There’s a new kid on the block; not so much new as not as yet defined. It’s called Literary Fantasy, but where does it fit in? Does it fit in? Why do we need it?
Well, fantasy has been cruising about for a long time now, and arguably went mainstream with the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, however, since then fantasy has taken on all manner of manifestations and can, sometimes, be almost unrecognizable. Perhaps defining a genre or clarifying what it represents is only needed so as readers can locate something that they feel comfortable with, something that warms their hearts.
So, as a writer, trying to get his/her stories out there and read can be difficult if you write in an obscure genre or you touch on many areas thus not recognised for being anything. It’s a shame that writers get labelled, just as it is a shame that any pastime is recognised for certain elements rather than others, thus projecting incongruities onto people that may or may not be apt. I guess this helps people to place themselves in relation to the rest of the world.
Writers do it all the time when they describe a character. How many times have you read a fantasy novel where travellers pass through a small village and have to see a blacksmith? The blacksmith is a big, burly bloke, usually surrounded by anvils, molten liquid and hammers, right? Well, perhaps that’s not the best example, but bear with me.
So, we’re all part of this cycle of label and read, and it’ll probably gone on as long as we have the written word, so what I’d like to do is introduce you to new type of fantasy – it’s fantasy for the poets, for the literary, the dreamers. It is fantasy that weaves a story about fantastical things, in urban cultures, or faraway lands, but it’s not necessarily meant for the young adult or the adult, it’s meant for the dreamer, the person who will always remain a little kid at heart. The one that steals out the back door, grabs her tomahawk axe, which just fits in the backpack, jumps the fence, crosses the oval and heads for he hills.
We’ve all been there, but some of us are still there and always will be. Literary Fantasy is about weaving a story in a fashion that touches the soul and joins that little kid with the outside world forever. It must be defined because Literary Fantasy isn’t necessarily Urban Fantasy, which seems to have been relegated to describing vampires in our cities. It’s not traditional fantasy, that which is best defined by The Belgariad by David Eddings, and it’s not YA fantasy (hardly a genre but has nonetheless carved its own little niche).
If you are the type of person that enjoys Literary Fiction, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, adventure and even some romance, then you might very well be the kind of person who will enjoy Sister Earth by Robby Lyon. This first book in the series (The Saudari Chronicles) can most aptly be described as Literary Fantasy that touches on urban adventure, sci-fi, fantasy and urban-fantasy. There are touches of alternative history and mythology that help define the elements in the story and imbue a fantastical yet completely possible plot.