Fantasy and Science Fiction
Genre Presentation: Fantasy
Brainstorm the types of characters which might appear in each of the following genres:
Fantasy Science Fiction Horror
What do these lists tell you about the genre?
How does the author make fantasy work for the reader? In the fantasy books you have read what pulled you in... what made you interested?
Ancient, Strange, and Lovely by Susan Fletcher
The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
- Often start with a realistic world to ease the reader into the fantastic
- Holds elements that the reader can relate to
- Speaks of issues of the real world
- The magic itself must work in a systematic way, it follows rules
- Dramatic elements and action draw the reader in
Types of Fantasy:
Animal & Toy Eccentric Characters & Extraordinary Worlds
Magical Powers & Suspense and Supernatural
Time Shift & Imaginary Realms
vs. Modern fairy tales vs. Science Fiction
vs. Horror Evaluating Modern Fantasy
On the appeal of speculative worlds: I believe we have evolved to speculate about possibilities. It’s a very useful survival tool for a species expanding into new and different terrains. We still go on doing it because our minds are that shape. (Peter Dickinson)
Part of it, of course, is the spare room for the imagination to spread out. It takes more work to imagine a world that existed in the distant past, or worlds that never existed, and worlds that might exist. The more we exercise our imaginations, the more we expand our own creativity, and the more ways we find to help us fend off the boredom of everyday life. Fantasy also gives many of those who read and write it a chance to toy with some of the most powerful ideas, characters and events from history, placing them in a different context to see how they might unravel if particular elements were changed. (Tamora Pierce)
Also, at least as far as fantasy is concerned, we are tapping into some of the most powerful images and symbols in human culture: the struggle between good and evil, or destruction and growth; the sources of ancient myths and legends, the great hero sagas that inspire people when we need inspiration most... Kids are passionate by nature; they want stories and characters who pack a punch on all levels, which leave them with matter for thought and imagination long after the book is set aside. Fantasy, with its theme of powerful, ungovernable energies (magic itself), and characters which draw from the world's ancient lifeblood (folklore, myth, and legend), is a form which speaks strongly to its readers. (Tamora Pierce)
Setting in Fantasy and Horror
Choose one significant setting from the novel you have read for this week. Create a visual image or written description of that setting. What items are there? What does the place look like? Who might be there? Be as detailed as possible.
- Ancient, Strange, and Lovely by Susan Fletcher
- The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
- The Arrival by Shaun Tan
- Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Carry out a mapping activity:
Fantasy more than any other genre often includes maps of the fictional worlds in the front of the novel. When maps aren't included they tend to appear on fan sites along with fanfiction, fan art... Why do you suppose maps are significant when we are talking about speculative worlds?
Form groups based on the novels read for this week.
You are creating an actual map of the fantasy world. Start by comparing the settings each of you visualized for today's class. Are there other significant settings, locales that should be included. Plot these locations on a map. Add details... you might think about:
- Compass - which way is north?
- Scale - how far are things away from each other?
- Legend - can you tell a city from a village?
- Landforms - forests, mountains and rivers.
- Paths - roads or walkways. What routes do your characters take?
Once you have the map created discuss how you can explain the hero/protagonist's journey through this world.
Whole group discussion
One of the biggest question that presents itself with fantasy is how does an author take this obviously made up world and draw the reader in? Why would readers be interested in engaging with storylines that are not "real"?
Think of the fantasy novel you have read for this week. How does the narrative engage the reader?
What made your fantasy novel "believable" (or not) for you? Who might the implied reader be for your novel?
How would you approach using the novel in English/Language Arts class?
Speculative Fiction Banned!!
Where will you stand? If you use speculative fiction in your classes eventually someone will object to certain books . How will you as a teacher deal with the issue of parents (and outside groups) who wish to keep these books out of school or actually remove them from schools?
Harry Potter and other speculative fiction being challenged
In pairs: Imagine you have included several speculative fiction titles on your reading list and there are objections from parents. How will you deal with this?
If one parent in the class does not want their child to read a book that is a whole class read If one parent does not want a particular book included in the classroom at all
If several parents object to their child reading a book that is a whole class read
If a number of parents have objected to certain books being in the classroom
Of course one way of dealing with this issue effectively is to convince administrators/parents that there are literay qualities that make these books effective as part of the curriculum, that they are quality writing not just pleasure reads.
Discuss the literary elements which might make these novels beneficial in language arts. What might you say about characters; plot; setting; voice; style; themes when creating a rationale for using these books.