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Realms of Fantasy. By John M. Busch. Fantasy. Unlike science fiction, fantasy deals with that which is not possible. Fantasy tends to focus on inhabitants of another world which is not bound by the rules of physics that govern our “reality.”. Subgenres.

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Realms of fantasy l.jpg

Realms of Fantasy

By

John M. Busch


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Fantasy

  • Unlike science fiction, fantasy deals with that which is not possible.

  • Fantasy tends to focus on inhabitants of another world which is not bound by the rules of physics that govern our “reality.”


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Subgenres

  • As with science fiction, fantasy is divided into different categories, from sword and sorcery to historical to wuxia.


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Ancient Myths

  • Obviously, the fantasy genre dates back to the time of the ancient myths. These tales of heroes facing monsters as they go on quests were the archetypes of such stories.


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Medieval Legends

  • Clearly the legends of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Charlemagne, Roland, and Beowulf were strong influences on the genre as well.


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Fairy Tales

  • The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson could be viewed as predecessors of the modern fantasy novel.


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L. Frank Baum

  • Baum is famous for creating the world of Oz in fourteen novels from 1900-1920.

  • Ruth Plumly Thompson then continued the series, adding eighteen more titles to the run.


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Robert E. Howard

  • Getting his start in 1928 by writing in pulp magazines, Howard became well known for his tales of heroes such as Conan, Kull, and Solomon Kane.

  • Unfortunately, he committed suicide eight years later.


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Clark Ashton Smith

  • A contemporary of Howard and H. P. Lovecraft, Smith gathered acclaim through his contributions to Weird Tales and other pulp magazines.

  • The three authors became good friends, and actually shared the same literary “world.”


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J. R. R. Tolkien

  • Earning his living as a professor of medieval literature, Tolkien used his expertise to create the classics, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

  • In his trilogy, he actually created the Elvish language which is thoroughly described in the appendices.


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C. S. Lewis

  • A friend and colleague of Tolkien, Lewis created his own fantasy world in the seven books of Narnia.

  • His novels have a much more allegorical slant than those of his friends.


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Ursula K. LeGuin

  • Also well regarded for her works in science fiction, LeGuin is noted for her Earthsea novels that fall under the fantasy genre.


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Piers Anthony

  • Another writer who has dabbled in science fiction, Anthony claim to fame certainly rests with his Xanth series, in which he makes use of his sharp wit to present typical fantasy situations in a highly comic fashion.

  • His Incarnations of Immortality series presented a more serious study of the nature of God, the devil, nature, time, war, fate and death.


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Lloyd Alexander

  • Delving into children’s fantasy, Alexander created The Chronicles of Prydain, which include The Black Cauldron. These are based loosely on Welsh legends.


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Michael Moorcock

  • Moorcock created a series of books focusing on his Eternal Champion, a hero who has multiple identities in various realities.

  • The most famous incarnation of this protagonist is Elric, the sickly albino who strives to fight evil.


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Terry Pratchett

  • Pratchett has a “Monty Python” sensibility toward the fantasy genre as he develops the adventures that take place on Discworld, a flat planet that rides on the backs of four elephants that likewise are on the back a giant cosmic turtle.


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J. K. Rowling

  • Allegedly, Rowling had difficulty in making a living until she published Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in 1997. Since then she has become the second richest female entertainer in the world according to Forbes.


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Terry Goodkind

  • Currently ten novels and one novella make up Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. Although each of these is self-contained in itself, Goodkind connects them all through the continuing development and interactions of a vast array of characters.


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Terry Brooks

  • In 1977, Brooks began his famous series by publishing The Sword of Shannara, a fantasy novel that is set after the fall of mankind in the future.


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Stephen R. Donaldson

  • His chief protagonist in his Wounded Land series is Thomas Covenant, an unsympathetic leper who serves as the series anti-hero. In this way, he turns the conventions of the fantasy novel on their head.


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