Genre Studies: Fantasy, Science Fiction

Central Question:
What is meant by "Fantasy Fiction"? 
What are the characteristics of this genre?  How is it different from closely related genres?  What are its sub-genres? 

1st Quarter: Fantasy

Recommended Books

Class Notes

2nd Quarter:
Science Fiction

Recommended Books
Blade Runner


Each student should be engaged in research, reading, and writing.  The research and reading should help the student to identify features of the genre and to identify sub-genres, their features, and their relation to other sub-genres.  The writing should demonstrate the student's mastery of this. 

Expectation of Non-Procrastination: The student's work should be self-directed: The student is expected to chose an area to work in, ask for help when needed, complete the work, and hand some work each week.  Students should not expect to pass if they put the bulk of work off until the last weeks. 

30 points - Pieces Written about Selected Novel: Independently of other students, each individual will read, discuss, and write about a novel in the genre.  Here is a list of possible novel choices.  Working as a class, we will develop a list of suggestions for these assignments.   

             As a junior editor in charge of the Fantasy Department at a publishing firm, prepare a
             written document that explains why your book should be published by your department and not 
             the Horror Department or Science Fiction Department.  Be sure to point out where the specific
             elements of fantasy are clearly present in your novel. 

             You have been reading a novel situated in a world of someone's imagination.  As a character in
             your story, write a letter that will cross dimensions to someone in our world.  Explain the
             difference between the two worlds.

             As a character in this novel, write a plea for help to another character that is capable of assisting
             you and would if only he or she knew of your plight.  Taking the form of a letter or speech, clearly
             identify the problem that you  face. 


30 points - Original Story & Accompanying Essay: Each individual will write a short story in the genre.  This story will be accompanied by an essay about the elements that make it a part of the genre, its influences, inspirations, etc.   An Example 
                5 points - Character Development Work
                5 points - Setting Development Work
                5 points - Development; Progress
              10 points - Finished Story
                5 points - Essay
30 points - Short Stories and Articles On this Genre by Professional Authors : Each student will read, discuss, and write about essays and articles about fantasy.
             10 points - Pieces written by the student that reflect on and stories covered in class and/or articles
                               The articles may either be those selected by the instructor or other students  This 
                               requirement may  fulfilled by one larger piece or a series of smaller pieces. 
             10 points - Articles found and presented by the student (see rubric).  A small list of these articles
                               appears below, but this is just to get started--each student will be expected to contribute
                                to the class by finding, reading, and presenting research in this genre. 
             10 points - Quizzes

Short Stories and Articles 
Week 1 & 2: Tolkien and the Medievalists
8 Sept. Wednesday:
     Le Guin, Ursula. "The Rule of Names". 
The Wind's Twelve Quarters.  Bantam,
          1975. Pg. 73.
     Discussion: What is Fantasy? 
9 Sept. Thursday:
     Tolkien, J.R.R. "Fantasy" section of the Essay "On Fairy Stories" (you may skip "fantasy in Drama")
10 Sept. Friday:
     "Tolkien: Creator of Middle Earth".  The Lord of the Rings. Extended Version. 
Disk 3: Appendix 1. 2002.  (23 minutes). 
13 Sept. Monday:
     Le Guin, Ursula. "Darkness Box".  The Wind's Twelve Quarters.  Bantam,
          1975.  Pg. 55. 
14 Sept. Tuesday: Class gone to Munising

15 Sept. Wednesday:
     Lewis, C.S.  Selections from "Fantasy" and "Realism".   An Experiment in Criticism. 
Cambridge University Press, 1961.  Pgs 55-56 & 67-68. 
     Begin writing short essay defining fantasy as you now understand it. 

16 & 17 Sept. Thursday & Friday:
     Finish writing assignment

20 Monday:
     Introduce short story assignment.
21 & 22 Tuesday & Wednesday:
     Substitute teacher: Continue working on original short story
23 & 24 Thursday & Friday:
     Donner, Richard (Dir.).  LadyhawkePerf: Mathew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Michelle
Warner Brothers and Twentieth Century Fox.  1985.
27 Sept. Monday:
     Le Guin, Ursula. "The Word of Unbinding".  The Wind's Twelve Quarters.  Bantam,
          1975. Pg. 65.
28 Tuesday-29 Sept Wednesday:
     Kyneur, Eloise.  "Reading Fantasy". 
Suite 101.  January 24, 2000. 
1 Oct. Friday: Away Game
Week 3 & 4: Contemporary and Urban Fantasy
4 Oct. Monday-5 Oct Tuesday:
     Bulger, Michael.  "So You'd Like to Read Fantasy beyond Tolkien and his
     Contemporary Fantasy.  Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 
     Grossman, Lev.  "Of Magic and Men: Susanna Clarke's ravishing
Jonathan Strange
            & Mr. Norrell is a superb Post-Potter fantasy for Grownups. Time Magazine.  16
            August 2004: pg. 74. 

     Ledesma, Debbie. "Types of Fantasy".  Suite 101.  January 8, 1999. 
     Kyneur, Eloise.  "Journey to Another World."  Suite 101.  Published 4 April 2000. 
     Le Guin, Ursula. "Direction of the Road".  The Wind's Twelve Quarters.  Bantam, 1975. 

Week 5 & 6: Masters of the Fantastic
     Borges, Jorge Luis.  "The Library of Babylon".
     Kafka, Franz.  "A Hunger Artist". 
Literature.  Pickering and Hoeper (eds).  New York:
          Mackmillan, 1982.  Page 333. 
     Le Guin, Ursula. "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas". 
The Wind's Twelve
.  Bantam, 1975. 
     Marquez, Gabriel Garcia.  "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings". 
Elements of Literature,
          4th Course.  Kathleen Daniel, ed.  Austin: Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 223. 

Ledesma, Debbie. "Taproots of Fantasy".  Suite 101.  November 9, 2001.

Week 7 & 8: Examining Genre: Fantasy and Science Fiction
Mieville, China.  "Debate". Unofficial China Mieville Website

Chouinard, Gabe.  "Dislocated Fictions: The Dennis Miller Syndrome".  The SF Site

Ledesma, Debbie. "Improving Fantasy Fiction". Suite 101.  February 26, 1999.

Jones, J.  "What is Fantasy?"  When Genres Collide

A Final Word:
     Martinez, Michael.  "Trampling the Legacy, Remaking the Myth".  Suite 101
          February 2, 2001.  (excerpt)
          (Skip down to the paragraph which begins,
          "Ancient lore is another aspect of Tolkien which has found its way into the popular imagination.")

Additional Materials: 
Locus.  Locus Award for Fantasy Novels

A menu of articles about fantasy

Jones, J.  "Links and Bibliography".  When Genres Collide

"What is the Internet Speculative Fiction Database?" Wikipedia.

Internet Speculative Fiction Database

Green, Sharon.  "Writing Fantasy:A Published Author's Perspective".  Suite 101.

Martinez, Michael.  "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Canon".  Suite
.  March 17, 2001. (Hard-core Tolkien fans only, please).