I think between reading a few Gothics (The Fall of the House of Usher, The Turn of the Screw, The Haunting of Hill House, The Hacienda) and watching Mike Flanagan shows, I’ve scratched my Gothic itch and it’s now time for me to turn to cozy reading. And because I’m me, that means cozy fantasy.
I first learned about Cozy Fantasy when I heard about Wyngraf Magazine, which I think I learned about in the Signal Boost section of Alasdair Stuart’s The Full Lid, which I learned about because it was a Hugo nominee for best fanzine. And I was looking at the Hugo nominees because those are the awards from the World Science Fiction Convention aka Worldcon, which is mentioned on Wikipedia’s page on fandom as an early and ongoing convention. (Yes, this is an example of how my web wanderings work and how much I love to live the dream of the 1990s.)
The note about Wyngraf talked about fantasy in the vein of The Hobbit and Redwall and I thought it sounded good and like exactly what I needed in a world that has been both personally and globally terrifying for years.
Cozy fantasy is exactly what it sounds like: a cozy mystery with magic instead of murder. (Some cozy fantasy is also cozy mystery.)
Here are some cozy fantasy titles I’ve read in the past few years:
I’ve read the first issue of Wyngraf and am a little ways into the second. I believe I’ve read all the flash fiction on their website. I have the other issues, as well as their book of cozy poetry and a book compiling their flash fiction. I own the ebook of Bard City Blues. I’m currently debating whether to also buy the paperback. (Leaning toward yes.)
Cozy is a vibe: good food, good friends, low stakes. Things like opening a coffee shop or hunting for the tavern cat who’s gone missing (he’s fine, just stuck somewhere). It’s the fantasy version of a Hallmark holiday movie.
Want to join me in reading some?
Photo by Pavan Trikutam on Unsplash