Bangsian fantasy

Bangsian fantasy is a fantasy genre which concerns the use of famous literary or historical individuals and their interactions in the afterlife. It's named after John Kendrick Bangs who originally created the genre.[1]


According to E. F. Bleiler, in his 1983 Guide to Supernatural Fiction, "Bangs' most noteworthy achievement was a contribution to literary typology: the so-called Bangsian story, in which important literary and historical personalities serve humorously as characters in a slender plot line. Bangs did not invent this subgenre, but his work gave it publicity and literary status."

Bleiler's definition does not take into account that some of Bangs' stories, including the definitive Associated Shades series whose characters reside in Hades, are set in the afterlife. Jess Nevins' 2003 definition (in Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen[2]) says it is "a fantasy of the afterlife in which the ghosts of various famous men and women come together and have various, usually genial, adventures", which closely agrees with Rama Kundu's 2008 definition.[3]

Selected works of Bangsian fantasy

By Bangs

The four Associated Shades books may be considered collections rather than novels. The first three, at least, were first published as serials in Harper's Weekly shortly preceding their publication as books by Harper & Brothers. (Bangs was humor editor for George Harvey's "Harper" magazines from 1889 to 1900.) All were illustrated by Peter Newell.

By others

See also


  1. ^ FantasticFiction > Authors B > John Kendrick Bangs. "John Kendrick Bangs". Retrieved 2006-09-06.
  2. ^ Nevins, Jess (2003), Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, MonkeyBrain Books, p. 179
  3. ^ Kundu, Rama (2008), Intertext: A Study of the Dialogue Between Texts, Sarup & Sons, New Delhi, pp. 142–143
  4. ^ John Clute; John Grant (eds.). The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. p. 84.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-13. Retrieved 2014-08-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links

A House-Boat on the Styx

A House-Boat on the Styx is a fantasy novel written by John Kendrick Bangs in 1895.

The original full title was A House-Boat on the Styx: Being Some Account of the Divers Doings of the Associated Shades. The novel was first published by Harper Brothers in 1896 with illustrations by Peter Newell (24 plates).

A Matter of Life and Death (film)

A Matter of Life and Death is a 1946 British fantasy-romance film set in England during the Second World War. Written, produced and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, the film stars David Niven, Roger Livesey, Raymond Massey, Kim Hunter and Marius Goring.

The film was originally released in the United States under the title Stairway to Heaven, which derived from the film's most prominent special effect: a broad escalator linking Earth to the afterlife. The decision to film the scenes of the Other World in black and white added to the complications. They were filmed in Three-strip Technicolor, but colour was not added during printing, giving a pearly hue to the black and white shots, a process cited in the screen credits as "Colour and Dye-Monochrome Processed in Technicolor". This reversed the effect in The Wizard of Oz. Photographic dissolves between "Technicolor Dye-Monochrome" (the Other World) and Three-Strip Technicolor (Earth) are used several times during the film.

In 1999, A Matter of Life and Death placed 20th on the British Film Institute's list of Best 100 British films. In 2004, a poll by the magazine Total Film of 25 film critics named A Matter of Life and Death the second greatest British film ever made, behind Get Carter. It ranked 90th among critics, and 322nd among directors, in the 2012 Sight & Sound polls of the greatest films ever made.

Associated Shades

The Associated Shades are a group of famous dead people appearing in some of John Kendrick Bangs' works. They are a sort of corporation, which first appears in A House-Boat on the Styx, and are also something of an exclusive club.

Members include:



William Shakespeare

Napoleon Bonaparte

Dr Samuel Johnson

James Boswell

Charles Darwin

George Washington

Walter Raleigh

Clone High

Clone High (occasionally referred to in the U.S. as Clone High U.S.A.) is a Canadian–American adult animated television series created by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Bill Lawrence. The comedy centers on a high school populated by the clones of famous historical figures. The show's central cast includes adolescent depictions of Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Mahatma Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, and Cleopatra. The series also serves as a parody of teen dramas; every episode is introduced as a "very special episode".

Lord and Miller first developed the series' concept while at Dartmouth College in the 1990s, later pitching it to executives at American network Fox Broadcasting Company, who ultimately decided to pass on the program. It was later purchased by cable channel MTV, and was produced between 2002–03. The show's design is heavily stylized and its animation style limited, emphasizing humor and story over visuals. The Clone High theme song was written by Tommy Walter and performed by his alternative rock band Abandoned Pools, who also provided much of the series' background music.

Clone High first aired in its entirety on Canadian cable network Teletoon between 2002 and 2003, later debuting on MTV. It became embroiled in a controversy regarding its depiction of Gandhi soon afterward, which prompted hundreds in India to mount a hunger strike in response. Shortly after, MTV pulled the series, which had been receiving low ratings. Clone High attracted mixed reviews from television critics upon its premiere, but it has since received critical acclaim and a cult following.

Damned (Palahniuk novel)

Damned is a 2011 novel by Chuck Palahniuk. A sequel to the novel, Doomed, was released in 2013.

Dead Celebrities

"Dead Celebrities" is the eighth episode of the thirteenth season of the American animated television series South Park. The 189th overall episode of the series, it originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on October 7, 2009. In the episode, Ike is haunted by the ghosts of dead celebrities until Michael Jackson, who refuses to accept death, possesses him.

The episode was written and directed by series co-creator Trey Parker, and was rated TV-MA L in the United States (specifically for adults, with coarse language). "Dead Celebrities" included references to several actors, singers and famous people who died before or during the summer of 2009, when South Park was on a mid-season hiatus. Among the celebrities featured in the episode were Billy Mays, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze, Walter Cronkite, Dom DeLuise, Ted Kennedy, Natasha Richardson, Bea Arthur, David Carradine, DJ AM, Michael Jackson, Ricardo Montalbán, and Steve McNair. "Dead Celebrities" also parodied the films The Sixth Sense and Poltergeist.

The reality series Ghost Hunters and its stars, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, were mocked in the episode. Hawes and Wilson said they loved the parody and encouraged fans to watch the show on their Twitter accounts. A subplot claimed food at the Chipotle Mexican Grill resulted in customers defecating blood, a claim which was disputed by the restaurant chain within days of the episode's broadcast. "Dead Celebrities" received generally mixed reviews. According to Nielsen ratings, "Dead Celebrities" was seen by 2.67 million overall households.

Escape from Hell (novel)

Escape from Hell is a fantasy novel written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. It is a sequel to Inferno, the 1976 book by the same authors. It was released on February 17, 2009.The novel continues the story of deceased science fiction writer Allen Carpenter (who spelled his name "Carpentier" on his novels) in his quest to help other damned souls in Hell. Like the first book, “Escape from Hell” extensively references Dante's Inferno. Jerry Pournelle, one of the book's co-authors, described the book as "Dante meets Vatican II."

God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian, by Kurt Vonnegut, is a collection of short fictional interviews written by Vonnegut and first broadcast on WNYC. The title parodies that of Vonnegut's 1965 novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. It was published in book form in 1999.

Heroes in Hell

Heroes in Hell is a series of shared world fantasy books, within the genre Bangsian fantasy, created and edited by Janet Morris and written by her, Chris Morris, C. J. Cherryh and others. The first 12 books in the series were published by Baen Books between 1986 and 1989, and stories from the series include one Hugo Award winner and Nebula nominee, ("Gilgamesh in the Outback" by Robert Silverberg from Rebels in Hell), as well as one other Nebula Award nominee. The series was resurrected in 2011 by Janet Morris with the thirteenth book and eighth anthology in the series, Lawyers in Hell, followed by six more anthologies and three novels between 2012 and 2018.

Heroes in Hell (book)

Heroes in Hell is an anthology book and the first volume of its namesake series, created by American writer Janet Morris. The book placed eighth in the annual Locus Poll for Best Anthology in 1987. "Newton Sleep" by Gregory Benford, originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, received a Nebula Award nomination in 1986, as well as placing 16th in its category in the Locus Poll.

Inferno (Niven and Pournelle novel)

Inferno is a fantasy novel written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, published in 1976. It was nominated for the 1976 Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel.

John Kendrick Bangs

John Kendrick Bangs (May 27, 1862 – January 21, 1922) was an American author, humorist, editor and satirist.

Journeys to the Under-World

Journeys to The Under-World (simplified Chinese: 地狱游记; traditional Chinese: 地獄遊記; pinyin: Dìyù Yóujì), also known as Voyages to Hell, is a Taiwanese novel describing what Yangsheng (楊生), a planchette handler, saw and heard when he followed his master Ji Gong to hell on the instruction of the Jade Emperor. The story is about the consequences resulting from actions during the life of a person. It contains journeys made by Ji Gong and Yangsheng to each level in hell to warn those in the living world with an evil heart. Each chapter contains detailed descriptions of their observations and interviews with souls being punished in hell.

Mr. Munchausen

Mr. Munchausen is a novel by John Kendrick Bangs, written in the style that has become known as Bangsian fantasy. It is the fourth book of Bangs' Associated Shades series.

Old Harry's Game

Old Harry's Game is a UK radio comedy written and directed by Andy Hamilton, who also plays the cynical, world-weary Satan. "Old Harry" is one of many names for the devil. The show's title is a humorous play on the title of the 1982 TV series Harry's Game.

Beginning in 1995, four series, of six half-hour episodes each, were aired by 2001, and a two-part Christmas special followed in 2002. A fifth full series was frequently delayed because of a cast member's illness, but recording of the four episodes of series five took place in April 2005 (postponed from January). The first episode of that series was broadcast on 20 September 2005 on BBC Radio 4. James Grout (the Professor during the first four series) did not take part. Series 6 (comprising a further six episodes) began on BBC Radio 4 on 27 September 2007, and Series 7 aired on BBC Radio 4 in 2009. Christmas and New Year specials were broadcast on 23 and 30 December 2010 respectively, and a two-part Olympics special on 12 and 19 July 2012.

Apart from series 3 and 4, the episodes were not given official titles.

One notable point regarding casting for the series: Andy Hamilton (Satan), James Grout(The Professor), Robert Duncan (Scumspawn), David Swift (God) and Michael Fenton Stevens had all worked together previously, in the UK television comedy series Drop the Dead Donkey between 1990 and 1998, which had been co-written by Hamilton. Both of the latter were written into the 1998 series by Hamilton when the run of Donkey ended that year.

A 30-minute animated version was created in 2012, as the pilot for a possible television series, by the UK animation house Flickerpix, but in the event a series was not commissioned.


Riverworld is a fictional planet and the setting for a series of science fiction books written by Philip José Farmer. Riverworld is an artificial "Super-Earth" environment where all humans (and pre-humans) are reconstructed. The books explore interactions of individuals from many different cultures and time periods. Its underlying theme is quasi-religious. The motivations of alien intelligences operating under ultra-ethical motives are explored.

The Enchanted Type-Writer

The Enchanted Type-Writer is a collection of short stories by John Kendrick Bangs, published in 1899 with illustrations by Peter Newell. Bangs attributes many of the stories to the late (and invisible) James Boswell, who has become an editor for a newspaper in Hades, and who communicates with the author by means of an old typewriter. The stories are part of the author's Associated Shades series, sometimes called the Hades series for its primary setting. Their genre has become known as Bangsian fantasy.

There are ten stories in the collection, and ten plates from illustrations by Newell.

They were first published serially in Harper's Weekly beginning August 5, 1899, including the Newell illustrations.

The Great Divorce

The Great Divorce is a theological dream vision by C. S. Lewis, in which he reflects on the Christian conceptions of Heaven and Hell.

The working title was Who Goes Home? but the final name was changed at the publisher's insistence. The title refers to William Blake's poem The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. The Great Divorce was first printed as a serial in an Anglican newspaper called The Guardian in 1944 and 1945, and soon thereafter in book form.

The Pursuit of the House-Boat

The Pursuit of the House-Boat is an 1897 novel by John Kendrick Bangs, and the second one to feature his Associated Shades take on the afterlife.

The original full title was The Pursuit of the House-Boat: Being Some Further Account of the Divers Doings of the Associated Shades, Under the Leadership of Sherlock Holmes, Esq. and it has also been titled In Pursuit of the House-Boat and Pursuit of the House-Boat.

There are 12 chapters in the book. They were first published as a serial, under the full-title and including the Newell illustrations, in Harper's Weekly from February 6 to April 24, 1897.

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