Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Fantasy Sub-Genres by Indie Bookstore Owner

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 November 5, 2012
by Carolee Dean
This month's post is a continuation of my discussion with bookseller Elizabeth Anker. She's the owner of Alamosa books here in Albuquerque, NM. To read last month's post go to the OCTOBER FEATURE ARTICLE.
Alamosa Bookstore - Albuquerque, NM  

  I asked Elizabeth about her definition of dystopian fantasy and she said she believes dystopian looks at the future as an examination of political structures. In utopia life is perfect. Dystopia turns everything on its head. Usually a totalitarian and authoritarian government is involved and the story is set in a future that is often post apocalyptic. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is the most popular example of dystopian fiction.

Elizabeth said that as the genre continues to grow in popularity and people write more of it, there is far less explanation of why the future described in the book is happening and how the events affects our world at large. These weaker stories tend to focus on a few teens struggling to survive and often rely on super powers to explain things.

In discussing other sub genres of fantasy, Elizabeth pointed out that just about any magical creature you can think of has its own series: vampires, werewolves, and even angels.

 Scott Westerfeld, author of the Leviathan series, explores zombies, vampires, and classic fantasy creatures by explaining their biology and origin in scientific terms. He tends to fall in her science fiction shelves. For an interesting discussion of the difference between fantasy and science fiction, see our October 1 feature article.

Seth Grahame-Smith, author of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, combines zombies and vampires with  historical elements and extensive research.

  In regard to urban fantasy, Elizabeth says it's just what it sounds like. These stories take classic elements of myth and place them in urban centers like New York and London. The author then weaves in the history of those places with the current story. There is a lot of romance and often humor and whimsy. Examples are Cassandra Clare and her Mortal Instruments Series, Kate Griffin's Matthew Swift Series and Cynthia Leitich Smith's Tantalize Series. A lot of these writers are aiming for a clever feel, working in modern trends and using word play.

In Epic Fantasy like Tolkien authors create a world and send a hero a quest. Good and evil are usually clearly defined. George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones, is an example. These stories are not derived from classic myth but are largely based on Tolkien's work which is in turn based on Scandinavian and British isles myths. Tolkien blended those influences with his Catholic beliefs of good and evil and the idea that there is an ultimate morality we should all be supporting.

I asked Elizabeth why she thought so many of the great fantasy writers are British. She believes it's because Brits have deeper history than we do and deeper roots to mythology. Americans are good at taking ideas and developing them. Perhaps that is why we have so many good science fiction writers.

For a super handout exploring fantasy sub-genres visit Kimberley's website. She created the handout for our panel presentation at the International Reading Association last April.

 Black Stripes

Meet the Spellbinders
CaCarolee Deanrolee Dean has made numerous appearances as a guest poet/author at schools, libraries, poetry events, and teacher/library conferences. She holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and a master's degree in communicative disorders, and she has spent over a decade working in the public schools as a
Comfort Paperback Cover
speech-language pathologist.

Her first novel, Comfort,was nominated as a Best Book for Young Adults, was named the Best YA Novel of 2002 by the Texas Institute of Letters, and was on the TAYSHAS (Texas Library Association) reading list. Take Me There is a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.
Her upcoming paranormal verse novel, Forget Me Not, will be published by Simon Pulse in October of 2012.
Take Me There Cover
She conducts teacher trainings on inspiring reluctant writers including "The Secret Language of Stories" and "Random Act of Haiku."Forget Me Not

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Caroline Starr RoseCaroline Starr Rose spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. She's taught English and social studies to upper elementary and middle-school students in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana. Back in New
Mexico, Caroline now writes middle-grade novels and picture books full time. 

To find teacher's guides, writing activities, and information about author visits, go to my website.


Kim Bio PhotoKimberley Griffiths Little is the recipient of the Southwest Book Award, The Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel of 2010, and the author of the highly acclaimed, The Healing Spell and Circle of Secrets, published by Scholastic Press. Look for her books at the Scholastic Book Fairs, as well Circle of Secretsas two more forthcoming novels in 2012 and 2013.
She lives on a dirt road in a small town by the Rio Grande with her husband, a robotics engineer and their three sons. Kimberley is a favorite speaker at schools around the country, presenting "The Creative Diary", a highly successful writing workshop and has been a speaker at many conferences.

Please visit her website to download free Teacher's Guides and Book Club Guides. 
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                 Upcoming Author Events

November, 2012
YALSA Literature Symposium 
"Author Research Panel"
Carolee Dean
and four other authors
St. Louis, Missouri

This email was sent to kimberleygriffithslittle@msn.com by spellbinders@peifercomputing.net |  
Spellbinders | 3 YAF Authors | Albuquerque | NM | 87181

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