What Is Visionary Fiction?

What Is Visionary Fiction?

Visionary Fiction embraces spiritual and esoteric wisdom, often from ancient sources, and makes it relevant for our modern life. Gems of this spiritual wisdom are brought forth in story form so that readers can experience the wisdom from within themselves. Visionary fiction emphasizes the future 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.

Characteristic Features of  Visionary Fiction:

Catalina Mountains, AZ (V. Smith)

Catalina Mountains, AZ (V. Smith)

  • Growth in consciousness is the central theme of the story and drives the protagonist, and/or other important characters.
  • The story oftentimes uses reincarnation, dreams, visions, paranormal events, psychic abilities, and other metaphysical plot devices.
  • The plot [or story] is universal in its worldview and scope.

So in short, the emphasis is on our limitless human potential, where transformation and evolution are entirely possible.

“Visionary Fiction speaks the language of the soul. It offers a vision of humanity as we dream it could be.”   ~ Jodine Turner


If you are a writer whose fiction fits the above definition, or you are a reviewer or publisher or even reader of VF, then perhaps you would like to join us.

61 Responses to What Is Visionary Fiction?

  1. I too write Visionary Fiction; I'm all for it! How do I join you?

  2. Thank you Saleena. I know we've met before. You posted a comment on my guest blog at http://booksbywomen.org/initiation-into-authorshi

  3. Eleni sent me a VFA badge or banner to post 'on my site'. If she meant my Blog; ( http://esmeellid.blogspot.com ) where my latest post is an article on Visionary Fiction, I tried to post it there but could only get the URL link to appear. I think I was mean to post the banner, but I can't work out how to do it. Tried several times. The other query is, surely the banner need to be posted somewhere it can appear permanently and not need to be posted every time I write a new post. Can anyone help me with this, please?

  4. Thanks Saleena, I'll try that.

    Sorry I mis-spelled my link, which should have been, http://esmeellis.blogspot.com By sidebar, do you mean where 'My Profile' now is. on the R.H. side of the blog articles? The Profile, of course, doesn't change when the blogs change!

  5. Thanks again. Ive just been on my blog and found most of what I need on my Layout and add html javascript. But will wait til someone who knows what they're doing better than me, to come and help. I don't want to muck things up and not be able to change them back!!! It may take a day or two.

  6. The instructions for Blogger worked OK, thanks, but there was a problem.

    I entered in the html link which Eleni gave me – the one which I thought carried the VFA banner that she asked me to post on my site, but all that came up — and I did it correctly — was a tiny (?) in a blue box by my 'About ' profile on the R H side. When I clicked it, (the ?) it took me to this site. The one I'm writing on now! No banner image appeared. Does this mean Eleni gave me the wrong link, or was the ? all that was mean to appear? If so, I don't think anyone would understand what it was for, and wouldn't bother clicking it.

  7. PS this was the link Eleni gave me.

  8. elenistoryteller says:

    Hi Esme. The link is correct. I've forwarded you instructions on how to put it up on Blogger. One of the members sent in the instructions yesterday. Good luck!

  9. elenistoryteller says:

    Oh, I see you've been given the instructions already. I'm not sure what the problem is as I checked the link, and it works fine. Can you send over the code your using to my email?

  10. NadineMay says:

    I could not have said it any better that you have done! Thank you!

  11. Pingback: What Is Visionary Fiction? | The End of Time

  12. Hi, This is so excting for me. My attempt at writing a science fiction/fantasy, 3037 was hated by both the science fiction and fantasy fans. It ws loved by the metaphysical fans. Then I wrote the sequel, TIME AND TIME AGAIN and had the same reaction. It left me wondering if I had both books in the wrong category, but I didn't know where else to put them.

    After reading your characteristics features of visionary fiction, I think I have finally found a place for these two books. These book involved both time travel and reincarnation, which turn out to be one and the same. After an ordinary housewife living in the 1950s dies and reincarnates in 3037,she finds that she has to re-examine her whole belief system. As both books progress, she finds it necessary to constantly question her beliefs.

    If you would lik to read these then let me know and i will get you copies.

  13. Pingback: What is metaphysical fiction? | Tahlia Newland, author

  14. I am wondering if my current project is visionary fiction or just dark fantasy. I think it may be visionary because there is a life after death sequence, two of the main characters are supernatural based on angelic lore, and the nun can interact with both worlds. It is essentially Christian based. If anyone can answer this question, I would be greatly appreciative.

    The story encompasses the war between heaven and hell where Earth is the battleground. On one side, you have an Angel who reports to Michael, a nun who can see both the invisible and visible worlds, and a alcoholic cop. Basically, they are trying to stop the demons from assembling a weapon that could start the war all over again.

  15. PJ Swanwick says:

    How do I follow this blog? And do you have aTwitter stream?

  16. Pingback: Guest Post: Setting the Stage: Visionary & Metaphysical Fiction « Visionary Fiction Alliance

  17. Pingback: Guest Post: Setting the Stage: Visionary & Metaphysical Fiction | Tahlia Newland, author

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  19. Thanks, Jodine, for inviting me here! This looks like what I've been searching for: more Visionary authors who're writing novels with spiritual (not religious) themes. I *love* the definition of Visionary Fiction….it absolutely sums up my writing to a "T"! I look forward to great interactions here, and learning a lot.

    Anyone's who's interested, stop by my website and check out the excerpts of my currently published titles–three full chapters to whet your appetite. http://www.agoldenquill.com

  20. Deborah S says:

    This is a new and exciting genre that I have really been getting into lately! Thank you for clarifying some of the key characteristics of this genre. It has actually been quite difficult looking for recommendations online for popular visionary fiction novels so I was happy to find your website. I want to share a fantastic visionary fiction book I recently read by author Jay Allan Luboff entitled, “Harry Pond Looks Homeward: The Spiritual Adventures of an Ohio Farm Boy” (http://harrypondadventures.com/). I found this book to be entertaining and fascinating. It explains the idea of “light realms,” past lives, and our shared road towards spiritual growth. The book follows Harry Pond, a Vietnam Vet returning home for the first time in three years. It’s a battle between good and evil as Harry and his sister Becky try to save the farm from those who want the land for all the wrong reasons. They take on this mission with help from guardian angels, ascended masters, and show the reader that good always prevails I am always on the hunt for books that can transport me to another world for awhile!

  21. Hi Victor, and welcome. I'd suggest just putting in the link addresses directly by replying again.

    What you have described of your work does sound like VF, btw. Probably the basic defining feature is less about its paranormal elements (even though they are nearly always there in VF) but this: Is either human 'destiny' or human potential a central question? This of course is only a reiteration of what others have already said – and whom you have quoted!

    By all means, yes, feel free to re-route your readers here. Your own site can (should!) be included in our VFA database as well, of course.

  22. Good info. Lucky me I recently found your blog by chance (stumbleupon).
    I have book-marked it for later!

  23. I'm impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that's both equally educative
    and engaging, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I'm very
    happy that I stumbled across this during my search for something concerning this.

  24. Victor Smith says:

    Hello, Visionary Fiction Alliance—
    I am a new member, led here by the Visionary Fiction group on Goodreads. I would like to introduce myself through my history with the “visionary” genre. It started about ten years ago when I began the rounds of agents with an earlier version of my novel, The Anathemas: A Novel of Reincarnation and Restitution (eventually published by Outskirts Press in 2010). This novel, like many I’ve seen mentioned on these VFA pages, is a hybrid, which did not fit easily into the established genres, quite a problem to agents and publishers I discovered. And so the search for the appropriate “slot” to suit the marketers began. This was before self-publishing was the viable option it is now.

    Since Karen Rider summarizes the genre conundrum so well the opening paragraphs of her article “Setting the Stage: Visionary and Metaphysical Fiction,” I’ll simply link to it here with hearty endorsement. Back in the early 2000’s, my genre search eventually led, after many detours, to Michael Gurian, better known as a social philosopher and author on child development, and his fledgling website visionaryfiction.org. (If you click this link, which I do recommend, you will discover a primitive site with ideas remarkably parallel to those here.) Excited to have found a genre, however obscure, that described my writing, present and intended (“Visionary fiction is fiction in which the expansion of the human mind drives the plot,” is the opening line on Michael’s site), I jumped in, only to discover through conversations with Michael that his professional work had crowded out his experimentation with visionary fiction; still, his sole published work in the genre, The Miracle: A Visionary Novel (2003) is worth the read for VF authors and fans.

    I indulge in all this background material, primarily, to acknowledge Michael Gurian as the first, to my knowledge, to attempt to popularize the term “visionary fiction” to identify us writers without a genre and to posit its use as a solution to our marketing position problem. Also, to express my profound relief in finding this pod of like-minded authors already assembled as the Visionary Fiction Alliance. After Michael bowed out, I made several efforts to keep the “visionary” light burning: through a now-defunct Yahoo discussion group, a What is Visionary Literature? Page and blog entries on my website, and keeping in touch with authors and readers I had contacted over the years. Suffice to say that so far I have tossed some snowballs, but none have set off the anticipated avalanche that the “visionary” genre rightly deserves. If, as Jodine Turner says above, “Visionary Fiction speaks the language of the soul. It offers a vision of humanity as we dream it could be,” then VF—well written, of course—should be included in everyone’s reading list.

    Coming in here, the grizzled veteran of battles seemingly lost, I feel like the fool rushing in where only angels should be allowed to tread (apologies to Pope for the misquote). However, I come with plenty of enthusiasm for the vision of what visionary literature can mature to be. As this site seems well established with an impressive staff of admins and editors, with your permission I will begin to reroute my current VF “followers” here rather than continue to maintain a parallel effort on my website. After absorbing the excellent material already posted here, I look to be able to contribute significantly to the further development of the theory, practice, and marketing of visionary fiction.

  25. PJ Swanwick says:

    Welcome, Victor! It's great to have a "grizzled veteran" of the Visionary Struggles on the team – I'm sure your experience will contribute a great deal.

    I review visionary/metaphysical/spiritual fiction at Fiction For A New Age. Feel free to pop over and check it out if you'd like to submit a review copy.

  26. Admin - Eleni says:

    Hi Victor. Welcome to the VFA. I've gone to that site you mention, which is how I initially discovered the genre. And when I found the VF group on Goodreads, it all fit together perfectly. I mostly write science fiction but with spiritual themes like Star Trek and Babylon 5. Most sci-fi in the categories at bookstores don't fit that mold so finding VF was indeed fortuitous.

  27. Esme Ellis says:

    Just an aside.( I have been absent from your discussions for a long time due to illness.) I published my first book of fiction, Clea and the Fifth Dimension, in 2003, and met a friend who asked about it. He had an 'esoteric' materials and bookshop in Bath at the time, called Arcania, He took my book and told me in came in the Visionary Fiction category. Until then I had never heard of it. By the time my second book of fiction, (This Strange and Precious Thing) was published in 2008, I had it categorised myself as V F. However, my latest book, Dreaming Worlds Awake, I think comes under V Lit. as it isn't strictly fiction, yet fits with the main spiritual aims.

  28. Excited to see this. Never heard of visionary fiction, but it seems to fit the novels I'm writing. Looking forward to learning more.

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  35. Viv says:

    I think that all my books fit into this category; two of the novels are regularly in the charts for metaphysical and visionary fiction on UK Amazon and often sit alongside the famous novels you cite as examples.

  36. RB Skith says:

    LOL! Sounds very complicated and obtuse as though the entire genre was created for those who are not able to thrive and survive in the mainstream. Really – a Christmas Carol is considered visionary fiction. I thought it was just a darn good story about an old man, bitter about life, realizing he has much more than most and decides to make a radical change in the way he lives his life. So every time I have an epiphany I am giving birth to what could be potentially visionary fiction if I were to build a book around said epiphany. Visionary fiction – ooh so spooky – and oh so unique it needs it's own category? Sounds like it's time to go up against the big boys who are writing visionary fiction but don't call it that and see how you measure up. Obviously I'm not a writer – never cared to be – but I do call out bull when I see it. Nothing here to see just a bunch a wannabes and lots of wishful thinking.

    Is "The Wizard of Oz" visionary fiction?

  37. Tom Hoffman says:

    Just signed up as a VF author. I've had the hardest time trying to pinpoint my genre, but this hits the nail on the head. I've written two books of a trilogy (Bartholomew the Adventurer Trilogy) titled The Eleventh Ring and The Thirteenth Monk. Both on Amazon. One small question… how do I add my photo to my blog entry?

  38. Tom Hoffman says:

    I'm Tom Hoffman, a new member (author) and wanted to introduce myself. I'm a 10 year old boy cleverly disguised as a 64 year old grandpa. Although sometimes I feel 10,000 years old. Since I was a child I have been trying to understand who we are and what this place is. I remember asking my mother when I was small, not "what time is it?", but "what is time?" Needless to say she didn't have a suitable answer. I wound up getting a degree in psychology from Georgetown University, then eight years later went to art school. I've lived in Alaska since 1973 and have been a graphic designer and artist since 1980, working for ad agencies and freelancing. I've done extensive dream analysis, lucid dreaming, meditation, etc and have experienced many and varied paranormal events, including OBEs, poltergeists, precognitive events, etc. The actual event was never of great interest to me, but what did interest me was the underlying systems which allowed the events to occur. I never treated the events like a trip to Disneyland. It was a learning process and not entertainment. All I needed was one OBE to know consciousness can exist outside the body. Or one lucid dream to know there can be other worlds based in thought that feel more real than this one. At some point I wrote and illustrated a picture book (which I can now can happily call visionary fiction!) called The Secret Voice of Bartholomew Rabbit, about a rabbit who goes in search of a missing something and winds up finding his inner voice. Then I thought, that would make a great novel. Then I thought, that would make a great trilogy. Now I have two books of the Bartholomew the Adventurer Trilogy written and on Amazon, and I'm working on the third. The trilogy follows the very adventurous evolution of Bartholomew Rabbit from silly self-absorbed rabbit to fully awakened and enlightened being. One of the key points of the story (which is multileveled and written very simply) is that there's really no magic, it's just all physics, whether it's time travel, parallel dimensions, manifesting physical objects with thoughts, reincarnation, etc. The question I dreaded most from people when I told them I was writing a trilogy was, "Oh, what's it about?" Now I can just say, "Oh, it's visionary fiction." Well, that's my story, and as Bartholomew Rabbit once said, “Every atom, every molecule, and every bouncing marble is exactly where it should be at every moment in time.”

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  41. Branwen OShea-Refai says:

    I am so excited to find you! I have been working on my novel for almost three years and never know what genre to call it. "Sci-fi/fantasy with an ancient spiritual flavor" was just a bit too wordy! 😄Thank you! Is this the form I fill out to join?
    Branwen Oshea-Refai

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