood universe or from an 1890 cross country race from San Diego to New York City to that Earth's Morioh, Japan in 2011 of the Steel Ball Run's universe.

Offline Agrippa

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 183
  • I'm not quite sure what to say.
    • View Profile
Re: Sorting fantasy works by subgenres.
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2022, 09:54:16 PM »
Example #2: Spy X Family, created by Tatsuya Endo

(click to show/hide)

High (not our world at all) Urban Science Fantasy

On a world much like ours's during the 1950s or 1960s lies two countries, Westalis and Ostania, who for many years fought a bitter and nearly all-consuming war, have recently entered into an uneasy peace that can better be thought of as a cold war. Yet there are those, mostly in Ostania, who would disrupt this fragile peace and reignite the flames of this now cold war. Into this backdrop we find three lone people, Agent Twilight of Westalian intelligence, aka psychiatrist Loid Forger, on a prolonged mission to get close the Ostenian far-right industrialist Donovan Desmond and investigate him for covert militarist activity, Yor Briar, humble Ostanian civil servant by day and terrifying operative of the Garden known as the Thorn Princess by night and finally Anya, a bright and precocious orphan girl of 4 or 5 years old, with telepathic powers from her years as a test subject at the hands of the Ostanian government. Whatever reasons they may have had for coming together, from Loid needing a fake family for Operation STRIX, Yor needing a husband to avoiding arrest for suspected treason all for being unmarried at the age of 27 and Anya simply wanting to be safe and cared for, this disparate trio has grown into a loving, if unusual family.

Offline Agrippa

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 183
  • I'm not quite sure what to say.
    • View Profile
Re: Sorting fantasy works by subgenres.
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2022, 09:56:16 PM »
Example #3: Gargoyles, created by Greg Weisman

(click to show/hide)

Low Fantasy
Historical Fantasy: Medieval era flashbacks.
Contemporary Urban Science Fantasy: Late 1990s.

This series focuses on the titular newly awakened gargoyles of the Manhattan clan, as they learn to deal with the modern world. Yet they're not the only supernatural beings around, for this Earth features powerful and skilled magi, gargoyle clans from around the world and the Children of Oberon or Fair Folk/ancient gods, as well as humans made immortal by magic. Magical weirdness aside, our modern world has given the Manhattan clan both great boons, like Detective Elisa Maza, and intermittent banes, like multi-billionaire industrialist David Xanatos.

Offline Agrippa

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 183
  • I'm not quite sure what to say.
    • View Profile
Re: Sorting fantasy works by subgenres.
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2022, 09:58:47 PM »
Example #4 Guilty Gear, created by Daisuke Ishiwatari

(click to show/hide)

Low Post-Apocalyptic Urban Science Fantasy

Yes, the fighting game franchise that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world with magically empowered mutant superhumans, superpowered martial artists, widespread magitech, at least two benign vampires, an order of assassins bonded with enhanced artificial lifeforms that grant the assassins weird and fantastical powers, an extra-dimensional realm that acts as the world's source of all magic and an annoying little sky pirate girl who can summon aquatic creatures to beat the shit out of you is low fantasy! How is it low fantasy you say? It all takes place on a fictional post-apocalyptic future version of our world with magic, that's why!

Offline Agrippa

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 183
  • I'm not quite sure what to say.
    • View Profile
Re: Sorting fantasy works by subgenres.
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2022, 10:20:25 PM »
Now I'd like to give you people some fantasy media suggestions. Feel free to apply fantasy subgenres, pictures and even a description if you like. Here's the list I made. If a work can be labeled as both high and low fantasy, in which both the fictional version of our world and the entirely fictional world are of equal relevance then label it as High and Low Fantasy or as Mixed Fantasy. Also, please don't try to tackle more than one work at a time, which in the case of Final Fantasy includes each numbered game mentioned and Final Fantasy in general. These are all first come first serve, but in no way an exhaustive or exclusive list. If a work is unfamiliar to any of you, just say the word and I'll post a link to its Wiki page.

Anime/Manga (feature films not included)
Berserk by Kentaro Miura; entry by x
Hellsing/Hellsing Ultimate by Kouta Hirano; entry by x
Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa; entry by x
Bleach by Tite Kubo; entry by x
One Piece by Eiichiro Oda; entry by x
Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi; entry by x
Puella Magi Madoka Magica; entry by x
Tenchi Muyo!by Masaki Kajishima; entry by x
Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi; entry by x
Dorohedoro by Q Hayashida; entry by x
Western Comics
Sandman by Neil Gaiman; entry by x
Hellboy by Mike Mignola; entry by x
Mainline DC; entry by x
Mainline Marvel; entry by x
Archie Comics especially Sabrina the Teenage Witch and The Chilling Tales of Sabrina; entry by x
Feature Films-Animated
The Nightmare Before Christmas; entry by x
Princess Mononoke; entry by x
Spirited Away; entry by x
ParaNorman; entry by x
various Disney films; entry by x
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; entry by x
  • Cinderella; entry by x
  • Sleeping Beauty; entry by x
  • The Sword in the Stone; entry by x
  • The Rescuers; entry by x
  • and The Rescuers Down Under; entry by x
  • Alladin; entry by x
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire; entry by x
  • The Little Mermaid; entry by x
  • The Princess and The Frog; entry by x
  • The Brave Little Toaster; entry by x
  • Beauty and the Beast; entry by x
various Disney-Pixar films
  • Toy Story series
    • Toy Story; entry by x
    • Toy Story 2; entry by x
    • Toy Story 3; entry by x
    • Toy Story 4; entry by x
  • Ratatouille; entry by x
  • The Incredibles series
  • The Incredibles; entry by x
  • The Incredibles 2; entry by x
  • Monsters Inc. series
    • Monsters Inc.; entry by x
    • Monsters University; entry by x
  • Brave; entry by x
Feature Films-Animated/Live Action Hybrid
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?; entry by x
Enchanted; entry by x
Feature Films-Live Action
Hocus Pocus; entry by x
From Dusk Till Dawn; entry by x
The Craft; entry by x
Beetlejuice; entry by x
Night at the Museum series; entry by x
Teen Wolf; entry by x
Star Wars films; entry by x
The Ghostbusters franchise; entry by x
Literature
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin; entry by x
Discworld by Terry Pratchett; entry by x
  • The City Watch series; entry by x
  • The Moist von Lipwig series; entry by x
  • The witches of Lancre series; entry by x
  • The Death series; entry by x
Dracula by Bram Stoker; entry by x
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks; entry by x
The Borrowers by Mary Norton; entry by x
The First Law series by Joe Abercrombie; entry by x
The Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust; entry by x
The Witcher novels by Andrzeji Sapkowski; entry by x
Live Action TV series
Grimm; entry by x
Stranger Things; entry by x
Once Upon a Time; entry by x
Doctor Who; entry by x
Buffy the Vampire Slayer; entry by x
Angel; entry by x
Big Wolf on Campus; entry by x
Bewitched; entry by x
Fantasy Island either the 1977-1984 original starring Ricardo Montalban or the 1998 reboot starring Malcolm McDowell; entry by x
Tabletop Gaming Settings
Warhammer Fantasy; entry by x
Classic/Old World of Darkness; entry by x
New World/Chronicles of Darkness; entry by x
Shadowrun; entry by x
Earthdawn; entry by x
Theatre
A Midsummer's Night's Dream by William Shakespeare; entry by x
Macbeth by William Shakespeare; entry by x
The Tempest by William Shakespeare; entry by x
Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber; entry by x
Video Games
Castlevania series; entry by x
The Witcher games; entry by x
The Witcher; entry by x
The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings; entry by x
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt; entry by x
Final Fantasy
  • Final Fantasy I; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy II; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy III; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy IV; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy V; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy VI; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy VII; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy VIII; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy IX; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy X; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy XI; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy XII; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy XIII; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy XIV; entry by x
  • Final Fantasy XV; entry by x
Monster Hunter series; entry by x
Devil May Cry series; entry by x
Bayonetta series; entry by x
Street Fighter series; entry by x
Dragon Age
  • Dragon Age: Origins; entry by x
  • Dragon Age II; entry by x
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition; entry by x
Shin Megami Tensei
  • Mainline SMT; entry by x
  • Persona series; entry by x
  • Demi-Kids; entry by x
The Legend of Zelda; entry by x
Super Mario Brothers; entry by x
Kirby series; entry by x
Vampyr; entry by x
Demon's Souls; entry by x
Dark Souls series; entry by x
Elden Ring; entry by x
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice; entry by x
Disco Elysium; entry by x
Western Animation (feature films not included)
Castlevania; entry by x
Courage the Cowardly Dog; entry by x
Adventure Time; entry by x
Steven Universe; entry by x
She-Ra and The Princesses of Power; entry by x
Amphibia; entry by x
Gravity Falls; entry by x
The Owl House; entry by x
DC Animated Universe; entry by x
The Avatarverse
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender; entry by x
  • The Legend of Korra; entry by x
The Venture Brothers; entry by x
« Last Edit: January 06, 2023, 11:41:20 PM by Agrippa »

Offline Agrippa

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 183
  • I'm not quite sure what to say.
    • View Profile
Re: Sorting fantasy works by subgenres.
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2023, 11:46:20 PM »
I just added links to works that might be more obscure here, added creator credits to works with a clear creator and included tags for links to future example entries. If anyone else finds this thread interesting, please say so.