Getting specific - pinning down a sub-genre

Hi all,

I write fantasy but I'm trying to figure out what sub-genre of fantasy (because knowing that will help me figure out where to find readers once I start posting in January).

So I am going to list some fiction (not just novels but other formats) that I feel fall into the same genre and you can give me your opinion on what its name is. Once I have that I might be able to work out where the potential readers might live.

Kid/YA Novels: Narnia (CS Lewis), Elidor (Alan Garner)

Novels: Thomas Covenant, Mordant's Need (both Stephen Donaldson), The Fionavar Tapestry (Guy Gavriel Kay)

Manga/anime: digimon, magic knight rayearth

Western Animation: Dungeons and Dragons (the cartoon from the 80s)

I am sure there are others but these are the ones I know.


Is there a specific genre for "dragged to another world"


Well, I hope you are just using those as an example of "dragged into another world", and aren't trying to do something in which a man with leprosy gets pulled into a world where mirrors are portals to other places, and kids rape girls they don't think exist and then play card games with each other. ;-)

But the term I've seen used for "dragged into another world" in the past is "transition fantasy".


Transition fantasy? Never heard of the term! Interesting.

@Chris definitely not. Though that sounds like a Digimon Fanfic I read once I think. *laughter*

I shall have to Google "Transition Fantasy" thanks.


Something like this?

More often than not, it seems like those "trapped in a magical world" fantasies end up being epic fantasy with a protagonist that's theoretically easier to identify with.

Heh, TV Tropes! I love that site (though it can eat whole tons of free time if you let it). But yeah that's the trope I mean.

I just think "Trapped in another world" is a bit of a long winded name for a genre and was hoping there was something snappier. Sadly "Transition Fantasy" does not seem to be a well known genre.


Well, and also, transition fantasy sounds like a pre-op MtF daydreaming about his/her soon-to-be new life.

@amber: That's pretty much what I got when I googled the term. Oh and one page explaining it in terms of not being Contemporary Fantasy or Immersion Fantasy (LoTR being Immersion Fantasy).

@Jim: Digimon as Epic Fantasy - I think there's an essay in there somewhere (and now that I think about it it's probably true - it is pretty much an epic fantasy (well seasons 3 and 5 are mostly urban fantasy but yeah).


Maybe you shouldn't worry too much about sub-genre? Or at least not get too specific. I mean it's not like there are people out there who ONLY read "trapped in fantasy world" stories (or at least I hope there aren't...).

And sometimes these sub-genres (and sub-sub-genres!) can be better defined by something wider. I'm thinking now of all the [x]punk I've heard about other than steam and cyber. It gets silly when there are much broader terms that can be used (which will appeal to a much wider audience!). Sometimes blue is just blue, not "faded colbat sky" :D

@Dary There probably are people out there who are really specific in their tastes, but you're right. It is possible to get too caught up the minutae of genre.

But (and you knew there was a but didn't you?)

It's just that I wouldn't - for example - think of advertising an Urban Fantasy on a Traditional Fantasy Comic or Story. While a lot of Fantasy readers are like me and read both a lot aren't. You'd make a lot more hay advertising it on a urban fantasy site, not because there are no urban fantasy fans on the trad fantasy site but because the regulars at the Urban Fantasy Site are all potential targets ... um I mean readers.

To a lesser degree the same applies to the Immersion/Transition divide. While both probably come under Traditional or Epic Fantasy - there are likely fans of Immersion Fantasy who don't read Immersion Fantasy and visa versa. (I'm an example of this. I read both Urban and Transition Fantasy but like only a select few Immersion Fantasy novels (I used to read them avidly but now I find that most of them just retread old ground).

If everyone on a site already likes your sub-genre you've got a much better chance of hitting paydirt. Or at least that's my theory - I haven't had chance to test it yet.

You'd be surprised! Of course advertising a high fantasy series on a gritty sci-fi drama site (or vice versa!) isn't going to do you much good, but advertising a sub-genre of fantasy on another sub-genre should be fine.

Case to point: I advertise on all sorts of fantasy webcomics and some of my best returns are from the sites you WOULDN'T expect! Whereas some sites you'd expect to be a good source are the opposite (I've found fellow web serials, even the popular ones, to be quite poor in reader-to-cents rate - but maybe those readers think I'm a webcomic XD).

I don't think most people are sub-genre picky.

Sadly "Transition Fantasy" does not seem to be a well known genre.

Maybe the term isn't well-known, but the concept is still in use. Consider the following in addition to your list:

Kingdom of Landover series by Terry Brooks

Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg

the Harold Shea stories by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt

the Spellsinger series by Alan Dean Foster

The Barbed Coil by J. V. Jones

Minerva Wakes by Holly Lisle

the Castle Perilous series by John deChancie

the World of Tiers novels by Philip Jose Farmer

And I supposed you could argue that Gaiman's Neverwhere and Farmer's Riverworld sorta fits into that transition concept.

I honestly don't think it'd be worth your time/money/effort to subdivide your audience into sub-genres. Tolkein didn't. Stephen R. Donaldson didn't. C.S. Lewis didn't. You'll annoy some fantasy snobs, but who cares?