dark fantasy n.
a subgenre of fantasy that features gloomy or frightening themes, incorporating elements of horror n.
1941 (title of radio show)
1973 Dark Fantasy Summer 1 (title of magazine)
Her work has shown wide variety, ranging through dark fantasy and horror to quirky and original science fiction.
Supernatural or occult fiction, weird tales, dark fantasy, and tales of terror are but a few of the euphemisms behind which the dreaded word horror is sometimes concealed—and lurking.
How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction 5
‘Dark fantasy’ is today’s posh word for ‘horror’; Barker’s considerable talents in this area lead to a few gobs of gratuitous nastiness, and also some terrific creations.
in White Dwarf Dec. 13/1
If you want angst—massive, high-G guilt and anguish—Stephen R. Donaldson has an unfailing supply. Applied to fantasy, in several previous series, this proclivity gave his work a gritty, offbeat, though frequently repellent power. His new ‘Gap’ series translates dark fantasy into dark sf without missing a beat.
in Locus June 51/1
1992 Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Bulletin Winter 12/2
I find myself writing…a story that is a mix of horror and sf, or dark fantasy.
I think we define Dark Fantasy a bit differently. For me, the Gothic fiction of the eighteenth and nineteeth centuries and the Dark Fantasy of the twentieth form a continuum. Horror fiction can be either realistic or supernatural. But the word fantasy in Dark Fantasy limits the term to that involving the supernatural. I'm oversimplifying, I know: not all Gothic fiction involved the supernatural, but most of it did—ghosts and demons, often. And I use Dark Fantasy to mean the same sort of material today, even though it has more vampires than demons! But I admit there are bothersome borderlines—a number of today’s vampire’s are rationalized: they are a separate, parasitical race, sometimes. And because of tradition I'd include those in Dark Fantasy also.
Niekas interviews Darrell Schweitzer in Niekas July 8/1
2001 Locus June 27/1
Back in the 1980s, one of the best things that happened to dark fantasy and horror was the Night Visions original anthology series.
Weird Tales, although publishing dark fantasy for many years, does not publish what I consider horror. The difference? A matter of degree.
Short Horror Fiction 2002 in Locus Apr. 74/1
Research HistoryJeff Prucher submitted a 1991 cite from Faren Miller's review column in Locus.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 2003 cite from Ellen Datlow in Locus.
Joe Christopher submitted a 1998 cite from his interview with Darrell Schweitzer in the fanzine Niekas.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1973 cite from the second issue of the fanzine Dark Fantasy.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1987 cite from J.N. Williamson's "How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction".
Dave Langford submitted a 1987 cite from Langford's reviews column in "White Dwarf".
Randy Hoffman mentioned that there was a SF/horror radio show named "Dark Fantasy" which aired in the US circa 1942; we later found essays about this show, which premiered 14 November 1941, some episodes of which still survive.
Last modified 2021-11-06 13:49:28
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.