Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Underworld

A term sometimes used to describe those parts of a City occupied by criminals or an underclass or – in fantasy texts – Wainscot societies which may not be human at all. More frequently what is being described is the land of the dead. It is usually thought to lie beneath the world, and is often called Hades, after the Greek god who rules it, or Hell; it may Parody the world of the living, or work as a Mirror (>>> As Above, So Below), or serve as a venue for Afterlife existences, some of them – as in John Kendrick Bangs's Riverboat sequence – perfectly pleasant. [JC]

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.