I think that might be the real lineage. From Tolkien to Dungeons & Dragons and from there to anywhere else.
They are. But they are so old they become "mythology." The difference is probably that at least some people that at one point believed in it (or so historians think) and therefore mythology.This could turn into a discussion of whether The Odyssey, Beowulf, The Nibelunglied, etc are epic fantasies
So recently I got into a couple of discussions with some friends about reading, and the subject of fantasy was brought up - one of them said that, to paraphrase, "fantasy is just Tolkien" - and a few days later at my local book club the same subject was brought up and it was all "no, we can't do fantasy next its all derivative of Tolkien" or "Oh you mean Lord of The Rings?" - I found this really confusing.
Obviously these people haven't read much of the genre: I think that modern fantasy is doing all it can to distance itself from Tolkien and most of his influence lies before the 90s where epic fantasy got a massive boon. Your thoughts? I want to know what shapes this misconception.
Now I am really curious what the first fantasy setting was that wasn't Earth at a different time.
And that's still in the same multiverse as Earth, then.
The oldest works I could find that have no connection to Earth are Black Company and Legend from 1984.
Aye. Again, before epic fantasy got really popular in the 90s I think most fantasy could be criticised this way but we have so many new things on the market now.I think the discussion about whether Tolkien was the first or not isn't very relevant and hard to answer. It's a discussion on what you mean with first more than anything else. There are very few things in either science or art which are completely new and not derived from anything else. And most things which seem completely new at first glance are simply based on less well known things. The new-ness is that someone took several ideas, combined them and took it to extremes. In the case of Tolkien, he took the fleshing out of a fantasy world to its extreme and wrote stories for adults in this separate world.
In doing this, he defined epic fantasy for several decades and gave it many of its tropes and processes. The reason a lot of world builders feel the need to include creating a language can be traced back to Tolkien. The same goes for the standard fantasy races. Most people fall back on some version of Tolkien's elves, dwarves, halflings and so on. The generic medieval europe feeling setting is probably partially due to Tolkien as well, though that's probably also just what many writers from the western world grew up with.
I think epic fantasy as a (sub) genre is growing up the past 2 decades and you're getting more diverse worlds and story lines. If you go back to the 90's then this criticism was partially valid, but not anymore.