Whenever we try to talk about sub-genres, whether old or emerging, Real Readers™ crawl out of the woodwork to tell us we’re very wrong, and don’t understand the Nuances of Literature. This is an especially strong tendency when it comes to the sub-genres of fantasy and science fiction (Hmm. Why, I wonder*). So while you debate the differences between low and high fantasy, or magic realism and urban fantasy, we’ll be here with some rock-solid, foolproof guidelines.
Fantasy should be categorized two ways:
Worlds with dragons
— Emily R. King (@Emily_R_King) January 27, 2019
The romance is forbidden and off-limits
This ONE man from the evil side was actually really nice
Major confusion because someone meddled with time and space across multiple parallel universes
Memoirs and Biographies
My male pain was more important than systemic oppression
Has a protagonist holding their breath without even knowing it
A male god sets off a chain of tragic events; women are blamed
Mysteries and Thrillers
The narrator did it
White person does something they shouldn’t have to set things off
These childhood memories will always haunt my existence
There you go; you’re welcome. The definitive, most no-nonsense way ever of categorizing your genres.
*It’s misogyny. It’s almost always misogyny.