What if we didn’t need to travel to Hogwarts or Middle Earth? What if we could find fantasy on Earth, on every street corner and in every shop? No secret world. No portal to another realm. But on Earth, blending seamlessly with the modern…

Epic Modern Fantasy (EMF) aims to bring the world-building, scale and sheer imaginative force of epic fantasy to a modern setting. In essence, it is taking Epic Fantasy and putting it in the modern-world and examining all the consequences.

But what about urban fantasy?

Urban Fantasy, in essence, is the blending of the magical with the modern. It’s a genre about placing fantasy, whatever elements that may include, into a modern setting. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation. In practice, urban fantasy contains noire wizard detective stories, a cascade of romances involving vampires and lycanthropes, and many the snarky monster hunter.

But urban fantasy, more often than not but with some great exceptions, balks at the idea of actually embracing the merger between magic and modern. In Rylee Adamson and Dresden Files, wizards and the supernatural have a disabling or altering effect on technology. Even in Kate Daniels, where magic is practiced openly, the modern is being eroded by magic, until its effectively more an epic fantasy in the vestiges of a modern world.

EMF wants to embrace the merger of magic and modernity. It wants to depict the rise of fae run cafes, the takeover of big businesses by literal dragons, the prevalence of ghost taxis in the cities and, for some author, even the grand political consequences of magic coming into the world.

Secret worlds can work in urban fantasy, but this isn’t what EMF wants. We want to dive into the glorious world-building of an Earth gone fantastical, and craft our own alternative reality. It isn’t enough to throw in some secret magic in the shadows of reality. We want to re-shape reality!

EMF does not toy around with keeping magic a secret. In EMF, it’s practiced openly, with the fantasy elements being public knowledge and having a profound effect on the modern world. But not just that. EMF also depicts how modernity affects magic.


EMF isn’t just about the blending of modern and magic. It’s also about scale. Think of the epic battles of Lord of the Rings. The grand political machinations of Game of Thrones. Epic fantasy has a sense of scale that can’t help but draw you in until you want to live in it. Or can’t help but believe you already are…

EMF wants to bring this sense of scale and epic-level stakes and conflict to a modern setting. There’s nothing inherent in the modern world that should deny us large-scale battles like that of Helmsdeep in Lord of the Rings. Just replace swords with guns, and have wizards leading their fireteams.

But even if the scale isn’t depicted in battles, it can still be in the development of the world. Just the idea that there’s more to the world than just the main character’s backyard goes far to add to its level of epic scale.

Character AND World Driven

Epic Fantasy often relies on the world to drive it. Urban Fantasy is more often character focused. But this is a false dichotomy. Characters exist in a world, and worlds are inhabited by characters. The way they interact with each other is what produces a story.

EMF is an opportunity to investigate the big and small. To delve into detailed world building and magic systems that make the universe of each book seem lived-in and grand. But also, to be intimate with characters and their lives, and see them as friends and colleagues alongside you in this world that now seems so vivid in your mind.

In Summary

Epic Modern Fantasy is an answer to the motley themes present in Urban Fantasy. Simply, it takes the world-building and scale of Epic Fantasy and puts it in a modern setting. No secret world. An open, fantasy world. That happens to be modern Earth.

Epic Modern Fantasies

  • Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews is broadly EMF. It takes places after a magical apocalypse and examines the effects of magical catastrophe on modern society. The scale of the battles also gets pretty big and, in a word, epic.
  • The Shadowrun universe is arguably EMF, but also drifts into cyberpunk. It depicts a future where many humans have become fantastical beings and embraced magic. If you love cyberpunk and fantasy, definitely check out the games!

If you love the sound of EMF, then I have a recommendation for you. My Kat Drummond Series is tailor-made to be EMF.

Set after magic flooded into the world through rifts, the series depicts Kat Drummond, a monster hunter who battles creatures from various mythologies and fantastical sources to pay the rent.

The world is heavily detailed, the characters are complex and loveable, and the conflict is epic. Definitely give it a read!


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