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Fantasy vs. Science Fiction vs. Dystopia

Fantasy vs. Science Fiction vs. Dystopia. What’s the difference? What’s the purpose? . Similarities and Differences. There are many similarities and few differences between the three subgenres.

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Fantasy vs. Science Fiction vs. Dystopia

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  1. Fantasy vs. Science Fiction vs. Dystopia What’s the difference? What’s the purpose?

  2. Similarities and Differences • There are many similarities and few differences between the three subgenres. • All entail a “world” unlike our own- setting is in an altered or unknown location, the government is usually overbearing, and characters are dealing with a struggle and the human impact of that struggle. • All entail a “world” unlike our own- the settings are specific to the subgenre, characters are different (robot humanoids/ elves/ aliens), and the stories themselves come from different sources of inspiration (an author’s view on a global issue vs. an author “dreaming” the idea.)

  3. Fantasy- The Original • Fantasy dates back thousands of years. Even the Bible has a brief fantasy story when Jotham, in the book of Judges, tells a story of trees asking other trees to be their king. (Judges 9:8-15) • Most often, fantasy is a way to escape, but it is initially about bridging the gaps between experience and knowledge; it incorporates the element of “pretend”; fantasy is a safe way to explore big, wide, and intrepid ideas. • Over time, fantasy helps young readers to deal with emotions or feelings, such as: failure/ defeat and betrayal/ disappointment. • Can lead to a greater truth or understanding some of the “mysteries” of life

  4. Fantasy- The Original cont. • Typical fantasy stories involve totally original, imagination-created settings. • The setting interacts with the characters by way of keeping the characters in a single location (Crossed by Ally Condie), protecting characters from evil (Camp Halfblood in Percy Jackson),or by forcing the character to make decisions based on the character’s location (Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith). This is just a sampling. • Often times there is magic in the stories; this can include mythical or magical creatures. • There will be a hero and antihero (villain). • It is typically the theme of good vs. evil. • Often times a quest, or journey, is involved to solve a problem.

  5. Science Fiction • This is a branch of fiction that deals with the responses of human beings to changes in science and technology. • Often times, science fiction will explore the areas of artificial life, gene-splicing, the atomic bomb/ nuclear war, space: technologies/ explorations, brain-washing, constant surveillance, etc. • Sci-fi explores the upsides and downsides of the “science” as well as the human impact (good or bad). • It asks the question, “If this goes on, where will it lead?” It can suggest possible futures.

  6. Science Fiction cont. • Many sci-fi writers are working scientists, have advanced degrees in science/ math, or a strong background in science, technology, and journalism. • Many sci-fi texts crossover into the dystopian world. • The setting is typically futuristic and the humans are controlled by an all-powerful government. • Pieces of literature, like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1815), Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park (1990), and Ray Bradbury’s All Summer in a Day (1954) all predicted things that have come to pass: reanimation of life (defibrillator), genetic engineering (cloning the sheep Dolly), living in space/ another planet (International Space Station).

  7. Dystopia • Corruption, Totalitarian Government, Bleak Future!! These are words associated with the concept of dystopia. • Dystopia means to be in a place where the conditions of life are extremely bad from deprivation, oppression, or terror. • This is the opposite of utopia which means to be in an ideally perfect place. • The setting is usually in the not-to-far future and is a known location (District 12, from Hunger Games, is in the Appalachian Mtns.) • However, the setting is altered either due to war, technological progress, or indirect results such as floods and crop failures (Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta 1982 and 1985.)

  8. Dystopia cont. • The setting directly influences the character and the choices he/she makes; time and again the setting creates subtle conflicts for the main character(s). • Frequently, the future is dreary due to government control. The government can get by with anything- including rewriting history (George Orwell’s 1984 (1949)), brain-conditioning (Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World (1932)), or nuclear war (Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968)). • The authors of these texts are inspired by real-world events and are using their writings to comment on social or political issues. • Authors regularly blur the lines of humanity.

  9. EXIT SLIP!! • On a sheet a paper, please put your name, date, class period, and label the assignment Differences in Genres. • Using your notes, list 5 ideas that you have learned. • Using your notes and your own words, explain 2 similarities and 2 differences of all the genres. (for example, what is something that all 3 genres have in common and what is different) • GOOD LUCK!! Due As You Leave Class!!

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