29 January 2014

Tackling the Genres #1: Fantasy

Before I started reading as much as I do know, I had no idea what the different genres meant - of course I had an idea about it, but I basically thought that there was nonfiction and fiction, and that was that. But I was totally wrong, there are so many genres and genres under those genres. To this day, I still have yet to know every genre, some genres makes absolutely no sense to me. But I really want to branch out and read different books, I love fantasy, but there are different kinds of fantasy - and that goes for most of the genres.

Therefore I had an idea, what if I made a mini-series that was all about genres? And then talk about the different genres under that genre - and make some recommendations. It will help me become better at judging books and maybe choosing the "right one". And maybe it will help you find some new genres you really want to read. Either way, it will help in some way.

Fantasy is actually one of my favorite genres, I do not read it that often, because it is a "demanding" genre - especially high fantasy. But still, almost every book I read in the fantasy genre quickly becomes one of my favorites. For example the Mistborn trilogy, I just finished the first one recently, and it was absolutely amazing! Harry Potter is another fantasy series that I love! I think magic is wonderful!

But what is fantasy? Fantasy is a genre where magic and supernatural elements is commonly used. This genre is all-about make believe. The setting is for the most unrealistic and imaginary. Something magical is almost always part of the book either as setting or plot, sometimes magic is practised by the characters in said book. Fantasy is often characterized by a departure from the accepted rules by which individuals perceive the world around them; it represents that which is impossible (unexplained) and outside the parameters of our known, reality.

Epic and high fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy. It is normally defined either by taking place in an imaginary world distinct from our own or by the epic stature of its characters, themes and plot. 
The Lord of The Rings is a perfect example of a high fantasy series, that have both of these attributes. 

High fantasy is also defined as fantasy fiction High fantasy is defined as fantasy fiction set in an alternative, entirely fictional ("secondary") world, rather than the real, or "primary" world

Some typical characteristics of high fantasy include fantastical elements such as elves, fairies, dwarves, wizards, dragons etc. 

High fantasy actually has 3 subtypes
  1. A setting in which the primary world does not exist.  For the most part, maps of the world, geography and history of the fictional world will be provided. (for example The Lord of The Rings and Mistborn)
  2. The secondary/parallel world is entered through a portal from the primary world. (for example Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Chronicles or Narnia and The Dark Tower)
  3. A distinct world-within-a-world as part of the primary world.  In these types of books, the people in the primary world, does not know about the secondary world.(for example Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel)

Low fantasy is, as opposed to high fantasy, set in the real world.

Also called "modern fantasy"
The best definition of urban fantasy I've been able to find is: The definition of urban fantasy comes down to this: contemporary tales that borrow story-telling elements from mystery, horror, humour, romance, and fantasy, especially fantasy creatures and/or magic, with the setting often forming an integral part of the story, but not necessarily taking place in an urban area. Source

I know that there is a bunch of other sub-genres for fantasy, for example contemporary fantasy, medieval fantasy and historical fantasy. But I just feel like some of them are hard to define. If you have a definition for any of them, please share them in the comments!
When and if I find definitions, I will add them to this post!

What genre should I tackle next? 

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