I must admit and say that since I started my blog I thought about approaching interesting people for guest blog posts. I never put this idea into practice because I didn’t believe that interesting people would want to be part of my ‘simple blog’. However, I was greatly surprised when Scott McGowan contact me on Twitter and offered a guest blog post. He chose the topic and sent me his article and I must say that it is amazing. Scott McGowan is an author from Scotland and he is known for his amazing work such as ”The Guild Rally, Curse of the Anti-Santa; Short Stories & Allegories and the four book Bjorn Trilogy.” (***his twitter description***). You can also find him on his blog at:
Please see below the amazing article that he chose for my blog:
Fantasy Genres: Traditional, Epic and Urban.
Before I begin…
I don’t like to label subgenres all too often. I find that, if you do, then you are placing the work into a box that it can be hard to diversify from.
Saying that, many people, when you ask them, will not think of the fantasy genre of being as diverse as it actually is but in actual fact there are many different subgenres and those subgenres have subs of their own (I won’t get into the strange subset that is fan-fiction. That is a whole blog of its own.). It has also come about in recent years that different subgenres are also being melded together in order to create something new entirely.
Fantasy, too, does not just rely on the magical and fantastical. It has been shown many times that inside a fantasy novel or comic (graphic novel) there are elements of thrillers, murder mysteries, comedies and horrors. Nothing in the literary world is ill-equipped for insertion into the fantasy.
In this blog, I will mainly stick to three main subgenres: Traditional, Epic and Urban. Please feel free, after you have read this, to check out some of the others that are out there. There are some real crackers.
A Little Explanation:
Firstly, what exactly are these three genres? Well, as I see it, Traditional Fantasy is that which bears faeries, monsters and magic. This is a very simplified account but essentially, that is it. Hans Christian Anderson, the Brothers Grimm, the tales that your grandparents tucked you in to bed at night with, they were the Traditionalists.
When talking about Epic Fantasy, you need look no further than JRR Tolkien himself. He, along with CS Lewis and Lewis Carroll were instrumental in bringing back the age-old genre that used to be so abundant in the old myths and legends. Even Douglas Adams and Sir Terry Pratchett carried this tradition on in their visionary works. Tales of warriors making a long and perilous journey to conquer some land or kill a dragon. Heroes and things for them to fight.
Thirdly, Urban Fantasy has become, through the incredible love found by its readers, the most popular of this age. It began with comics which became graphic novels. Books were written and tv shows made. Movies were also produced to a large scale and from there all manner of work were created.
Essentially, to be Urban Fantasy a story need only have its basis in the city and the life of that city and usually has some hero with supernatural (super) powers. Whether it be in present time, the past or even the future, does not matter. Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster (Superman); Kim Harrison (Rachel Morgan series); and, I believe, Neil Gaiman (American Gods series) are all Urban Fantasy.
While I’m on the subject of Neil Gaiman, I would suggest that if anyone hasn’t read ‘Good Omens’ by Neil, himself and Sir Terry Pratchett, they should go out and buy it now. It is one of the best urban apocalypse fantasy novels out there.
So which to choose?
As a Traditional/Epic Fantasy writer, I am predisposed to say that mine is the best but, as it happens, I have no favourite at all. It is true that I enjoy reading Pratchett, Gaiman and Adams more than most but I still have a fondness for most of the other subgenres that are so wonderfully imagined.
Outwith my own subgenre, I am also a big fan of Marvel and DC graphic novels; of the television show, ‘Supernatural’; and I have huge adoration for anything that Joss Whedon comes up with and the more times he casts Alan Tudyk, the better. I have also recently purchased a book on Japanese folk tales which will make good reading.
All in all, there is more out there than can ever be seen… wait, that’s a line from ‘Lion King’. Darned Netfix! Anyway, the point stands. With so much variety in the Fantasy genre, arguing about which is the best, is inconsequential. They will continue to blend and more wonderful ideas and creations will continue to appear in our online bookshelves as well as our traditional bookshelves. Stephen Fry once said that, “Paperbacks are no more threatened by ebooks than stairs are by elevators.” The same can be said thus; Traditional and Epic Fantasy are in no way threatened by the popularity of the Urban offerings. They are all cogs in the same machine and they should all be admired on their own merit and not pushed away for any other reason. If even one person finds that moment of escape from a story then the author has succeeded, whatever the genre/subgenre may be.
Read the stories that you enjoy and welcome the multiplicity that is twisted, reshaped and reformed into new and yet untold tales. We have not written everything that there is to write; we have not read all that there is to read. Love Books. Diversify
I would like to thank Scott for his work and dedication. I respect and admire authors so much since because of their work I get to ‘live a thousand lives’ full of adventures.
Thanks for reading lovelies!