Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Heroic Fantasy

There may be a useful distinction between HF and Sword and Sorcery, but no one has yet made it. The term itself – like Dark Fantasy, often used as an "up-market" term for Horror – was almost certainly coined in an attempt to avoid the garishness of the S&S tag. This seems an inadequate reason to adopt a term which might seem synonymous with Epic Fantasy (itself a term little used in this encyclopedia, and for similar reasons). A term like Hero Fantasy might be more arguable, because a central thread in any analysis of S&S is the understanding that it is a kind of Genre Fantasy which features a Hero. In this encyclopedia, the term Sword and Sorcery, being familiar and self-evident, appears often; the type of fantasy of which S&S is a facet is neologistically referred to as Adventurer Fantasy. [JC]

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.