Magical Realism

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: magic realism
Related: Bodyswap, Genderswap, Merpeople, Wings in Fanworks
See Also: Magic (trope)
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Magical realism, or magic realism, is a genre in which fantastical or otherworldly elements are present in what is an otherwise ordinary or mundane setting.

Bodyswap, genderswap, wingfic and other such tropes often fall into this genre, particularly when the physical change in question happens suddenly or without explanation. Time distortions, psychic abilities, curses and the appearance of mythical creatures (e.g. dragons) are also not uncommon.

The balance between magical and mundane is the defining characteristic of this genre; therefore, fics set in environments that are canonically magical or in any way extraordinary (e.g. Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, are generally not considered examples of magical realism.

History of the Genre

The first emergence of magical realism in fanfiction is unclear.

Magical realism was highly visible from the early 2000s through the mid 2000s in RPF fandoms such as popslash, bandom and Lotrips; the genre's dependence on real world settings means that it has been warmly embraced by RPF fandoms.

It was also popular in Due South. A fan wrote: ""For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture" is possibly the most useful phrase EVAR. Every fandom should have something akin... it's just unfortunate every fandom isn't steeped in convention-warping magical realism." [1]

Examples in Fanfiction

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Popslash & Bandom

Other Fandoms



  1. ^ Sexuality and slash fandom (2007 post), indywind