Why there is no grey fantasy subgenre?

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Aegrin

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We have grimdark, some people point out noble dark, but generaly market prefers labels like high fantasy, heroic fantasy, dark fantasy etc. We know that they are atrificial tools for marketing and targeting audience. But why publishers didn't push something called "grey fantasy"? One that is not that as dark and gloomy as grimdark, but at the same time not as light as classical epic or heroic fantasy. I want to read and write morally grey stories, and I suspect such label would allow for easier discovery of books that sit between dark and bright. And I see that there are plenty of readers craving morally ambiguous characters.
 
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Stytch

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I think someone would just slap the word "gritty" on the cover somewhere to cover that, probably.
 

lonestarlibrarian

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Do you think a lot of your sword-and-sorcery already covers that territory? Or do I just accidentally have a habit of picking the ones with morally ambiguous heroes, a la Conan?
 

ChaseJxyz

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You're right that these are marketing labels, but where is "grey fantasy" going to be put? In an Amazon category? A label taped to the shelf at Half-Price Books? I'm super into birding, and you can get really granular with how you organize the books (bird guide/identification books, birds of North America, birds of the western US, birds of California, birds of San Francisco Bay, birds of San Franciso county, backyard birds of San Francisco). Which narrow category is going to be helpful to a shopper in a bookstore in Oakland? What about Oklahoma?

So if you have a bookstore/site that specializes in spec fic/SFF, then yeah, "grey fantasy" is probably going to be a shelf, but it's a little too specific for the big retailers. Libraries have their own system of headings/genres/topics and you could make an argument there for it but they're usually too busy dealing with current events to worry about this.
 

Kjbartolotta

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Might be a 'neither fish nor fowl' type situation, I suppose everyone's going to have a different idea of what constitutes the middle ground between high fantasy and grimdark.
 

benbenberi

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When I saw the term "grey fantasy" my first thought was, Oh! Someone is writing about characters who aren't still wet behind the ears!

So as a marketing category it may be challenging to sell.
 

Woollybear

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I want to read and write morally grey stories, and I suspect such label would allow for easier discovery of books that sit between dark and bright. And I see that there are plenty of readers craving morally ambiguous characters.

Couldn't those stories be written either in grim dark or in high fantasy?

Goodreads has a nice feature of compiling lists of books under a given tag. Here's one for morally gray characters. You might find some marketing ideas within the titles. Good luck!
 

frimble3

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When I saw the term "grey fantasy" my first thought was, Oh! Someone is writing about characters who aren't still wet behind the ears! <br>
<br>
I had the same thought - the old wizard, the queen mother, the aging knight and the princess-past-her-sell-by-date go on a quest. Or, save the kingdom.<br>
<br>
But, yeah, a marketing nightmare - where do you draw the line? One reader's 'morally ambiguous' is another's 'grimdark'. <br>
I think it's an author-by-author thing, as a variety of writers will have a variety of tones, and this is more about 'tone' than anything else.
 
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