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Fantasy: June 23, 2021 Issue [#10845]

 This week: Bang! Bang! Bangsian!
  Edited by: Jayne
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Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

Hi! I'm your guest editor today! You'll normally find me hiding out in mystery and contests & activities.

Word from our sponsor

Letter from the editor

When the fantasy genre comes up, most people think of lush forests and epic quests. Sometimes we lean toward the urban setting and the paranormal. We sometimes forget there's a bunch of little subgenres out there, often because most of them fall close enough to the major genre/subgenres and it's too much hassle to classify everything all the time. Yet every now and then, there's one so specific, you really can't call it anything else.

Welcome to Bangsian fiction.

This genre was named for John Kendrick Bangs, after his 1895 publication A House-Boat on the Styx. This is one of those cases where he popularized the genre, and so got his name attached to it, but this type of story existed well before it became "Bangsian". I'm sure it really ticked off some other authors. Perhaps they still complain about it in the afterlife.

According to Project Gutenberg, the ultimate definition isn't a single thing, but instead a combination of commentary. To be Bangsian, the work must:

*Bullet*focus on important literary and historical personalities
*Bullet*set such characters in the afterlife, namely, Hell
*Bullet*have slender, uncomplicated plot lines
*Bullet*be humorous
*Bullet*involve "genial adventures"

The easiest way to describe Bangsian fiction is through his own writing: A House-Boat on the Styx is full of real, but dead, characters, and he uses a fair bit of creative license with their personalities. One figure finds himself the riverboat's janitor. Shakespeare may or may not have used ghostwriters. Hamlet, Moses, and Washington make appearances. There's twelve stories in all, and a sequel, where a famous sea-captain isn't allowed membership on the boat.

Bangsian fantasy differs from Posthumous Fantasy, mostly because the literary world is complicated, but also because PF is a tale of a deceased soul on a journey of discovery, often not even knowing they're dead, and resolving the issues around that unfortunate tidbit of info. Alright, maybe it's not complicated. They're completely different, so don't get it twisted.

A more modern take on Bangsian fiction is The Heroes in Hell series by Janet Morris (et al.), first started in 1986. The main concept? A bunch of historical figures meet up in Hell and pick up where they left off on Earth. While Goodreads reviews vary, one reviewer sums up why the hardcore fans love the books: "How did this book happen? It's too stupid and too awesome to be real." Originally ending in 1989, its popularity resulted in Morris resurrecting the series in 2011. It's also a great example of knowing your audience. The reviews clearly show you can't please everyone, but you can certainly develop a dedicated following if you find your calling.

After all, there's nothing wrong with writing (or loving) a good, if possibly weird, niche.

Editor's Picks

Banished  (E)
Story written for Reedsyprompt Contest #98 about a banished Elf
#2252854 by Elfin Dragon - contest hunting

A Question of Direction  (E)
I find myself in Wonderland
#2250986 by Beholden

 Jacked  (E)
Poem for fantasy unraveled contest
#2249562 by Hang the Christmas Sox Already

Want to find contests?

Contest Clues  (E)
List of WdC Contests, Challenges, and Fundraisers. Clues To What's Open, What's Not!
#2221492 by GeminiGemđź’Ž

Writing Contests @ Writing.Com  (E)
Writing Contests on Writing.Com are posted here.
#171898 by Writing.Com Support

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Ask & Answer

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