"Literary Adventure Fantasy"?

Even though meticulous definitions of subgenres in writing or music often spawn endless discussions, they are sometimes necessary to show other people what you ‘re talking about. With the founding of my new online fantasy magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies, I’ve had to craft some definitions of my own. I’ve thought a lot in recent years about the exact type of fantasy fiction I want to publish and what I should call it.

I love traditional fantasy–classics from the 1930s pulp era and the new wave of fantasy in the 1970s post-Tolkien boom. But I also love the way the recent influence of literary writing on fantasy short fiction has expanded and advanced the genre. Fantasy writers now have the the freedom to use literary devices such as tight points-of-view, round characters, discontinuous narratives, and unreliable narrators in their genre stories. This sophisticated level of craft makes those stories far more powerful.

Unfortunately for me as a reader, there has been very little intersection between these two movements–classic-style fantasy told in a modern literary-influenced approach. Barely a couple stories of this type make it into the major markets every year, perhaps because those magazines aren’t interested in traditional-style fantasy anymore. And the few markets dedicated to traditional-style fantasy don’t seem to appreciate the more powerful and mature storytelling that modern literary devices offer.

That’s where Beneath Ceaseless Skies comes in. I will publish classic-style fantasy written with all the skill and impact of modern literary-influenced fantasy. That’s what I mean by “literary adventure fantasy.” Let the quest for great reads begin!

Tags: , ,

7 Responses to “"Literary Adventure Fantasy"?”

  1. Saladin Says:

    Very cool page for the mag!

  2. Scott H. Andrews Says:

    Thanks man! As soon as I saw that guy’s painting, I knew I had to have it.

  3. Paul Jessup Says:

    So, would you consider Patricia McKillip’s Forgotten Beasts of Eld, or Le Guin’s Tehanu to be the sort of thing you’re looking for?

  4. Scott H. Andrews Says:

    Unforunately I don’t have a good answer for that because, I’m ashamed to admit, I haven’t yet read either of those. I read the original Earthsea trilogy as a kid and enjoyed it a great deal. I read _The Riddle-Master of Hed_ a few year ago and loved the writing but found the plot a bit meandering. _Forgotten Beasts_ and the Riddle-Master sequels are both in my to-read stack.

    I do think that McKillip and Le Guin are great combinations of literary-style writing and secondary world setting and character-driven plot, so I would say that their fantasy works in general are good starting points for the type of vibe I have in mind for the magazine.

  5. Paul Jessup Says:

    Excellent. Yeah, check out Tehanu and Forgotten Beasts of Eld- Beasts of Eld is so different from anything else. Almost like a play.

    BTW, the questions in that interview were meant seriously, as a point of discussion. When I posted a link to the magazine, I had a lot of writers email me with those concerns. Either way, it seems exciting. And I have a short story ready.

  6. Scott H. Andrews Says:

    Cool. Yes, I am working on answers to your interview questions, but being at ReaderCon and at a workshop, it is hard finding time to work on my answers. There were lots of exciting questions about the magazine at ReaderCon as well!

  7. the fiction of Scott H. Andrews » Blog Archive » Why “Literary Adventure Fantasy”? Says:

    […] talked about that in other places before.  It’s always hard for me to put it into words, since anything about fiction […]