What is Fantasy?

I was listening in on a conversation the other day (six months ago) and one person made a comment that they were reading Neil Gaiman’s, Stardust. If you haven’t read, I highly suggest. If you don’t think you’ll get to it, check out the 2007 film of the same name. The other person responded, “Oh, I love science fiction too.”

That’s really what got my attention. As far as I knew Neil Gaiman wrote fantasy novels. Since then, my ears have been open and have on at least two other times heard a similar statement confusing science fiction and fantasy, or lumping the two into a single category.

So, with a little research (Thanks Masterclass.com blog) I was able to find the sub-genre’s of fantasy novels. But, to first distinguish fantasy and science fiction from theirselves entirely I will first list the 14 genres of literature.

  • Literary Fiction
  • Mystery
  • Thriller
  • Horror
  • Historical
  • Romance
  • Western
  • Bilsdugsroman
  • Speculative fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Dystopian
  • Science Fiction
  • Magical Realism
  • Realist Literature

While some of geners above can be sub-genres of another such as Magical Realism and Fantasy, these genres are also unto themselves, Fantasy and Science fiction being seperate.

The fantasy genre is not a result of reality or scientific fact. Fantasy is a genre with hundreds of sub-genres. And since fantasy is a pure product of the imagination the list of sub-genre’s continues to grow. At it’s core fantasy novels include either magical elements or the supernatural. Science fiction may be fiction, but is focused on a fundamental of science.

Again, shouting out to Masterclass, here is a list of essential fantasy sub-genres. To read more on each one you can go to this link.

  • High or epic fantasy
  • low fantasy
  • Magical realism
  • Sword and Sorcery
  • Dark fantasy
  • Fables
  • Fairy tales
  • Superhero

The sub-genre list of fantasy is huge. I’ve come across a couple lists that have dozens of sub-genres and am pretty sure I saw a list in the hundreds in a book once.

So, the next time someone tells you fantasy and science fiction are the same, you can either be “that guy” and correct them, or gently hold your secret in your pocket like you would marbles, chewed bubble gum, and love letters you never quite had the courage to give to your secret crush.

About me

I am a fantasy writer who spends much of my daydreaming up worlds of nefarious dragons. I would love if you take the time to read my novels which you can find below. I love reviews, so please take a moment to leave a review. 


Fall of the Drjeen
Birth of the Drajeen

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