Worlds of Fantasy

"We are dreamers, shapers, singers, and makers."

-- Elric the Technomage, from Babylon 5

"Dreamers, shapers, singers, makers" -- the best description there is of good fantasy authors. There aren't many limits to human imagination. And if somebody can imagine it, sooner or later somebody is going to write a story about it.

Classifying fantasy is even harder than classifying science fiction. Fantasy ranges from the deep past to the far future, into all sorts of possible worlds. Some are a lot like ours; some are very different. Some are pleasant, while others are extremely nasty. Some are just for fun, and others provide serious thinking material.

One type of fantasy that everyone's heard of is epic fantasy.

I consider mythology to be a type of fantasy, so my mythology and folktale books live among my fantasy collection.

Light fantasy (or as I call it, "mind candy") is what I reach for when I just want something fun to read, something that I don't have to think about.

Then there's deliberately comic fantasy, which is a breed all its own,

Swords and sorcery is another type of fantasy that almost everyone is familiar with, even if they don't recognize the term.

Historical fantasy is fantasy set in some particular historical period.

As with SF, there are fantasy media tie-ins. I have a couple of fantasy movie novelizations, a couple of "Making of" type books, and half a dozen books based on Highlander.

Dark fantasy is a type of fantasy that uses fantastic elements to tell a story about the darker aspects of humanity.

And as always in any genre, there are some books that don't quite fit any of the categories.