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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

April 25, 2024

V is for Visionary Fiction #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter V

For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the genre/category and an example or two. I would love to know your thoughts on the genre/category and if you have any reading suggestions. Be sure to check out all of my A to Z posts.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. 

Visionary fiction is another new-to-me genre. It is a relatively new genre. The term was first coined in the 1980s and by the 2000s it had become a recognized genre. 

So what is visionary fiction?

It is often considered a subgenre of speculative fiction (though there are some who think it is a subgenre of inspirational fiction). I think it might be similar to quantum fiction, though quantum fiction is probably more aligned with science fiction and focused more on the physical. Visionary fiction may be closer to what we think of as fantasy or paranormal. It is more focused on consciousness. 

According to Wikipedia, visionary fiction has New Age or mind, body, spirit themes and perspectives. It may include conscious expansion, mysticism, spirituality, and/or parapsychology. Visionary fiction can also be called metaphysical fiction and at Amazon the category is Metaphysical & Visionary fiction.

As a young genre, there is still a lot of discussion of what is and is not visionary fiction (some argue that it shouldn't be paired with metaphysical fiction). There are organizations that are devoted to visionary fiction and defining the genre. 

Visionary Fiction Alliance is such an organization and defines visionary fiction as fiction that "embraces spiritual and esoteric wisdom, often from ancient sources, and makes it relevant for our modern life. These gems of wisdom are brought forth in story form and in a way that readers can experience the wisdom from within themselves. It emphasizes and envisions humanity's transition into evolved consciousness. While there is a strong theme, it in no way proselytizes or preaches. Visionary is a tone as well as a genre. The ‘visionary’ element can technically be present in any genre and set in any time."

The Wikipedia article gave the breadcrumb search terms to find visionary fiction on Amazon (I think Amazon has reorganized as I found Metaphysical & Visionary fiction before I finished following the breadcrumbs - you can just click the above link). 

I recognized 3 books at Amazon that is in the category. At least 2 of the books (and possibly all three) have elements of magical realism so I have to wonder if magical realism is a form of visionary fiction.  The three titles I recognized are really popular but I'm not sure how many people would have called them visionary fiction. Probably because, like me, they didn't know such a genre existed.  

What are those three titles?

The first title I recognized was also mentioned in the Wikipedia article as an example. It's won several awards and if you are looking for more translated fiction since reading my T post, then this book should be on your list. It was translated from Portuguese (I've not read a Portuguese novel so another reason it is on my list to read). It is #3 on the Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction best sellers list at Amazon.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

book cover of Visionary fiction novel The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom, and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.

Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, following our dreams.

Buy The Alchemist at Amazon

The second novel I recognized I tried to listen to as an audiobook but I couldn't follow the story. That is often the case for me when a book has elements of magical realism. It is #42 on the Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction best sellers list.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

book cover of Visionary fiction novel The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Buy The Night Circus at Amazon

The third book that I recognized is a book that my post-apocalyptic book read. I feel like it might have had elements of magical realism but I can't quite remember. I definitely see the consciousness (or self-awareness) theme in this book. It is #74 on the Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction best sellers list.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro 

book cover of Visionary Fiction novel Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change forever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.

In Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

Buy Klara and the Sun at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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  1. Even though I loved the alchemist, i never heard the term visionary fiction before. after your definition of it, i'm surprised to see the night circus on the list, read as pure fantasy to me. i'll have to add klara and the sun to my tbr list

  2. Visionary fiction is also a new term for me. All these labels, genres, sub genres etc reflects a modern propensity to put everything and everyone in neat boxes. Can't we simply say, it's not this or that, but a bit of both and something else?

  3. Visionary fiction is a new genre for me, but I have been curious about The Night Circus.

  4. These sound like great recommendations. No sure if I have ever heard the term "Visionary Fiction" either.
    Tim Brannan
    The Other Side: 2024 A to Z of Dungeons & Dragons.