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From Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms

Fantasy fiction

  • Fiction in which magic and extraordinary characters are integral to the story.
  • URI(s)

  • Instance Of

  • Scheme Membership(s)

  • Collection Membership(s)

  • Form

    • Fantasy fiction
  • Variants

    • us: Fantastic fiction
    • us: Heroic fantasy fiction
  • Broader Terms

  • Sources

    • found: Saricks, J. Readers' advisory guide to genre fiction, 2009: pp. 265-267 (Fantasy: Fantasy exists in a world that most people believe never could be, while Science Fiction worlds are those we accept as possible, even if improbable. Science Fiction generally offers something radically new and different, but Fantasy frequently takes a familiar story, legend, or myth and adds a twist, a new way of looking at things that brings it to life again. The key to Fantasy, however, is the presence of magic. If there is no magic, the story may fit in the Horror, Science Fiction, Romance, Historical Fiction, or Adventure genres. When magic is integral to the story, it must be Fantasy. The presence of magic or enchantment is the element that most clearly distinguishes Fantasy from other genres. Magic may manifest itself in the existence of a magical sword or magical powers; there may be creatures that readers know can exist in none but a magical world; or there may be a feeling of otherness, a sense of enchantment that grows throughout the story)
    • found: Wheeler, K. Literary terms and definitions, via WWW, Jan. 3, 2013 (fantasy novel: Any novel that is removed from reality--especially those novels set in nonexistent worlds, such as an elvish kingdom, on the moon, in Pellucidar (the hollow center of the earth), or in alternative versions of the historical world--such as a version of London where vampires or sorcerers have seized control of parliament. The characters are often something other than humans, or human characters may interact with nonhuman characters such as trolls, dragons, munchkins, kelpies, etc. Examples include J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, Ursula LeGuin's A Wizard of Earthsea, Michael Moorcock's The Dreaming City, or T. H. White's The Once and Future King)
    • found: Manlove, C. Modern fantasy, 1975: p. 1 (a fantasy is: a fiction evoking wonder and containing a substantial and irreducible element of the supernatural with which the mortal characters in the story or the readers become on at least partly familiar terms) p. 7 (wonder is of course generated by fantasy purely from the presence of the supernatural or impossible, and from the element of mystery and lack of explanation that goes with it. The science fiction writer throws a rope of the conceivable (how remotely so does not matter) from our world to his: the fantasy writer does not) p. 8 (Fantasy often draws spiritual nourishment from the past, particularly from a medieval and/or Christian world order; whereas science fiction is usually concerned with the future and the way we may develop) p. 9 (the supernatural or impossible in fantasy is not simply strange and wonderful; the reader becomes partially familiar with or at home in the marvellous worlds presented, and the mortal characters establish relationships with beings or objects from the 'beyond'; it is this, more than anything else, that distinguishes fantasy from the ghost and horror story. In the latter the supernatural is left entirely alien, for the point is the shock)
    • found: Ruse, C. The Cassell dict. of lit. and lang., 1992 (Fantasy: any piece of writing that extends the imagination beyond what seems possible; often inventing imaginary worlds set in the past and future)
    • found: GSAFD, 2000 (Fantasy fiction. Use for works that feature imaginary worlds, extraordinary creatures, sorcerers, epic quests or magic)
    • found: LCSH, Oct. 22, 2014 (Fantasy fiction. UF Fantastic fiction; Heroic fantasy (Fiction))
  • General Notes

    • Fiction in which magic and extraordinary characters are integral to the story.
  • Change Notes

    • 2014-12-01: new
    • 2015-12-15: revised
  • Alternate Formats