What is Fantasty?

posted by emillion 2007-06-26

Fantasy is not just 'pointed ears.'  It is not just heroic sword and sorcery.  So... what is it?

Things that will be fairly automatically all right are:

  • Magic or glowy bits, flying, levitating, defying the rules of physics, etc
  • Steampunk elements, future tech, or current tech creatively applied. A cellphone is not future tech. But a cellphone imbedded in an arm, sure!
  • 'Hard' science fiction. Spaceships, laser guns, futuristic cities and pulp pilots with funny spacesuits are all fine.
  • Fantasy creatures. Dragons, unicorns, fairies, elves, angels are all great. Add wings to a normal animal, an irregular horn, or combine animals, and you're okay.
  • Animals doing distinctly human things or displaying obvious anthromorphic features. A picture of an ordinary looking wolf who happens to be a shapechanged human would not be enough - because we won't know the difference between that and a regular wolf. A wolf on hindlegs may not be enough to pass our critics, as wolves can take that position. A wolf sitting at a computer drinking coffee is a good example of fantasy!
  • Mythological subjects. See below for more restrictions regarding religion.
  • Monsters, vampires, ghosts. Vampires have to show teeth, or have no reflection, or have cat-eyes - again, no ordinary looking people that simply could be beyond ordinary.
  • Obvious anachronisms.  A historical portrait of an ancient greek orator holding a modern weapon or a medieval serf riding a Harley would be appropriate.
  • Classical fantasy/historical subject.  While a portrait of a Regency lady may not be appropriate, most medieval portraits would be because of the long and glorious history of sword and sorcery. Egyptian themes are likely to be accepted for the same reason, as well as Vikings and Greeks and other often-fantasized/idealized societies. Historical work must have a fantastic flavor to it, and each non-obvious case will be decided by the crticis.
Religious Themes

Religion is a little trickier and will be decided on a case-by-case basis by our critics.

Winged humans are permitted, whether they are considered angels or fantasy creatures of another kind.  Eastern gods such as Buddha or Krishna would be fine, as would depictions of Gaia or Herne - provided they are not simply in human form doing human things.  In each case, there must be some fantastic element (Jesus hanging out at the docks talking to fishers would not be accepted) and there must be respect.  Depictions of documented actions of saints in Christian history would not be acceptable, as many would consider them 'historical' and not 'fantasy.'  If your work could be construed as possibly offensive, it will not be accepted (regardless of whether that was your intention or not). 

In all cases, critic consensus will be the final decision.