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Early fantasy and science fiction took place...
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Early fantasy and science fiction took place in times the authors lived in. Why did fantasy become overwhelmingly medieval and science fiction become overwhelmingly thousands of years into the future? Why didn't we get Great Depression fantasy, WWII fantasy, hippie counterculture fantasy, etc.? Why didn't urban fantasy become the most common form of fantasy?
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I'm going to suggest Tolkien as the answer.
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Maybe because people in the pre-modern world already lived in a magic world? Also the pre-modern world was pretty stable and stagnant.
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>>7680267
This.
Fantasy genre has been entwined with escapism since Tolkien. Most of fantasy writers dream of a world without modernity and the problems of today.
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>>7680261

>Great Depression fantasy

I mean, Grapes of Wrath had some elements that could be arguably considered "fantastic" in that sense. But holy hell I'd read the shit out of some Great Depression fantasy.
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>>7680385

The only Great Depression fantasy I can think of is a TV show.
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>>7680385
>I mean, Grapes of Wrath had some elements that could be arguably considered "fantastic" in that sense

like what? i read it p recentltyy and not sure what you mean?
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>>7680261
There are likely some fantasy and science fiction pulps that used their era as a backdrop or starting point.
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_realism
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>>7680261
Neverwhere and pretty much anything from Charles de Lint.
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>>7682076
>seriously recommending a novel based on a tv series
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>>7680267
Tolkien is the obvious answer, but escapist, 'medieval' fantasy existed way before then, e.g. Conan and other sword and sorcery, or Lord Dunsany's stuff.
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>>7680261
>all dystopian fantasy takes place in the future
>just everything is medieval as fuck
>battle axes and swords and magic
>a lot of fantasy is disguised as science fiction
>star wars is fucking wizards shooting lighting and fighting with swords because "the force"

science fiction is generally set in the future because it's easier to speculated on how scientific advancements might affect what it means to exist and what life might be like in the future.

>why didnt urban fantasy become the most common form of fantasy
because western civilization peaked 1500 years ago and everyone wants to be a roman.
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>>7680261

It's been alluded to, in particular re Fantasy, but the two genres have a fundamentally different essence and purpose. I think escapism is a decent way to encapsulate Fantasy, but Science Fiction is oriented toward 'what if' and possibilities and how things might develop. It seems to me like that's what has driven the tendency mentioned in OP for Fantasy to be set in the past and SF the future.
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>>7682149
I like it when authors pretend to be science fiction but invent a time machine that takes them so far forward in the future that they end up in the past.
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>>7680393
Was this cool?
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>>7683649

Yes, but like Twin Peaks it ends on a cliffhanger and unlike Twin Peaks it's not getting a third season anytime soon.
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>>7680261
Because autism.
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I assumed fantasy was always only medieval because the people of those eras already believed in a lot of the kind of thing in most fantasy, whereas if you encountered a troll or Dragon in the wild west, you can only imagine them freaking out, while a medieval would be surprised, but it is already a thing they believe exists.

Also, we have Victorian fantasy: Dracula.
And Victorian SF, for that matter: Frankenstein.
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