The 5 Popular Subgenres of Fantasy Fiction

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Fantasy fiction is counted among the the most read genres and if you are thinking of writing a fantasy novel you must should know the popular subgenres of fantasy before start writing your first fantasy fiction.

Now lets understand the basic of fantasy before proceeding to its subgenres-

What is Fantasy Fiction?

Fantasy fiction is the genre that showcases imaginary magical worlds containing elements of magic and supernatural stuff. The stories of this genre are often inspired by mythology and folklore.

Fantasy fiction is also regarded as one of the best genres in allowing the writers to take their writing creativity to limitless boundaries where the writer’s imagination can bring anything into the story and no real-world logic is required in creating anything as we do in science fiction and some other genres.

Fantasy fiction is also speculative like science fiction and often contains characters like:

  • Wizards
  • Witches
  • Trolls
  • Fairies
  • Elves
  • Angels
  • Dragons
  • Dwarves
  • Giants
  • Goblins, etc

Now lets explore the popular fantasy fiction subgenres along with the popular examples of the subgenres.

6 Popular Sub-Genres of Fantasy Fiction

#1 Epic or High fantasy


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  • Novels of the epic or hard fantasy are set in a fictional world with their own sets of rules and physical laws showcasing a single hero-driven plot with an epic story.

Examples of Epic fantasy-

  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R Tolkien
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guni
  • A Game of Thrones by G R. R. Martin
  • The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R Tolkien
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

#2 Low Fantasy


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  • The story of low fantasy is set in the real world with some magical elements and events included.

Examples of Low Fantasy-

  • American Gods by Neil Geiman
  • Good Omens by Neil Geiman
  • Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • When Light Left Us by Leah Thomas
  • Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
  • A Single Stone by Meg Mckinlay

#3 Dark fantasy


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  • This subgenre contains a blend of fantasy and horror following a dark story tone.

Examples of Dark Fantasy-

  • Coraline by Neil Geiman
  • The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
  • The Dark Tower by Stephen King
  • The Black Company by Glen Cook
  • Creatures of Want and Ruin by Molly Tanzer

#4 Sword and Sorcery


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  • The story plot follows a sword-wielding hero or character engaging himself in great adventures along with elements of magic and witchcraft.

Examples of Swords and Sorcery-

  • The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard
  • The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp
  • The Ladies of Mandrigyn by Barbara Hambly
  • The Sunset Warrior by Eric Van Lustbader
  • A Discourse in Steel by Paul S. Kemp

#5 Magical realism


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  • Magical realism crosses over low fantasy. The plot follows a location setting in the real world with magical elements included, showcasing ordinary people comfortable with an extraordinary life.

Examples of Magical realism-

  • Midnight Children by Salman Rushdie
  • The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Get in Trouble by Kelly Link
  • Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Neel Rana

About the Author- Neel Rana is a successful short story book author, flash fiction writer, literary enthusiast, entrepreneur and the founder of Pandora Post. Neel holds a degree in BA Honours in English Literature and has been writing since 2017. You can read more about him here