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Reader's Advisory: Fantasy
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Reader's Advisory: Fantasy



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  • 1. Fantasy Elves and Dragons and Vampires, oh my!
  • 2. Definition “A fiction evoking wonder and containing a substantial and irreducible element of supernatural or impossible worlds, beings or objects with which the reader or the characters within the story become on at least partly familiar terms. – CN Manlove in Modern Fantasy [Genreflecting]
  • 3. Characteristics 1. Magic Figures Prominently in the story 2. Story lines feature “good” (light) versus “evil” (dark) 3. Characters often attain magical gifts 4. Characters may include mythical creatures 5. Detailed settings describe another world 6. Books start slowly with the setting of the scene and involve large groups of characters. 7. Books are frequently part of a series. [Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction]
  • 4. The Big Three CS Lewis – The Chronicles of Narnia JRR Tolkien – The Lord of the Rings L. Frank Baum – The Wizard of Oz
  • 5. Themes Sword & Sorcery Contemporary – Saga, Myth & Animals Legend Celebrity Characters Time Travel & Paranormal Powers Crossing Over Fantasy Blends Fairy Tales World of Faerie
  • 6. Sword & Sorcery Heroes/Heroines vs. Villains/Evil Good vs. Evil theme Magic & the Supernatural Quests Romance Typically in trilogies or series
  • 7. Sagas, Myths & Legends Sagas, Myths & Legends – The “created” world is that of myth, saga, or legend – for example Greek, Celtic, Chinese – Arthurian Legend is a very popular backdrop
  • 8. Time Travel & Crossing Over Time Travel is usually inexplicable as apposed to Science Fiction where it is “on purpose” In Crossing Over fantasies, the character is magically transported from the “real” world to a fantasy world.
  • 9. Fairy Tales Retelling of classic tales often with a new twist Newly created stories that have the “feel” of a classic fairy tale
  • 10. World of Faerie Creatures with magical powers Faerie vs. the Human world Romance Set in both fantastic realms & contemporary settings
  • 11. Contemporary Recognizable settings Sometimes called “Low Fantasy” or “Realistic Fantasy” More accessible for some readers Sub themes: Urban, Human condition, realism
  • 12. Animals Play a role in most fantasy stories in some form or other Unicorns and dragons are popular as subjects in their own right. “Common” animals within created societies
  • 13. Celebrity Characters Real-Life characters or fictional characters brought to life in a fantasy world. Some books in this genre may be considered alternate history.
  • 14. Paranormal Powers Psionic Powers – Telepathy – common between humans and animals in fantasy – Telekenisis – Precognition Shapeshifting – Can take on a different form - Wereanimals Immortality Supernatural Beings
  • 15. Fantasy Blends Dark Fantasy Fantasy Featuring Detection Romantic Fantasy
  • 16. Online Resources • Fantasy Finder - • Diana Herald - • SF Site - • The Linköping Science Fiction & Fantasy Archive -
  • 17. Just for Fun • Which Sci-Fi/Fantasy Character are you? • Hero Machine - machine2/heromachine2.asp • Name Generator - or
  • 18. Grace’s Must Reads • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde • Ink Heart by Cornelia Funke (YA) • Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton • Eragon by Christopher Paolini (YA)