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PodCastle => Fantasy Discussion => Topic started by: Tarragon on December 08, 2014, 08:47:04 AM



Title: Second World Fantasy?
Post by: Tarragon on December 08, 2014, 08:47:04 AM
OK, you got me.   What's Second World Fantasy?   I'd love to hear some Eastern Block fantasy, but I don't think that's what you mean.



Title: Re: Second World Fantasy?
Post by: Fenrix on December 08, 2014, 10:05:17 AM
My exposure to the concept comes from Tolkien and his essay On Faery Stories. Secondary World is a term used by Tolkien to refer to a consistent fictional world or setting that is created by a man, also called Subcreation, in contrast to the Reality which is called the Primary World.


Title: Re: Second World Fantasy?
Post by: DKT on December 08, 2014, 10:41:14 AM
Yes, Fenrix has it. Apparently, it's synonymous with High Fantasy. It's basically fantasy stories that don't happen in our world. Tolkien's LotR, GRRM's A Game of Thrones, Lois McMaster Bujold's Curse of Chalion.

Whereas stories like Harry Potter, The Dresden Files, American Gods (probably most of Gaiman's books, actually), aren't set in a secondary world, and are more contemporary fantasy (or some subgenre of contemporary).

Sorry, didn't mean to be confusing :)


Title: Re: Second World Fantasy?
Post by: Ocicat on December 08, 2014, 03:39:12 PM
Well, it seems a little weird to say that Harry Potter is set in "our world" since it has it's own rules and unique places - but Harry Potter's world does have places with names like London and New York.  Second world fantasies won't have any familiar place names and instead have places like Gondor, Melnibon√©, or New Crobuzon.  Basically, if it comes with a map in the inside cover, it's second world fantasy.  :)


Title: Re: Second World Fantasy?
Post by: Tarragon on December 09, 2014, 01:14:39 PM
Got it.  Thanks guys.  I think I was starting to get there after listening to the story and thinking about it for a bit, but I appreciate the help.

Apparently, it's synonymous with High Fantasy.

I see that Wikipedia agrees with with you but I always thought High Fantasy didn't preclude it from happening in our world.  I can't think of a complete example but I've got two that would be close.   I'd call Mary Robinette Kowal's Novels nearly High Fantasy and are set in our world.  Jack Vance's Dying Earth are definitely High Fantasy but set in the far future.

Perhaps it's just that these boxes are way to small for everything we're trying to stuff in them.


Title: Re: Second World Fantasy?
Post by: eytanz on December 09, 2014, 02:52:47 PM
I think "our world" shouldn't be taken broadly as "Earth" but more narrowly as "Earth as recognizable from our present or history". So, Kowal's books wouldn't could as second world/high fantasy according to that criteria, but Vance would, because while Dying Earth is technically set on the same planet as we live on, it's a version of Earth that has very little in common with the one we live on.


Title: Re: Second World Fantasy?
Post by: DKT on December 09, 2014, 03:44:38 PM
Got it.  Thanks guys.  I think I was starting to get there after listening to the story and thinking about it for a bit, but I appreciate the help.

Apparently, it's synonymous with High Fantasy.

I see that Wikipedia agrees with with you but I always thought High Fantasy didn't preclude it from happening in our world.  I can't think of a complete example but I've got two that would be close.   I'd call Mary Robinette Kowal's Novels nearly High Fantasy and are set in our world.  Jack Vance's Dying Earth are definitely High Fantasy but set in the far future.

Perhaps it's just that these boxes are way to small for everything we're trying to stuff in them.


Honestly, I am crap about drawing lines and staying within them when it comes to genre and subgenre :) So don't feel too bad about that.


Title: Re: Second World Fantasy?
Post by: SpareInch on December 11, 2014, 09:00:06 AM
Well, it seems a little weird to say that Harry Potter is set in "our world" since it has it's own rules and unique places - but Harry Potter's world does have places with names like London and New York.  Second world fantasies won't have any familiar place names and instead have places like Gondor, Melnibon√©, or New Crobuzon.  Basically, if it comes with a map in the inside cover, it's second world fantasy.  :)

Hmm... King's Cross Station = Primary world, but Platform 9 3/4 = Secondary.
Vauxhall Bridge Road = Primary, but Diagon Alley = Secondary.
Privet Drv = Primary (Though fictional) but Hogsmede = Secondary.

I suppose Harry Potter is a 1 1/2 world fantasy. :)

Perhaps it's just that these boxes are way to small for everything we're trying to stuff in them.


I think genre classifications are no damned use as a filing system for stories. All they're really any use for is describing a story so people have some idea what it will be like before they read it, and can decide if they're likely to like it. There can't be many, if any stories which fit neatly into just one genre.


Title: Re: Second World Fantasy?
Post by: Joshuabub on May 12, 2016, 02:22:08 AM
I think it's entirely up to you how awkward it is to rescue someone from an alternate/fantasy world--your story, your rules