In this topic guide we outline the fantasy genre and its characteristics. Fantasy is a common topic in written assignments like SRP, as well as in your daily English classes. 

We first give you a glossary and a definition of the genre, before taking you through its development from its origin till today. We then explain how to analyze works of fantasy, focusing on terms such as primary world, secondary world, and portals. We also give you a list of fantasy texts, movies, and series. Finally, we advise you on how to write your SRO, SRP or SSO on fantasy. 

If you want a brief overview of the fantasy genre, you can find it here.


Here you can read an extract from our study guide:

Fantasy vs. science fiction

Some people confuse fantasy and science fiction, but there are actually important differences between the two genres. 

Firstly, there is the time setting. Science fiction is typically set in the future with advanced technology or space travel playing a major role. One example is the TV series Westworld (2016-ongoing) which features androids - human-like robots. In contrast, fantasy is typically set in a world which resembles our past, such as the medieval era. Game of Thrones is a good example.

Secondly, science fiction focuses on technology whereas fantasy focuses on magic. This means that the science fiction genre usually explains unrealistic elements in scientific ways, whereas fantasy uses magic as an explanation - or does not explain it at all. 

Thirdly, science fiction often portrays a dystopian world, meaning a frightening future society which is typically characterized by natural catastrophes, totalitarian regimes, and the like. In contrast, fantasy typically attempts to present the ideals for a better society, such as justice, bravery, or sacrifice. There is plenty of evil in fantasy, but the good always prevails in the end. 

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  • 01-05-2024