The Silk Road


Carrying on with my exploration of sub-genres, when I came across discussion of silk road fantasy, I was curious – I’d never heard of this sub-genre before. Read  the compilation (from Best Fantasy Books) of what makes this type of fantasy stand out, and let us know in the comments section if you’ve read anything of this type before. If not, does it sound like something you might enjoy?

Silk Road Fantasy takes fantasy out of the European setting and draws upon the geography, history, myth, and lore of Asia.

  • The most general definition of Silk Road Fantasy is fantasy set outside the Great Wall of Europe. But, the name Silk Road evokes a deeper definition, one that calls upon the historical significance of the Silk Road.


  • The Silk Road is a real, historical place, or rather series of connected places. It is an ancient network of trade routes that were central to commerce and cultural interaction throughout the various regions of the Asian continent. The name comes from the lucrative silk trade that was carried throughout its network. The Silk Road’s historical significance is due to its influence on the development of civilizations—the long-distance relations (economic, political, cultural) that developed between the civilizations of China, the Indian subcontinent, Persia, Europe, the Horn of Africa, and Arabia. With all the connections and exchanges, this is a place ripe for storytelling.


  • The magic of Silk Road Fantasy is different from the typical European-centric Fantasy. Magic is often tied into the myths and religions of the region the setting is based on. Thus, Silk Road Fantasy has magic that is steeped in the history and lore of Asia.


  • The silk road has a rich history to draw from, it is a rich place to start a fantasy story. A road where the next oasis brings us something new and different, not just commodities in a bazaar, but spiritual insight. Readers will encounter grand ideas about philosophy, religion, economics, and politics.


  • Silk Road Fantasy, as the name suggest, often tells stories of journeys. While, not all Silk Road Fantasy takes the sub-genre’s name literally and sets the story on the silk road, the journey is still an important trope of Silk Road Fantasy. The journey and all the potential conflicts along the way make for complex, and surprising plots. These are stories that will take readers from the golden sands of deserts to the windswept steppes and higher still.

– See more at Best Fantasy Books

2 thoughts on “The Silk Road

  1. Intereting. Yes, I have read (and enjoyed) pieces from this sub-genre. However, I resent the idea that everything HAS to fit neatly into a genre definition. I can see no reason why books can dance over the definitions and leap boundaries.


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