“What do these children do without storybooks?” Naftali asked.
And Reb Zebulun replied: “They have to make do. Storybooks aren’t bread. You can live without them.”
“I couldn’t live without them,” Naftali said. –Isaac Bashevis Singer, Naftali the Storyteller and His Horse, Sus
In preparation for our second podcast focused on fantasy literature for children and young adults, with a special focus on Incarceron and Inkheart, Catherine and K.L. give you a preview of some terms they might use about this genre of impossible literature.
Fantasy literature involves something most would consider unrealistic or impossible. Some dimension of the magical, the supernatural, or the impossible is present in this literature.
Low fantasy takes place in the primary world, the world as we know it, but some magical elements make the story unrealistic. Tom’s Midnight Garden is an example of low fantasy.
High fantasy is set in a secondary world, a world founded on rules that are totally impossible in our primary world. Works of high fantasy may move between a secondary and primary world, while others may remain completely in the secondary, fantastic world.
Science fiction is a type of fantasy that incorporates scientific ideas that may contain some real dimensions, but something about the story and the way the story treats those scientific theories takes it into the realm of the impossible. Authors may write science fiction in order to imagine a possible, future world.
Science fantasy may be situated within some scientific theory, but unlike science fiction, the story is also framed with fantasy elements. This is a kind of hybrid genre that could incorporate elements of high fantasy such as hobbits or wizards or fairies, but also includes elements of science fiction such as aliens or spaceships.
Questions for you to Consider:
How about Incarceron and Inkheart? How do they fit into this discussion of fantasy terms? Would they be low fantasy or high fantasy? Stay tuned for our second podcast to find out!