Contemporary Fantasy?

Today, I’ve been thinking about genres. I’ve been around a discussion about using traditionally fantasy elements within a modern day real world setting – which is almost exactly what I’m doing. The only (not particularly minor) exception is that my stories don’t take place in the real world.

The setting I use is in many ways similar to the real world of today. Apart from the fantasy elements the main difference is that it’s got a different history and a different geography.

What would I call that? What genre is it?

According to wikipedia Contemporary Fantasy is fantasy taking place in the modern day real world. It’s the closest term I’m aware of at the moment. Unfortunately, the different geography and history are pretty big factors when it comes to the overall feel and atmosphere of the stories. They do not much matter for the actual plot, and the stories could just as well take place in the real world. The events in them wouldn’t be any different.

Still, it wouldn’t be the same…

I have no interest in trying to portray a fantasy version of the real world – and I’m not trying to. Part of the wonder comes from it being an entirely new world to explore and discover.

So what’s the genre? I don’t know. Genre is more than setting isn’t it? It’s reader expectations and tropes and pacing and subject matter as well, isn’t it? That kind of opens up for a whole lot of interpretations.

I’m thinking the setting could be described as Contemporary Alternate Reality Fantasy, but that’s quite a mouthful. I’m still quite a way from hitting the market though, so coming up with a name doesn’t feel super urgent.

For now, Fantasy will have to do.

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Contemporary Fantasy?

2 thoughts on “Contemporary Fantasy?

  1. jonbestauthor says:

    I find genres are always a hard one to pin down, trying to fit your diverse creation into a one or two worded box. When it comes to cross genres I think its counterproductive to find a name that fits everything – as you said it just becomes a mouthful. I guess its open to interpretation just how ‘fantasy’ or ‘alternate reality’ or ‘world builder’ it is. It might be easier to ask a reader, and If they felt that the magic elements made it a feel like a fantasy, etc, then that’s what it is.

    1. This is a good point. I’ll probably stick with not worrying too much about the genre name/definition for now and then just ask my beta readers how they think about it. Thanks for the comment. :)

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