Fantasy of manners

The fantasy of manners is a subgenre of fantasy literature that also partakes of the nature of a comedy of manners (though it is not necessarily humorous). Such works generally take place in an urban setting and within the confines of a fairly elaborate, and almost always hierarchical, social structure. The term was first used in print by science fiction critic Donald G. Keller in an article, The Manner of Fantasy, in the April, 1991 issue of The New York Review of Science Fiction; author Ellen Kushner has said that she suggested the term to Keller.[1] The subgenre, or a close relative to it, has also been called mannerpunk, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction.

Influences

"Fantasy of manners" is fantasy literature that owes as much or more to the comedy of manners as it does to the traditional heroic fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien and other authors of high fantasy. Author Teresa Edgerton has stated[2] that this is not what Keller originally meant by the term, but "the term has since taken on a life of its own". The protagonists are not pitted against fierce monsters or marauding armies, but against their neighbors and peers; the action takes place within a society, rather than being directed against an external foe; duels may be fought, but the chief weapons are wit and intrigue.

Major influences on the subgenre include the social novels of Jane Austen, the drawing room comedies of P. G. Wodehouse, and the historical romances of Georgette Heyer. Many authors also draw from nineteenth century popular novelists such as Anthony Trollope, the Brontë sisters, and Charles Dickens. Traditional romances of swashbuckling adventure such as The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, or the works of Rafael Sabatini may also be influences. The Ruritanian romances typified by The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope, or George Barr McCutcheon's Graustark itself, are also of some consequence as literary precedents, as are the historical novels of Dorothy Dunnett. Although such works all contain elements which influenced the genre, the first example of the genre-proper is widely considered to be Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake.[3][4]

Characteristics

A typical fantasy of manners tale will involve a romantic adventure that turns on some point of social punctilio or intrigue. Magic, fantastic races, and legendary creatures are downplayed within the genre, or dismissed entirely. Indeed, but for the fact that the settings are usually entirely fictional, some of the books considered "fantasy of manners" could be also considered historical fiction.

Other writers who have written books considered to fall into the subgenre include:

A class of fantasies set in contemporary times and blending some characteristics of fantasies of manners with the subgenre urban fantasy has been dubbed, tongue-even-further-in-cheek, elfpunk.

References

  1. ^ "Panel Report: Fantasy of Manners"
  2. ^ Emily C. A. Snyder, "An In-Depth Interview with Teresa Edgerton Archived 2006-01-04 at the Wayback Machine"
  3. ^ "50 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels That Everyone Should Read"
  4. ^ "Best Fantasy Books: Fantasy of Manners"
Delia Sherman

Cordelia Caroline Sherman (born 1951, Tokyo, Japan), known professionally as Delia Sherman, is an American fantasy writer and editor. Her novel The Porcelain Dove won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award.

Donald G. Keller

Donald G. Keller (born 1951) is a science fiction and fantasy editor and critic. He was the co-founder of Serconia Press and was Managing Editor and a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Science Fiction (1990-1995), where his seminal essay on Fantasy of Manners, 'The Manner of Fantasy', appeared in 1991.

He co-edited the fantasy anthology The Horns of Elfland (1997) with Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman. He is a contributor to John Clute's The Encyclopedia of Fantasy and is a member of the editorial board of Slayage, the online Encyclopedia of Buffy Studies.

Keller was active in science fiction and fantasy fandom from the 1970s-1990s as coeditor with Jeffrey D. Smith of the fanzine Phantasmicom, editor of the journal The Eildon Tree, and a frequent contributor to the monthly newsletter Fantasiae.

Fantastic (magazine)

Fantastic was an American digest-size fantasy and science fiction magazine, published from 1952 to 1980. It was founded by the publishing company Ziff Davis as a fantasy companion to Amazing Stories. Early sales were good, and the company quickly decided to switch Amazing from pulp format to digest, and to cease publication of their other science fiction pulp, Fantastic Adventures. Within a few years sales fell, and Howard Browne, the editor, was forced to switch the focus to science fiction rather than fantasy. Browne lost interest in the magazine as a result and the magazine generally ran poor-quality fiction in the mid-1950s, under Browne and his successor, Paul W. Fairman.

At the end of the 1950s, Cele Goldsmith took over as editor of both Fantastic and Amazing Stories, and quickly invigorated the magazines, bringing in many new writers and making them, in the words of one science fiction historian, the "best-looking and brightest" magazines in the field. Goldsmith helped to nurture the early careers of writers such as Roger Zelazny and Ursula K. Le Guin, but was unable to increase circulation, and in 1965 the magazines were sold to Sol Cohen, who hired Joseph Wrzos as editor and switched to a reprint-only policy. This was financially successful, but brought Cohen into conflict with the newly formed Science Fiction Writers of America. After a turbulent period at the end of the 1960s, Ted White became editor and the reprints were phased out.

White worked hard to make the magazine successful, introducing artwork from artists who had made their names in comics, and working with new authors such as Gordon Eklund. His budget for fiction was low, but he was occasionally able to find good stories from well-known writers that had been rejected by other markets. Circulation continued to decline, however, and in 1978, Cohen sold out his half of the business to his partner, Arthur Bernhard. White resigned shortly afterwards, and was replaced by Elinor Mavor, but within two years Bernhard decided to close down Fantastic, merging it with Amazing Stories, which had always enjoyed a slightly higher circulation.

Fantasy

Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often without any locations, events, or people referencing the real world. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, television, graphic novels and video games.

Fantasy is distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the absence of scientific or macabre themes respectively, though these genres overlap. In popular culture, the fantasy genre is predominantly of the medievalist form. In its broadest sense, however, fantasy consists of works by many writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians from ancient myths and legends to many recent and popular works.

Fantasy fiction magazine

A fantasy fiction magazine or fantasy magazine is a magazine which publishes primarily fantasy fiction. Not generally included in the category are magazines for children with stories about such characters as Santa Claus. Also not included are adult magazines about sexual fantasy. Many fantasy magazines, in addition to fiction, have other features such as art, cartoons, reviews, or letters from readers. Some fantasy magazines also publish science fiction and horror fiction, so that here is not always a clear distinction between a fantasy magazine and a science fiction magazine. For example, Fantastic magazine published almost exclusively science fiction for much of its run.

Gormenghast (series)

Gormenghast is a fantasy series by British author Mervyn Peake, about the inhabitants of Castle Gormenghast, a sprawling, decaying, gothic-like structure. Originally conceived as a single on-going novel, the series was ended by Peake's death and comprises three novels, Titus Groan (1946), Gormenghast (1950), Titus Alone (1959) and a novella, Boy in Darkness (1956), whose canonical status is debated. Peake was writing a fourth novel, Titus Awakes, at the time of his death, which was later completed and released by Peake's widow in 2009.

Although the first two installments do not contain any overtly fantastical elements, Gormenghast is almost unanimously categorized as fantasy because of the atmosphere and pseudo-medieval setting. The series has received widespread acclaim from the speculative fiction community and mainstream literary critics — Harold Bloom argues that it is a more accomplished work than the contemporary and better-known The Lord of the Rings.The series has been included in Fantasy: The 100 Best Books, Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels and 100 Must Read Fantasy Novels as one of the greatest fantasy works of the twentieth century. Literary critic Harold Bloom has praised the series as the best fantasy novels of the twentieth century and one of the greatest sequences in modern world literature. Gormenghast is often credited as the first fantasy of manners novel. The books have been translated into over twenty languages.

LGBT themes in speculative fiction

LGBT themes in speculative fiction refer to the incorporation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) themes into science fiction, fantasy, horror fiction and related genres. Such elements may include an LGBT character as the protagonist or a major character, or explorations of sexuality or gender that deviate from the hetero-normative.

Science fiction and fantasy have traditionally been puritanical genres aimed at a male readership, and can be more restricted than non-genre literature by their conventions of characterisation and the effect that these conventions have on depictions of sexuality and gender. However, speculative fiction also gives authors and readers the freedom to imagine societies that are different from real-life cultures. This freedom makes speculative fiction a useful means of examining sexual bias, by forcing the reader to reconsider his or her heteronormative cultural assumptions. It has also been claimed by critics such as Nicola Griffith that LGBT readers identify strongly with the mutants, aliens, and other outsider characters found in speculative fiction.

Before the 1960s, explicit sexuality of any kind was rare in speculative fiction, as the editors who controlled what was published attempted to protect their perceived key market of adolescent male readers. As the readership broadened, it became possible to include characters who were undisguised homosexuals, though these tended to be villains, and lesbians remained almost entirely unrepresented. In the 1960s, science fiction and fantasy began to reflect the changes prompted by the civil rights movement and the emergence of a counterculture. New wave and feminist science fiction authors realised cultures in which homosexuality, bisexuality and a variety of gender models were the norm, and in which sympathetic depictions of alternative sexuality were commonplace.

From the 1980s onwards, homosexuality gained much wider mainstream acceptance, and was often incorporated into otherwise conventional speculative fiction stories. Works emerged that went beyond simple representation of homosexuality to explorations of specific issues relevant to the LGBT community. This development was helped by the growing number of openly gay or lesbian authors and their early acceptance by speculative fiction fandom. Specialist gay publishing presses and a number of awards recognising LGBT achievements in the genre emerged, and by the twenty-first century blatant homophobia was no longer considered acceptable by most readers of speculative fiction. There was a concurrent increase in representation of homosexuality within non-literary forms of speculative fiction. The inclusion of LGBT themes in comic books, television and film continues to attract media attention and controversy, while the perceived lack of sufficient representation, along with unrealistic depictions, provokes criticism from LGBT sources.

List of writing genres

Written genres (more commonly known as literary genres) are those works of prose, poetry, drama, hybrid forms, or other literature that are distinguished by shared literary conventions, similarities in topic, theme, style, or common settings, character types, or formulaic patterns of character interactions and events, and an overall predictable form. Genres are not wholly fixed categories of writing, but their content evolves according to social and cultural contexts and contemporary questions of morals and morés. The most enduring genres are those literary forms that were defined and performed by the Ancient Greeks, definitions sharpened by the proscriptions of our earliest literary critics and rhetorical scholars such as Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Aeschylus, Aspasia, Euripides and others. The prevailing genres of literary composition in Ancient Greece were all written and constructed to explore cultural, moral, or ethical questions; they were ultimately defined as the genres of epic, tragedy, and comedy. Aristotle's proscriptive analysis of tragedy, for example, as expressed in his Rhetoric and Poetics, saw it as having six parts (music, diction, plot, character, thought, and spectacle) working together in particular ways. Thus Aristotle establishes one of the earliest delineations of the elements that define genre.

Literary genres are often defined by the cultural expectations and needs of a particular historical and cultural moment or place.

The major literary genres defined by topic are:

Fantasy

Westerns

Romance

Thriller

Mystery

Erotica

Detective story

DystopiaOther major genres are clustered together based on the form of how they are written, from the constrained syllables of a haiku to the controlled rhymes of a limerick.

• Memoir

• Biography

• Play

Musical

Satire

Haiku

Horror

DIY (Do It Yourself)

Dictionary

Other genres are defined by their primary audiences:

Young adult fiction

Children's books

Adult Literature (often about sexual behavior)

Luck in the Shadows

Luck in the Shadows is a fantasy novel by American writer Lynn Flewelling, first book in her Nightrunner series. Set in a fictional universe, the novel follows the adventures of a complex thief and his apprentice as they are targeted by magical forces and attempt to unravel a political conspiracy. It is followed by Stalking Darkness, Traitor's Moon, Shadows Return and The White Road. Luck in the Shadows is being made into a movie.

M. C. A. Hogarth

Maggie C. A. Hogarth née de Alarcon is an American writer and artist who works in the science fiction, fantasy, and anthropomorphic animal genres. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database catalogs her illustrations as by Maggie de Alarcon (1990 to 1997) and Micah Hogarth (1997 and 1998).In May 2015, Hogarth was elected Vice President of SFWA.

National Fantasy Fan Federation

The National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F or NFFF) is one of the world's oldest science fiction fandom organizations. The organization was founded in April 1941 when all science fiction, horror, and fantasy literature was lumped into one category called "fantasy." The group actively encourages the development of writers, editors, and artists.

Oni

Oni (鬼) are a kind of yōkai, supernatural demon, devils, ogre, or troll in Japanese folklore. They are typically portrayed as hulking figures with one or more horns growing out of their heads. Stereotypically, they are conceived of as red or blue-colored (green-colored), wearing loincloths of tiger pelt, and carrying iron clubs.

They are popular characters in Japanese art, literature, and theatre, and appear as stock villains in the well-known fairytales of Momotaro (Peach Boy), Issun-bōshi, and Kobutori Jīsan.

Outline of fantasy

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to fantasy:

Fantasy – genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary plot element, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common. Fantasy is generally distinguished from the genre of science fiction by the expectation that it steers clear of scientific themes, though there is a great deal of overlap between the two.

Ruritanian romance

Ruritanian romance is a genre of literature, film and theatre comprising novels, stories, plays and films set in a fictional country, usually in Central or Eastern Europe, such as the "Ruritania" that gave the genre its name.Such stories are typically swashbuckling adventure novels, tales of high romance and intrigue, centered on the ruling classes, almost always aristocracy and royalty, although (for instance) Winston Churchill's novel Savrola, in every other way a typical example of the genre, concerns a revolution to restore rightful parliamentary government in the republican country of Laurania. The themes of honor, loyalty and love predominate, and the works frequently feature the restoration of legitimate government after a period of usurpation or dictatorship.

Tam Lin (novel)

Tam Lin is a 1991 contemporary fantasy novel by United States author Pamela Dean, who based it on the traditional Scottish border ballad "Tam Lin".

Teresa Edgerton

Teresa Edgerton (born 1949) is an author of fantasy novels and short stories set in worlds that parallel the Middle Ages and the 18th century.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.