Sword and Sorcery/Planet, Swashbuckling and Military Fantasy
By Elaine Patterson, Newbridge Headquarters.
Sword and Sorcery Fantasy and Sword and Planet Fantasy
Sword and Sorcery Fantasy focuses on sword-wielding heroes and their adventures to save the day, and includes magic (which is usually restricted to the villains). Stories in this sub-genre do not tend to be complex, with the focus being more on action scenes and entertainment than sweeping story arcs. The stakes tend to be more personal than world-threatening. Characters and plots are well-developed and there is a high level of violence given that the emphasis is on adventure and action.
The Sword and Planet Fantasy sub-genre is very similar to Sword and Sorcery, with the difference being that the adventures take place in space. This sub-genre is a blend of Fantasy and Science Fiction with high adventure included, taking place on alien worlds to which the main character (usually male) has somehow been transported. The level of magic and characterisation in this sub-genre tends to be low, while plot tends to be solid and the level of violence high.
Related Fantasy sub-genres are High, Heroic, and Series Fantasy. While the following books are examples only of Sword and Sorcery, they will give you a good idea of what Sword and Planets books are like.
Swashbuckling fantasy is all about adventure and a band of brave heroes fighting for what’s right. The amount of magic in Swashbuckling Fantasy varies, while there is a high level of violence, usually in the form of sword fights. Often there will be a political message present and both the characters and the plot are well-developed.
Swashbuckling Fantasy tends to cross over with Heroic, and Sword and Sorcery Fantasy.
The following are examples of Swashbuckling Fantasy.
Military Fantasy is specifically about military life and may focus on a solider or a group who is part of a military. Magic may be used in place of weapons and armour, and military fantasy stories are very plot-driven. Due to the nature of such stories, there is a high level of violence present. Authors may or may not explore ideas such as morality in these stories and the level of characterisation depends on the story and/or author.
Military Fantasy crosses over with Epic and Gritty fantasy. The books below are examples of Military Fantasy.