Today I learned that “Bangsian Fantasy” is the name for stories using the afterlife as the main setting, where characters are often famous historical or fictional figures.
Bangsian Fantasy is named for John Kendrick Bangs (1862–1922), who often wrote in the genre. Other examples include the Riverworld series, by Philip Jose Farmer, and the Heroes in Hell books by numerous authors.
Would “Beetlejuice and “Ghost” be considered Bangsian Fantasy? These are stories where the ghosts aren’t scary monsters – or just scary monsters – but rather are characters. I say “definitely yes” to Beetlejuice and “maybe” to “Ghost.” In Beetlejuice there’s a clear sense of a world and society existing for the dead—less so for “Ghost.”