- Contemporary fantasy
- Fantastic art
- Fantasy anime
- Fantasy art
- Fantasy artists
- Fantasy authors
- Fantasy comics
- Fantasy fiction magazine
- Fantasy films
- Fantasy literature
- Fantasy television
- Fantasy webcomics
- History of fantasy
- Fantasy tropes
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- Legendary creatures
- Religious themes
- Fantasy awards
- Fantasy subgenres
- Fantasy television
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Definition and overview
These terms are used to describe stories set in the putative real world (often referred to as consensus reality) in contemporary times, in which magic and magical creatures exist, either living in the interstices of our world or leaking over from alternate worlds. It thus has much in common with, and sometimes overlaps with secret history; a work of fantasy in which the magic could not remain secret or does not have any known relationship to known history would not fit into this subgenre. Occasionally certain contemporary fantasy novels will make reference to pop culture.
Novels in which modern characters travel into alternate worlds, and all the magical action takes place there (except for the portal required to transport them), are thus not considered contemporary fantasy.
Contemporary fantasy is also to be distinguished from horror fiction, which also often has contemporary settings. When encountering magical events and creatures, the protagonist of a horror novel is horrified, while the protagonist of a fantasy novel (contemporary or otherwise) is filled with a sense of joy and wonder. Horrifying events may happen, but the fundamental distinction is vital.
Contemporary fantasies often concern places dear to their authors, are full of local color and atmosphere, and attempt to lend a sense of magic to those places, particularly when the subgenre overlaps with mythic fiction.
When the story takes place in a city, the work is often called urban fantasy.
The contemporary fantasy and low fantasy genres can overlap as both are defined as being set in the real world. There are differences, however. Low fantasies are set in the real world but necessarily not in modern age, in which case they would not be contemporary fantasy. Contemporary fantasies are set in the real world but may also include distinct fantasy settings within it, such as the Harry Potter series, in which case they would be high rather than low fantasy.
Early 20th century
- Charles Williams. An early innovator of theology-oriented contemporary fantasy.
- C.S.Lewis, That Hideous Strength
Later 20th and early 21st century
- The Young Wizards series by Diane Duane - the protagonists live in Manhattan, New York, but each book in the series has a different setting; settings include various planets within and outside of the Solar System and various alternate universes.
- Virtually the entire oeuvre of Charles de Lint
- Most of the novels of Tim Powers
- Various works by Mercedes Lackey.
- Various works by Tanya Huff.
- J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series - set in the United Kingdom in the late 1980s and 1990s.
- Sergei Lukyanenko's Night Watch, set in Moscow. It has three sequels that form a tetralogy; Day Watch, Twilight Watch and Final Watch.
- Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy - The trilogy takes place across several universes including "ours".
- Little, Big and other works by John Crowley
- War for the Oaks by Emma Bull
- The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
- The Word/Void novels by Terry Brooks
- Hannah's Garden by Midori Snyder
- Tithe and a number of other works by Holly Black
- Minions of the Moon by Richard Bowes
- Dangerous Angels and other works by Francesca Lia Block
- Dark Cities Underground by Lisa Goldstein
- King Rat by China Miéville
- The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher
- A number of works by Neil Gaiman, among them American Gods and Neverwhere, set in a secondary world below London with links to the real world.
- Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series
- Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising Sequence
- Peter S. Beagle's A Fine and Private Place and other works by him.
- Josepha Sherman's Son of Darkness
- Tom Deitz's The David Sullivan series
- Clive Barker's Weaveworld and Imajica
- Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series
- Jenna Black's The Devil Inside, set in the USA with demons.
- Natasha Mostert's The Other Side of Silence and Season of the Witch
- Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay mostly set in 21st century Aix-en-Provence
- Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, set in 21st century United States
- P.N. Elrod's Vampire Files series following Jack Fleming a vampire P.I.
- Freda Warrington's Aetherial Tales series
- James Hetley's Dragon's Teeth and Dragon's Eye
- Richelle Mead's Georgina Kincaid series (Succubus Blues, Succubus on Top, Succubus Dreams, Succubus Heat, Succubus Shadows, Succubus Revealed)
Overlap with other genres
Contemporary fantasy can also be found marketed as mainstream or literary fiction and frequently marketed as magical realism, itself arguably a fantasy genre. Example include Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich, and Mistress of Spices by Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni.
In other media
Type-Moon's Fate Stay Night is in Fuyuki City, certain families have magical circuits in their blood, and can cast spells among other abilities, while Takahiro Yamato's Kaze no Stigma is set in modern Japan and center around a young man with powers to control wind.
The Mighty Thor of Marvel Comics can also be considered to belong to this sub-genre, depicting a god of Norse mythology sharing his life between 20th Century New York City and the legendary Asgard. The same can be said of Hellboy.
- List of genres
- Martin Horstkotte, The postmodern fantastic in contemporary British fiction. WVT, Trier 2004, ISBN 3-88476-679-1
- Lance Olsen, Ellipse of uncertainty : an introduction to postmodern fantasy. Greenwood Press, Westport 1987, ISBN 0-313-25511-3
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