Psychedelic Fantasy: A Simple Guide (2024 Version)

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Fantasy authors are known for taking elements of other genres and weaving them into fantasy for truly unique crossover genres like psychedelic fantasy. With the endless numbers of genres that exist, this means that there are an endless number of stories to tell. 

Combing two genres together is not a new idea. It has been happening since people began writing fiction. Sometimes authors will combine two genres that seem to have nothing in common for a novel that bends the ideas we have of traditional fantasy. Other times, authors will combine two closely related genres for a story that pushes the limits of what these genres typically are. 

Psychedelic fantasy is a genre that does not get a lot of attention. At first glance, these two genres may seem entirely different, but they are actually quite similar in many ways. Psychedelic fantasy novels are unique and creative, and they take a special kind of person to write them. It is a genre that will leave you scratching your head and questioning the world we live in. Keep reading to find out more about this interesting and unique genre. 

The Psychedelic Genre 

Psychedelic novels are not an incredibly popular genre, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have merit. Psychedelic authors are some of the most creative and inventive writers out there. It is definitely a genre worth looking into. 

The term “psychedelic” is often associated with drugs that produce hallucinations. While this is definitely a correct definition, it does not totally apply to the genre of psychedelic novels. A more fitting definition for psychedelic novels would be a novel that expands the reader’s consciousness. 

A psychedelic novel can include just about anything. Often, psychedelic writers have ideas come to them in dreams, and we all know how logical those are sometimes. Logic does not have to exist in a psychedelic novel. In fact, logic is often reversed and the events that occur in the novel seem to be the most illogical thing that could possibly happen. 

Psychedelic Fantasy 

psychedelic fantasy fanart

As you probably know, a fantasy novel requires elements of magic or the supernatural to be categorized into the genre. These elements blend very well with many psychedelic novels because of the inherently fantastic nature of a psychedelic novel. A purely psychedelic novel may not have wizards or dragons, but when these two genres are put together, they can create some of the most interesting stories you will ever read. 

Psychedelic fantasy is a great genre for someone who is looking to escape the real world. In this genre, there is almost no sense of realism. Anything can happen. This is part of what makes the genre so exciting to read. You never know what is going to happen next. You could have 100 different ideas in your head about where the story is going, but it often takes a completely different turn than you ever imagined. Psychedelic fantasy novels will keep the reader turning their pages. 

Psychedelic fantasy is such an interesting genre, but it is not one that everyone will find appealing. It is, however, a genre that is worth exploring. When you need an escape from the mundane reality of life, psychedelic fantasy will take you far away from anything “boring.” 

Examples of Psychedelic Fantasy 

By now you have probably come to realize that psychedelic fantasy is not a genre that appeals to every type of reader. It has elements that require a certain type of reader to fully appreciate. Because of the nature of the genre, it requires a good amount of concentration and focus to understand what is happening sometimes. 

Even if psychedelic fantasy does not seem like your cup of tea, it is a genre that is worth exploring perhaps once. You may find that it is actually an interesting and unique genre that deserves more attention than it currently receives. Check out the recommendations below if you are ready to dip your toes into the world of psychedelic fantasy. 

The Exploits of Engelbrecht

The Exploits of Engelbrecht is a 1950 novel by Maurice Richardson. If you are looking for truly psychedelic fantasy in every sense, look no further. This novel has everything that would classify it as a psychedelic fantasy, and then some. 

The focal point of this novel is the Surrealist Sportsman’s Club which is home to a number of surrealist and psychedelic sports and games. This novel largely follows Engelbrecht who is a surrealist dwarf boxer. He mainly fights clocks. Some of the other sports that exist within this club are rugby matches between the planet Mars and the entire human race. There are also chess matches using boy scouts and nuclear bombs as chess pieces. 

Clearly, this novel will not disappoint if a psychedelic novel is something that interests you. Along with all of the psychedelic elements throughout, there are also bits of magic and the supernatural making it a great choice for someone looking to get into the psychedelic fantasy genre. 

Only Forward 

Only Forward is a 1994 novel by Michael Marshall Smith. This novel is definitely psychedelic and will leave you questioning so many of the things that occur throughout. In this book, a high-profile kidnapping is the bulk of the main storyline. 

The city in which the novel takes place is divided into many neighborhoods. These neighborhoods each cater to the likes and dislikes of the residents who live there. There is a neighborhood that is only for cats, a neighborhood in which residents jump on trampolines trying to get to heaven, and the Red neighborhood, which is home to gangs, crime, and many psychedelic elements. 

Though this novel does not contain any “magic” in the traditional sense, it does contain elements of fantasy. Most of the fantastic elements in this novel are tied to the supernatural. There are discussions of the afterlife, the shape of human souls, and moral philosophy. These discussions combined with the many psychedelic elements throughout the novel make for a story you won’t soon forget. 

Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron 

A much more recent psychedelic fantasy novel is Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron, which is a 2009 novel by Jasper Fforde. This novel takes place in an alternate reality of Manchester, England. In this world, a person’s social class is determined by their ability to see colors. Every color in the world has an effect on people. Some colors heal while others can kill. 

This novel is a much “lighter” version of psychedelic fantasy than the examples outlined above. While the elements of a psychedelic fantasy are still there, they are greatly toned down. What you are left with is a great story with characters that you will come to love. If you are unsure about reading a psychedelic fantasy, this novel is a great place to start. 

Psychedelic Fantasy: Conclusion

I hope this article has helped clarify what this genre is exactly.

And if you want to read more about different types of fantasy subgenres, check out:

Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another fiction-literature-related topic!

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