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DragonMaci

Fantasy Without Magic

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Early this year I started an interesting thread called Magic in Fantasy where I asked if it was OK to include magic in fantasy. Now I want to ask three similar question. They are:

1. Do you think the fantasy genre would work without magic?

2. Would a story with many of the lemeents of fantasy, usch as a medieval setting, without magic even be a fantasy story?

3. If it would not be a fantasy story then what genre would it fall into?

Edited by DragonMaci

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Early this year I started an interesting thread called Magic in Fantasy where I asked if it was OK to include magic in fantasy. Now I want to ask three similar question. They are:

1. Do you think the fantasy genre would work without magic?

2. Would a story with many of the lemeents of fantasy, usch as a medieval setting, without magic even be a fantasy story?

3. If it would not be a fantasy story then what genre would it fall into?

Historical fiction, maybe?

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Its has been done, though no titles or authors spring to mind, but if they do so I will let you know. I think its called "Historical fiction" or something like that. It seems to sell well enough, though the few instances of it I have read years ago were not what I would call good.

Historical fantasy however is usually set in specific time period such as the Middle Ages or some such thing, and might contain a few elements of the impossible such as magic (but not if it was what is in question here of course) or perhaps a mythical being or two.

But to be fantasy as most would define it would involve magic, or something that bends the rules of reality as we know by including the fantastical, such as magic or science fiction type things like warp drives. Without magic, or something as fanciful, in what way could it be said to be fantasy?

I think that it could work, you could tell a good historical fiction story, or maybe historicial fantasy story without magic. Magic is but one device one could use in order to help make their point and or make the work more interesting.

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The name "historical fiction" is too broad. It includes books about times before and after medieval times, such as the Renaissance (is that spelt right?). I want a name less broad, something that is specifically set in medieval times. Also, historical presupposes it is set on Earth. I am talking on a fictional world, it which case it is not historical, it is merely based on history.

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Opss, I thought I had gone back and corrected that, clearly not. If I think of anything else I will let you know, but I do not see any issues with that one, so you will have to put up with it :-P.

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Opss, I thought I had gone back and corrected that, clearly not. If I think of anything else I will let you know, but I do not see any issues with that one, so you will have to put up with it :-P.

I suppose I can put up with it, since it is accurate and I agree with it. But I do so grudgingly. :lol:

Edited by DragonMaci

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1. Do you think the fantasy genre would work without magic?

2. Would a story with many of the lemeents of fantasy, usch as a medieval setting, without magic even be a fantasy story?

3. If it would not be a fantasy story then what genre would it fall into?

Historical Fantasy is what you are looking for. From Wikipedia:

"Historical fantasy takes two distinct forms. One encompasses stories set in the historical past but with fantasy elements introduced, much as contemporary fantasy is set in the present. The other is set in a created fantasy world that closely parallels our own, with recognisable analogs for countries, historical events or historical personages."

Otherwise, the story would probably fall into the Speculative Fiction genre, which pretty much includes anything and everything that is set in an invented world but precludes magic.

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Historical fantasy however is usually set in specific time period such as the Middle Ages or some such thing, and might contain a few elements of the impossible such as magic (but not if it was what is in question here of course) or perhaps a mythical being or two.

Another option which this reminded me of is the using an actual non-mystical things which can appear mystical early in the book to the reader by also appearing mystical to the medieval minds in the book, which later are revealed for what they are.

Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead, I thought did that pretty well. Also Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court achieved it in a more humorous way.

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Historical Fantasy is what you are looking for. From Wikipedia:

"Historical fantasy takes two distinct forms. One encompasses stories set in the historical past but with fantasy elements introduced, much as contemporary fantasy is set in the present. The other is set in a created fantasy world that closely parallels our own, with recognisable analogs for countries, historical events or historical personages."

I think I will stick with medieval fiction, as it is a more accurate term. If Wikipedia is right that historical fiction means that then it is a misuse of the word "historical," so I am not going to use the term historical fiction.

Otherwise, the story would probably fall into the Speculative Fiction genre, which pretty much includes anything and everything that is set in an invented world but precludes magic.

Again, too broad a term for my liking.

or perhaps a mythical being or two.

Well, smaller dragons than I use, ones small enough that they could fly and exist without the use of magic, would meet that criteria.

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I think historical fantasy fits, if one is BASING it on an historical period, however if its not very closely based upon such...well maybe not.

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I think historical fantasy fits, if one is BASING it on an historical period, however if its not very closely based upon such...well maybe not.

Yeah, but can you imagine me doing it without at least the smaller dragons I mentioned? :P

ADDITION: Those dragons would make it not historical fiction I think.

Edited by DragonMaci

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I think I will stick with medieval fiction, as it is a more accurate term. If Wikipedia is right that historical fiction means that then it is a misuse of the word "historical," so I am not going to use the term historical fiction.

Um. If you consider the term "historical" to be inaccurate, then would not the term "medieval" be equally inaccurate, and for the exact same reasons? Besides, the term is "Historical Fantasy" -- as in, a fantasy set in the historical past, or a location analogous to the historical past. The term "medieval" on the other hand refer strictly to the middle ages, or something in the style of middle ages -- a very particular time period. So if the setting of your story is say, the height of the Roman Empire or antiquity Greece (or an analogous world), the term would not apply. In the context of your question and with no knowledge about the story you have in mind, the term Historical Fantasy is actually far more accurate and versatile.

But, then, literary classification is all very much arbitrary, so go ahead and call the genre what you want. If your material is sufficiently original, you can even invent your own genre. William Gibson for example invented the entire sub-genre of Cyber Punk, which remains one of the most popular and influencial genre within Science Fiction.

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Well in any case, Moebius makes a very good point, in that if historical is inaccurate, so is medieval. So what else would that leave you with?

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Well in any case, Moebius makes a very good point, in that if historical is inaccurate, so is medieval. So what else would that leave you with?

Since I am talking exclusively of stories set in a medieval setting, it is not inaccurate.

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Which would be a specific HISTORICAL time period ON EARTH, but you claim "historical" is not what you are talking about..so how then is medieval any better ? You have yet to explain this.

Note, medieval isnt a style, or such it is TIME PERIOD.

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I do not believe historical or medieval failed, so no I dont think that "we" do. All I wanted you to see was that if you believe one is flawed, then you should believe both are. It would seem that has been achieved finally :P .

Now, if you can find some other term that fits, let me know...but I don't think that you will...

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Yes, ever the joker you are :-P.

Can I ask whether you started this thread merely out of curiosity or whether you actually intend to write something like this, or even if you are just considering maybe doing it. Though knowing you, the last two don't seem that likely.

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