Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What Makes Fantasy?

I've been thinking about the question of what makes fantasy, fantasy? How do we define the genre?

I know there are some things that immediately mark a text as fantasy. Talking animals would be one good example of that. Or fairy godmothers, that sort of thing. But what else goes into shaping the genre? Earthsea is, but is it more because of the magic, or because of the otherworld setting? (Oh yeah, there's another marker or two.)

It is interesting to contemplate what goes into formulating a genre, and what marks it for us so that we can say to a friend, "I've been reading this great fantasy book..."

(These thoughts came up when a friend and I were discussing whether or not Jasper Fforde's work should be labeled fantasy.)

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