The fantasy genre has always been one of my favorites. I read J.R.R. Tolkien as a child and was instantly transported into the world of hobbits, wizards, dragons and kings. I longed to be an elven princess, fighting the dark forces of Mordor at Aragorn’s side.
I delved into the fantastical stories of Andre Norton, then discovered Mercedes Lackey and her equine Companions. David Eddings’ Belgariad was on the top of my reading list for a while, and then I came across Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. Most recently I read all of George R.R. Martin’s books (long before HBO developed the series Game of Thrones).
Therefore, it was with much excitement that I accepted the position of Managing Editor for Phantasm Books, the fantasy imprint for Assent Publishing.
Today, I’d like to talk about the various subgenres in the realm of fantasy. Dark Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, and Steampunk are just a few that I’ll mention.
The Dark Fantasy genre was well described by Charles L. Grant, who said it was “a type of horror story in which humanity is threatened by forces beyond human understanding.” I don’t mean to say that this genre is primarily based on horror, with the blatant intent to scare the readers; rather, the stories themselves are often dark, twisted and foreboding. Some of the characters may originate from the darker sides of life, with the subsequent emotional and psychological stresses that go hand in hand with such a past.
Stories of supernatural horror fall under this genre, such as Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles: stories told from the perspective of the supernatural beings themselves.
Urban Fantasy is normally set in a city, and oftentimes has a strong female protagonist. We see the main character develop a partnership with another protagonist, and a romantic element might then be introduced. The fantasy theme is woven throughout the story by the many alien, mythological and paranormal characters that abound.
Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series is a good example of this subgenre. The long running television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer was an urban fantasy favorite of mine.
The Steampunk genre is a relatively recent addition. These stories are usually set in the Victorian Ages, during the advent of the Industrial Revolution, but can also be set in the world of the Post-Apocalypse. They are characterized by fanciful technological creations and futuristic inventions. Elements of science fiction and alternate history can also be found throughout these stories. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are two of Steampunk’s greatest influences.
Phantasm Books is currently accepting submissions. If you are an author or writer with a polished creative book, we’d love to peer into your world. Please read our submissions guidelines for details.
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