Historical Fantasy

Historical Fantasy, what separates this genre from the others, could it be popularity or just it’s easier to write. Could be both, who knows. There are some good pieces of work from past and present that can show many of you why it’s so popular.

It is often that historical fantasies are history affected by magic. Which makes sense for it is set in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, mainly because during those times supernatural things and magic was highly believed in. This helps making the tales told to be effected in some way by magic.

Historical Fantasy does have features that the average fantasy doesn’t have. It is set in the real world and in real-time, stead of being set in a made up fantasy world. They try to set the story around history events, like when something important happens in the world, someone becomes king for example. Mainly so that the audience can easily imagine how it was like, making the experience more understandable.

Phillip K. Dick was an American novelist on alternative history, science fiction and historical fantasy. He died at the age of 53 in 1982, he died in hospital after having two strokes and was taken off life support. One of his best books is ‘The Man in the High Castle’ which was the best novel in 1963.

There is now a Phillip K. Dick award which is awarded to science fiction, which is awarded every year since his death in 1983. In total Phillip has won three Best Novel Wins out of ten nominations.

Harry Turtledove is another American novelist on alternative history, science fiction and historical fantasy. He has been dubbed as “The Master of Alternative History”, mainly from his works are set around Byzantine Empire, World War Two and the American Civil War. He has made many series such as; Darkness, Atlantis, Krispos series, along with more series to come.

Robert Harris is former BBC television reporter, who is now an English novelist. He has had a big success in historical when it came to his first novel ‘Fatherland’. He is now working on the area of Roman Fiction; he is working on his next novel. ‘Conspirata’, which is the third and final novel in this area. Robert has also worked on screen plays like ‘The Ghost Writer’ in 2010.  He is also is working on two other stories ‘D’ (2013) and ‘The Fear Index’ (2014).

There are some books, movies and games that have built the foundations of Historical fantasy or they have pushed it in to a new direction making it more liked by the general population.

A major novel in Historical Fantasy is Phillip K. Dick’s ‘The Man in the High Castle’. It’s about the daily life 15 years after the World War Two, being under the totalitarian Fascist imperialism.

A major video game in this genre is Assassin’s Creed; this series is about the fight between good and evil, Assassins and Templars. The series is spread from the First Crusade in Jerusalem, a big part of the series is set during the Italian Renaissance, currently to the American Civil War.

Another major video game for this genre would be Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, a part of a very successful game that has won several Game of the Year awards. It’s extra content to the main game Red Dead Redemption. Developed by Rockstar the creators of the Grand Theft Auto series, they took to this game so well and it became a huge success. Basically you’re playing near the end of the main story and the main character John Marston does all he to save his family to the undead.

These works are all within history from Assassin’s Creed set in Jerusalem during the crusades, all the way to 1911 America for Red Dead Redemption. They have all different fantasy elements some for the games in supernatural or a little bit of science fiction. Some of the things that readers, watchers and/or players can take out from the stories sometimes the things we can call evil (Assassins) can be good.

A quote from Assassin’s Creed is a good example of something that people can take away from it and think about it in real life. “Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”  This is explained more thoroughly later in the series in Assassin’s Creed Revelations nearing the end.The main character Ezio Auditore explains.

To say, ‘nothing is true’, is to realize that the foundations of society are fragile, and that we must be the shepherds of our own civilization. To say, ‘everything is permitted‘, is to understand that we are the architects of our actions, and that we must live with their consequences, whether glorious or tragic.


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