I apologize for leaving you all hanging last week. There were so many responses to the previous post that I hadn’t quite finished sorting through them before needing to leave for a weekend vacation with a friend.
I’m finally back with the long (verrrry long) awaited answer to naming The Fair Unknown, this type of story that doesn’t fit neatly into any other genres.
WAIT. Before you roll your eyes and click off the page, read the rest of the article, please, and then think about it for a few minutes before you form your opinion.
Kingdom Adventure covers all the stories set in completely fictional worlds without magic, different natural laws, other races besides humans, portals, or any other fantasy elements.
A kingdom or multiple kingdoms– often medieval in aura, a hero/ine coming of age in a battle for the country/throne, sword fights, spies. Sometimes a Supreme God figure is present, other times there is none. Usually the cultures resemble various Earth cultures but are somewhat different in cultural attitudes.
Rachel Rossano’s Anavrea series, Jessica Greyson’s Annabeth’s War and Captive of Raven Castle, Sarah Holman’s Tales of Taelis, Sarah Addison-Fox’s Disowned
It’s impossible to determine who wrote the first book in this genre or when. Currently, it’s most popular among the writers of clean fiction who don’t want to write historical fiction or fantasy but want something between the two.
Technically, this genre sub-classifies under Adventure. For more information, read this post.
Kingdom Adventure vs. Non-Magical Fantasy
Primarily, the difference between these two is that non-magical fantasy can– and often does– contain other races besides humans. Kingdom Adventure does not. For example, Jaye L. Knight’s Illyon Chronicles would be classified non-magical fantasy or low fantasy, due to the presence of the Ryrik race, but Jessica Greyson’s Captive of Raven Castle is Kingdom Adventure.
Non-Magical Fantasy can also contain alternative natural laws to those of Earth. Kingdom Adventure does not.
Kingdom Adventure vs. Low Fantasy:
Magic can and sometimes does exist in Low Fantasy, as do other races besides humans, and natural laws different to those of Earth. Kingdom Adventure contains none of these.
Kingdom Adventure vs. Historical Fantasy:
Historical fantasy is fantasy elements added to real-world Earth History. Kingdom Adventure is a purely fictional world with no in-universe ties to Earth.
For a further breakdown on why Kingdom Adventure is distinct from fantasy sub- genres, check out this post.
But what about when it doesn’t fit Kingdom Adventure either?
What about those stories in this genre that don’t have kingdoms? you ask, as did everyone whom I asked about the new name. That, my dear writers, is when we do what everyone writing a genre bender does, namely: describe it as ‘Kingdom Adventure but in a Wild West world!’ or ‘Kingdom Adventure but there’s no kingdom, it’s a society ruled by trade guilds’. Sometimes there isn’t a genre for everything, just one for almost everything.
Further examination of Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series has concluded that the books aren’t Kingdom Adventure, but in fact, low fantasy, given the presence of the Kalkara and Wargal races in the first two books. The rest of the books could technically qualify as Kingdom Adventure.
Writers and Readers
Let me hear from you, please! Like/dislike the name? Did I make clear the distinction between Kingdom Adventure and Non-Magical Fantasy? Will you promote the new genre name?
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Mirriam Neal, who spent hours hashing it out with me over at least three separate days, + texted me for a whole morning while putting one week’s post together + came up with the final name in an offhand comment (that’s a story for later); Kate Tanzen and Jennifer Freitag for letting me throw things at them and responding despite being tired; Rachel Rossano, Kate Tanzen, and Jessica Greyson for discussing the pros and cons of the final name choice with me; Deborah O’Carroll, Christine Smith, and Tracey Dyck for hashing the genre question out via email; all the members of the Clean Indie Fantasy, Arista’s Band of Fairy Tale Re-tellers, and Indie E-Con Facebook groups for their feedback; and everyone who commented either here or on Facebook with feedback and input. You all helped put this together, and I hope you’re pleased with the result.
Merry Writing… and may all your Kingdom Adventure be terrific!