Beyond Literary Landscapes – Fantasy Novels

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.


In this final column discussing Speculative Fiction sub-genres, I focus on introducing readers to Fantasy novels, as well as reminding readers of some of the genre’s classics, and as an inspiration for further reading.

Fantasy novels can be defined as literary works that include “magical and supernatural elements that do not exist in the real world.”  These novels can be divided into sub-categories, including epic or high fantasy, dark fantasy, magical realism, fairy tales, fables, and more.  Common characteristics include the quest, good versus evil, and love.

Some examples of notable authors who have written Fantasy novels include J.  R.  Tolkien, George R.  R.  Martin, and C.S.  Lewis.


Examples of Fantasy novels include Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, which includes The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, as well as the prequel, The Hobbit.  In addition, the genre also includes Martin’s Game of Thrones series, such as the prequel, Fire and Blood, and the main novels, A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons.  Finally, readers interested in the Fantasy genre can pursue Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series, which includes The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle.


Many of these Fantasy novels are set in fictional locations, including Middle Earth, Narnia, and Westeros and Essos.


These novels are set during fictional time periods throughout history and the future.


Fantasy novels may be of interest to AU readers who would like to read about the mythical and the fantastical, battles of good versus evil, quest-type journeys, as well as those who would like reconnect with childhood classics and old favourites or discover a brand new genre.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to Fantasy novels are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with an AU counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic may enroll in ENGL 305: Literature for Children, a senior-level, three-credit course, which “acquaints the student with some of the more important and representative forms, authors, and works of children’s literature.”  (The current course revision includes works by C.S.  Lewis and J.  R.  R.  Tolkien.)  Happy reading!