Genres..So Very Many

Genre:: a particular type or category of literature or art.

Now I that’s easy enough to understand, right? But as time rolls forward the plethora of sub-genres grows almost daily. For instance 20 yrs ago I would have quite simply said that my first book is fantasy. That’s it, fantasy…and at that point I’m  sure that would have covered it. Now we have so many different types of fantasy, Sci-fi, horror etc.

I recently, discovered on a website that my book was listed under magical realism, a fantasy sub genre. I had truly never heard of it however, as it is described my 1st book fits it perfectly.

Magical Realism::a literary genre or style that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction 

Below I have put together a list of horror and fantasy, sci-fi sub-genres. If I missed any please share them with us in the comments. If your a writer please feel free to share with us your titles, links and their genre.


**Definitions for fantasy genres are from  Copyright Lee Masterson. All rights reserved. @

Arthurian Fantasy = Encompasses stories about the wizard,  King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table , Excalibar and any story set in that time. 

Epic Fantasy = Generally tales of a young nobody, thrown unexpectedly into a massive “Good vs. Evil” struggle, where he must learn to uncover his own latent heroism to save the day. Often also includes a “grail-finding” quest – regardless of whether the ‘grail’ is an icon, a person, a magical talisman or any other form of symbolic token. Usually involves a very large cast of characters and spans a vast area of a fantastical world.

Comic Fantasy = Tales designed specifically as spoofs of other serious fantasies, or containing humorous elements to a light-hearted tale. (Anthony Pierce work is a great example, in my opinion)

Dark Fantasy = Encompasses the nastier, grimmer side to the usual fun of the fantasy genre. Dark fantasy includes the nightmarish, darker side of magic, creatures, evil and demons

Fairy Tales and Mythology = Fairy tales are not just for kids! The original versions of many fairy tales and myths were often violent stories set in mystical lands, sometimes with strange creatures and sometimes even stranger heroes

Heroic Fantasy = Fantastical worlds with an almost ‘middle-ages’ feel, peopled with wizards and sorcerers, communing with dragons and riding pet unicorns to tame a battalion of wild orcs and goblins. Heroes are generally muscle-bound sword-wielding types, determined to rescue a true damsel in distress. Magic is an accepted part of life, although the workings of such are usually left unexplained within this sub-genre.

High Fantasy = High Fantasy is the type of fantasy that most people expect when they regard ‘fantasy’ as a genre. Includes lords and ladies, medieval styles and settings, kingdoms and castles, and dragons and knights. High fantasy, while generally rooted in classical mythology and medieval European legends, focuses its themes on Good versus Evil. Sometimes called “Epic fantasy”. Often plotted to encompass three or more books. (Similar in my opinion to Authurian fantasy) 

Magic Realism = Stories where magic is an accepted part of the system and of the culture. There must always be consequences to the use of magic, or involve some form of ‘prop’ to get the magic working, like an amulet, potion, talisman or incantation.

Modern Fantasy = Tales of magic and wonder set in modern times. (Another that my book falls under)

Sword and Sorcery = Good old-fashioned ‘Sword & Sworcery’. Rollicking tales of high adventure in almost medieval settings. Designed to follow the exploits of the ‘hero’ as he battles to overcome all the bad guys by use of his trusty sword and some really huge muscles. 

Sci-fI: This list is so very expansive that i am just listing the names of each sub genre of sci- fi and providing  a link at the end for your mote in depth browsing of specific definitiins.

Hard SciFi

Soft SciFi


Robot (I believe Robo Cop falls under this heading)


Space Opera

Steam punk


Cyber punk

Nano punk

Super Hero SciFi

Voyage SciFi

Scientific Romance


Mundane Sci Fi

All the above types of sci fi explanations and definitions can be found at the link right above. Thank you

Please feel free to sound in in the comments below SciFi writers and readers. Is there one I missed?

Horror: I’ve done this list just as the list for SciFi was done.

Comedy horror

Teen Horror (Teen Wolf with Micheal Fox is one I remember from my younger days)

Monster Horror

Slasher Horror

Supernatural Horror ( one of my fhorror (Tucker and Dale is a prime example, and funny as all get out too!)

Zombie Horror (Shaun of the Dead is a good one)

The above list of Horror genres is from the link right above! Thank you

I believe there are two other types of  fiction writing that should be mentioned and any of the above can also fall under these…

Utopian fiction: creation of an ideal society, or utopia, as the setting for a novel


Dysotopian Fiction:  (often called apocalyptic literature) is the opposite: creation of an utterly horrible or degraded society that is generally headed to an irreversible oblivion, or dystopia

In closing,all I can say is that with the myriad of genres out there that its no wonder the world if literature has gone to the heights that it has. Happy reading and writing to you all…Always.