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Is magic necessary to write a fantasy story?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by BloodyHellSausage, Aug 23, 2017.

  1. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

    I think I could write a fantasy story without magic. Wouldn't a story about someone off to slay a dragon, but without the benefit of anything more than wits and common weapons be a non-magical fantasy story? I suppose I could argue the dragon is magic, but suppose its just a big lizard with wings? I think that would still be under the umbrella of fantasy.

    So, I suppose I have to answer that I think it can happen. But I am not aware of any fantasy stories I've read that did not contain some level of Magic.
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    My wife and I have been watching a lot of anime recently, and to help decide what to watch I stumbled on a site called Ranker, which lets people vote on the best in a category.

    One of the "best" anime is usually listed as Attack on Titan, which is about a huge walled castle under attack by zombie giants. They fight by flinging through the trees with their crazy grappling hook gear and then stabbing the titans in the neck with swords. Otherwise, they have horses, and wagons, and cannons. There's nothing sci-fi or magical aside from the Titans and the mythology supporting their existence.

    So is it fantasy?

    Again, ranker has it listed as about the number 1 all-time anime..... but for fantasy anime? It's number 30.

    The number 1 fantasy anime is actually Sword Art Online, and it's 100% science fiction. The characters live in the future, and use high tech sciencey equipment to..... get trapped in a fantasy video game where dying in-game causes their sci-fi gear to kill them in real life.

    I mean, what the heck?
  3. glutton

    glutton Inkling

    Of course you could have a non-magical fantasy. For example a story about a 26 year old, 5'1 160 lb duchess who wields a hammer with a head the size of her torso and uses it to beat up Godzilla sized monsters... and she has been doing this since she was much younger and skinnier, so the 16 yo 120 lb version of her could already beat up Godzilla sized monsters with a nonmagical hammer. :D

    ...I have actually written something like this, except the monsters and other characters have magic so it was not actually a non-magical fantasy. Our heroine stands SHORT and proud on sheer nonmagical Girl Pride though! And I'd imagine that level of exaggerated superhuman prowess should qualify as fantasy without explicitly being magical (she also does stuff like tanking and then deflecting volleys of automatic gunfire from building sized mechas, surviving multiple impalements, shrugging off being smashed through a city wall and knocked across a city, has a mecha's damaged giant energy cannon blow up in her face when she picks it up and tries to fire it, etc).
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  4. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    Attack on Titan is a fantasy. But it was hard to tell until the recent arcs of the manga. A lot of fans were hoping it would go more of a sci fi route. SAO spends most of its story time in a fantasy environment. So I can see the argument that it is fantasy. However, since these are both Japanese media, they are generally only classified by their format (manga to anime for AoT and Light Novel to anime for SAO) and target audience (in this case Shounen for both). So no one really tries to make them fit into a genre. Which is why there's a lot of wacky and awesome cross genre stuff from Japan.
    claramcalister and Devor like this.
  5. ScipioBarca

    ScipioBarca New Member

    It's like having a night out without alcohol. Yes, you can do it but it misses the point and is nowhere near as fun :)P)
    Sheilawisz likes this.

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