Fantastic literature encompasses three different literary streams namely science fiction, fantasy fiction, and weird fiction, each of which has a unique rhetoric and narration style. Fantasy literature is thought to have evolved in Victorian times during the times of writers including William Morris, Lord Dunsany, and George MacDonald.
Science fiction draws themes from scientific discoveries and technological inventions and it is often set in the future where as Fantasy fiction is more of fable than fact. The fanciful and fantastic elements became hugely popular not only among the kids but also fun loving adults. For instance, the literary history of France was enriched with references to the werewolf of loup garou, the sorcerer of Jean-Pierre Lavallée and the infamous witch of La Corriveau. Fantasy fiction is more related to folklores than reality and is typically set in the distant past or in an imaginative fantasy world that is not related to the universe.
Weird fiction also known as ‘horror fiction’ or ‘dark fantasy’ set in realistic world. However the presence of some supernatural elements would make them weird and fearful. An example of this type of writing would be Cold heaven that deals with a dead man who refuses to die
Stories involving magic or terrible monsters have been in existence ever since the evolution of printed literature. Homer’s Odyssey satisfies the definition of the fantasy genre with its magic, gods, heroes, adventures and monsters.. R. R. Tolkien had played a key role in the popularization of the fantasy fiction through his highly successful publications The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien was particularly influenced by an ancient body of Anglo-Saxon myths, including Beowulf apart from many modern works such as The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison.
The contemporary authors like Terry Pratchett, J.K.Rowling, Brandon Sanderson and Scott Lynch have played a great role in enhancing the popularity of fantasy fiction. Some of the novels in this genre have also made it to the prestigious New York Times Best Seller list. The only fantasy novelists whose works have debuted at number include Robert Jordan, R. R. Martin and Neil Gaiman.
The earliest fantastic tales dating back to the Aboriginal populations were told in thirteen different languages which in itself is a proof of their popularity. These folklores that talk about witches, shamans and oracular shaking tents have become popular though the adult story tellers.