What Is Planetary Fantasy?

People have asked me this question: what is planetary fantasy?  Since Plenilune and her sequels fall into this category, I want to answer that question.

"Planetary fantasy" is a complicated genre.  It doesn't have strict boundaries, but the common theme is that these stories take place on planets other than Earth.  One of my favourites, The Worm Ouroboros, takes place on Mercury; two very popular planetary fantasies, Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, take place on Mars and Venus.  Naturally, you cannot actually live on these planets, and that is why these planetary fictions are fantasies: they build worlds and surroundings on these planets which are, of course, not supportable. 

A planetary fantasy can include anything from Jules Verne to Tolkien's Roverandom, which are a good picture of the ends of the spectrum from science fiction to totally whimsical.  In between, you may have works like C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy (which is part science fiction, but also heavily philosophical and anthropological) and The Worm Ouroboros, which is very fantastic and has strong overtones of the mythological.  Plenilune would fall between the Space Trilogy and The Worm Ouroboros in its tone: it has the casual life of The Worm Ouroboros, but also the philosophical, anthropological aspects of Lewis' works.  Naturally, it is all my own creation, but if you wanted to know where it would lie in the spectrum, about there is about right.
essentially, planetary fantasy is what it says on the tin

6 ripostes:

  1. (Ugh! My stupid computer is acting up! I just want to comment once!)
    Ahem. So does your series take place on a fictionalized actual planet (like Lewis's Mars & Venus), or is it more in the vein of "in a galaxy far, far away..."?

  2. After all the trouble you went to trying to post a comment, I almost feel bad having to tell you that you'll have to wait until July 28th to find out when you can find out what type of planetary fantasy Plenilune is. XD

  3. It's interesting because before I started reading your blog, I had not heard of planetary fantasy. I guess I knew about Lewis' Space Trilogy, but I'd not seen it referenced as anything other than science fiction. So of course when I started reading Plenilune, it was unlike anything I've ever read (which still makes sense since it is not like any other planetary fantasy either -- it's unique.) I do, however, appreciate finally being able to categorize it properly.

    Long story short I'm so glad to have been introduced to this new genre! It's outside my comfort zone - which is exactly what I love when reading new books.

  4. I never write in crazy genres just for the sake of writing in crazy genres. Like many, I suspect, I write the story which comes to me...and then I have the modern trouble of trying to summarize it into a set category, which, depending on the varying aspects I have pulled into the plot, may be hard to nearly impossible. The flexibility of "planetary fantasy" is as stress-relieving as a pair of maternity jeans. XD

  5. I've never read any planetary fantasy, but this does sound very interesting. I will have to give it a try. :)

  6. Great post! I was drawn in by the gorgeous picture (I’ve used it on my blog before. So pretty :3 ) I’ve never consider planetary fantasy as a subgenre before. Maybe the word planet made me group it more with sci-fi subgenres than with fantasy. Thanks for sharing!