Core Best Fantasy Lists
Best Yearly Lists
Best Decade Lists
Best Thematic Lists
Best Subgenre Lists
Fantasy Award Winners
Fantasy Guides
Movies & Games Lists
Fantasy Subgenres


img img img img img img img img


What is Fables?

We all know, and mostly love, fables. They are perfect for the fantasy genre because their very conception includes magic in the form of anthropomorphized animals, plants, objects, forces of nature, and mythical creatures. The classic Fable that’s indicative of the genre as a whole are the Grimm Brother tales. The Fable is not strictly a fantasy subgenre, but rather exists as a more broader category.

Fables, as a genre, could (loosely) include fantasy subgenres such as Celtic fantasy, Arthurian fantasy, and Mythic Fantasy though Fables tend to sway more towards some kind of morality lesson being imparted to a callow youth by the end of the tale.

In the realm of Fantasy fiction, fables are expanded by giving them more back story and filling in details that are missing from the original, concise version. They may also be a re-fabrication of the original fable, with only the “moral of the story” intact.

The perspective of a fable is often from that of a child or take place in the transition of young adult to adult, wherein some lasting piece of moral tale can be imparted to the youth before the transition to adult occurs.

Since fables don't usually specify any particular place or time, authors are free to invent worlds as in any other sub-genre of fantasy.

These types of stories are still popular among young adults, although in general the field has recently not been very active.

Today, most fantasy fables written tend to be adult fables as opposed to fables for children. These modern Fable tales rework some of the classic fables into a structure that adult readers enjoy.


Characteristics of Fables

  • Level of Magic

    Magic is central to these works, as they are to the original folklore. Quite often Fable fantasy tales may include nature as a force for magic ((Druidic magic) or some type of supernatural powers that derive from mythical peoples (e.g. Faerie magic).

  • Level of Characterization

    Because the storylines are pretty slim, authors must spend a lot of time developing the characters most of know only as a name and a few facts. Much more details about the workings of their inner mind is necessary to keep the motivation clear.

  • Level of Plot Complexity

    Varies. Some Fable books may be simplistic, though at present, quite a few authors are rewriting fables/folklore with more complex characters and plots.

  • Level of Violence

    Usually low.

Related Fantasy Subgenres



Fables Fantasy Isn’t For You If...

You're older than young adulthood, you don’t like pseudo history, or if you aren't familiar with fables at all

Best (Modern) Fable Stories