Question: "High" concepts in Fantasy

hannibal at hannibal at
Thu Feb 27 09:31:13 EST 2003

Philip wrote:

> My brother and I actually came up with a two-dimensional model of fantasy
> subgenre.  On axis is the "height" - how important the events of the book are to
> the world - and on the other is how important magic is in daily life in the
> setting (so at one end of the scale would be Fire and Hemlock; at the other,
> Magicians of Caprona).
> There is a strong correlation between this second axis and how far the fantasy
> universe is removed from ours (how far ayewards it is?) but it is not perfect -
> the Dalemark books are set entirely in the fantasy universe (and are quite high
> by my definition too) but magic is not very important in daily life there

Perhaps the answer to is to add a third axis to your model, labelled 'Distance from our own world'. I think it would be possible to make a model of this kind from a plastic construction kit, and attach little labels with the names of books at the relevant points in the resulting 3D matrix. If mounted properly it would be an attractive addition to the living room, and one could spend happy evenings arguing with like-minded friends about exactly where to place 'Power of Three', etc.

Personally I think that would be fun. Only trouble is, I've a feeling that there are yet other elements involved in High Fantasy, such as a tendency to adopt a bombastic prose style at moments of high excitement (and to prefer absolute monarchy to any other political system, to revert to that old hobbyhorse), which can't be perfectly correlated to any of the above. 


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