Fantasy as a Genre

Fantasy is defined by setting and circumstance inside a imaginary universe with an unrealistic set of natural laws.

The genre usually adheres to general human psychology and societal behaviour while incorporating non-scientific concepts like magic, mythical creatures, and supernatural elements. Stories are set in a fictional world, often outside of earth or at a time when magical beings roamed the earth or Middle Earth.

The stories are frequently inspired by or incorporate human myths and  feature magic, talking creatures, swords, and knights. They often involve the traditional hero’s journey.



Bangsian means “In the style of John Kendrick Bangs, where the plot is set at least in part in the afterlife.” Narratives pivot around characters in the afterlife, and often include religious experiences from a character’s perspective. These characters are frequently well-known historical or literary figures.

What Dreams May Come



Contemporary fantasy proposes an alternative reality with a supernatural narrative set anywhere in the present day real world. (It includes Urban Fantasy which specifically takes place in an urban setting.)

Harry Potter



Dark fantasy is set in a hostile world. Stories are dark, gloomy and often have frightening supernatural elements.

Solomon Kane



 These stories are based on traditional folklore, usually (European and) told in the form of a short story that has been adapted for the screen.




Also referred to as Epic Fantasy, it is operatic in scale, and based in fictional mystical settings usually within a medieval time period. The narrative usually includes magical creatures, battles and romance. There is typically a clear distinction between good and evil characters.

The Lord of the Rings



Myths are traditional stories set in a realm somewhere in the distant past. They have no historical basis and typically deal with the early history of a civilization. The narrative explains natural or social phenomena that feature gods, demigods, and supernatural beings or events. The story is often a foundational or origin story.

(The word “myth” is widely used to imply that a story is not objectively true.)

Jason and the Argonauts



As you would expect, these stories focus on swords and magic.  They are action driven, typically with a protagonist looking to overthrow an evil overlord by defeating them in battle.

Conan and the Barbarian



The story always introduces elements of fantasy into an urban environment, be it real or fictional, modern or historical.



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