Genre Resource Guide: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Genre Resource Guide: Science Fiction and Fantasy

A Comprehensive Guide for Readers and Writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Introduction

From the dedicated fans cosplaying as Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen to the hordes of people showing up to see the latest Star Wars movie, it’s clear that the genres of science fiction and fantasy have a significant impact on our society’s culture. Books, movies, comic books and television shows which incorporate elements of science fiction and fantasy help us to imagine a world beyond our own, to consider possibilities never before thought of and to discover aspects of the human experience that extend beyond our planet, our galaxy our universe. Whether you’re new to the genre or die-hard fan of many years, the resources in this guide can help you dive deeper into the world of sci-fi and fantasy. Inside, you’ll find more than 50 resources, including blogs, podcasts, writing tips and more.

General Science Fiction and Fantasy Resources

Although you might be familiar with the basic idea of science fiction and fantasy, you may not know about some of the features that make the genre unique. The resources in this section go over the major defining factors of science fiction and fantasy, and can serve either as a basic introduction or a quick refresher.

Science Fiction & Fantasy: A Genre With Many Faces

This article explains nearly every possible subgenre of science fiction and fantasy. Curious what in the world “cyberpunk” means? Click here.

Defining Science Fiction

The Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction explains what the term “science fiction” refers to, with several accompanying diagrams and illustrations.

Definition of Fantasy

This comprehensive definition from LiteraryDevices.net includes a list of the various types of fantasy as well as an explanation of the function of fantasy.

What’s the Difference Between Science Fiction and Fantasy?

Despite the fact that science fiction and fantasy can be grouped together into one broad genre, each has its own unique characteristics. Learn what those characteristics are here.

The Purpose of Science Fiction

This fascinating article published by Slate explores the ways in which the genre of science fiction can affect events and mindsets in the real world.

How America’s Leading Science Fiction Authors Are Shaping Your Future

If you’re curious how science fiction can influence actual science, take a look at this article.

Fantasy: Why is the Genre so Popular?

Fantasy writer Rowena Cory Daniells explains the importance of fantasy. If you’ve ever wondered why fantasy is so appealing to so many different types of people, read this.

A Beginner’s Guide to Reading Science Fiction

If you’ve never read a science fiction book before, take a look at these easily accessible books. They’re organized by subgenre, so you’ll know what you’re getting into ahead of time.

The Top Fantasy Books to Get Any Beginner Interested in the Genre

If you’ve never read a fantasy book before, start here. You can choose from series, trilogies and standalone novels, and each suggestion comes with a brief, handy synopsis.

Your Picks: Top 100 Science Fiction, Fantasy Books

More than 60,000 people participated in this survey conducted by NPR. The result is 100 of the most timeless, epic and enjoyable science fiction and fantasy books of all time.

Top 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Movies

This list from Rotten Tomatoes is based on the feedback of movie critics. With movies from the past few months as well as those made as early as 1922, this list spans nearly 100 years.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Resources

Sometimes, it’s not enough to appreciate other people’s fantastical ideas, and we want to create worlds of our own. However, everyone needs to start from somewhere before becoming the next J.R.R. Tolkien. The resources in this section can help both new and experienced science fiction and fantasy writers form ideas, build civilizations and develop characters.

The 3 Golden Rules of Writing a Science Fiction Book

If you have an idea for a story but aren’t quite sure how to expand on it, take a look at these three helpful tips.

Writing Fantasy: A Short Guide to the Genre

Coming up with a bare-bones story outline is straightforward enough, but as soon as you start fleshing it out you may run into trouble. This guide contains practical tips on world-building, mythology and magic.

Top 10 Fantasy Writing Tips From ‘Game of Thrones’ Author George R.R. Martin

These ten helpful tips come from one of the most iconic and successful fantasy authors of all time. From big-picture ideas to small but essential details, Martin covers it all.

10 Writing “Rules” We Wish More Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Would Break

In some cases, it’s better to ignore what the critics say and write whatever you think is most compelling. This list goes over some of the genre’s most common unspoken rules that many writers could benefit from breaking.

Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy

This free online course was developed by published science fiction writer Jeffrey A. Carver. It includes recommended reading, advice for getting published, strategies for increasing your story’s believability and more.

Fantasy Writing Tips

Bestselling author Daniel Arenson shares a well-organized, easy-to-read guide. He offers advice for every step of the writing process, including characterization, plotting, word use and marketing.

58 Science Fiction Writing Prompts

The title says it all. If you’re experiencing a case of writer’s block, get your creative juices flowing again with one of these exciting and interesting prompts. .

25 Fantasy Writing Prompts

From wizardry to archaeology to hypnosis, this list is bound to contain at least a few topics that will spark your imagination.

Reddit.com/r/scifiwriting

This subreddit has an active community of more than 7,000 users, and is the perfect place to engage in discussions, exchange advice, network and read the work of others.

Reddit.com/r/fantasywriters

With over 21,000 active users, this subreddit allows fantasy writers from all over to participate in contests, receive feedback and ask questions.

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America

If writing sci-fi and fantasy is more than a hobby for you, you might want to consider joining this professional organization. Founded in 1965, SFWA provides its members with awards, publications, discussion boards, various events and more.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Blogs and Websites

If you’ve read the entire Harry Potter series over and over again but have never ventured beyond the world of Hogwarts and dementors, you might be missing out on some truly great books, movies and shows. Take a look at the science fiction and fantasy websites listed in this section and you’ll never be out of the loop again.

Tor.com

To put it simply, this site has it all. It’s updated multiple times a day and contains reviews, news announcements, advice and more.

B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

This blog from bookseller Barnes and Noble features book reviews, interviews, news and more.

Nerdist

Chris Hardwick, the host of Talking Dead and Wired Science, is behind this multi-faceted website. Daily news, entertaining videos, multiple podcasts, in-depth articles and special events make this site a science fiction enthusiast’s paradise.

Fantasy Cafe

This blog has been around for nearly 10 years, and for good reason. Here you’ll find thorough, well-written reviews of sci-fi and fantasy books of all kinds posted regularly.

Sci-Fi Bloggers

If you’re more into movies and video games than books, then this blog is for you. Lists such as “Worst Video Games of 2016” and features such as the “Indie Spotlight” make it easy for you to find the best the genre has to offer.

Worlds Without End

Whether you’re eagerly anticipating the next season of Stranger Things or can’t get enough of decades-old fantasy books, you’re sure to find something of interest here.

io9

This website from Gizmodo seamlessly blends the genre of science fiction with the real world of technology. Articles about X-Men comics and climate change appear side by side, and somehow it all makes sense.

Fantasy-Faction

Reviews, news, author interviews, articles and an active discussion forum can all be found here, with an overarching focus on modern fantasy.

SciFiChick.com

This frequently updated blog has all the reviews, interviews, guest posts, games, giveaways and news announcements you could ever ask for.

Sci-Fi and Scary

Both independent and big-name books and movies are reviewed here. At this blog, you can also find free books, proofreading services and a section just for kids.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Podcasts

Podcasts are perhaps the most flexible medium available today. You can take the multitasker’s route and listen to them while you work, drive or run errands, or you can consume them as you would a book, with undivided attention. Regardless of their preferred listening method, science fiction and fantasy fans everywhere can probably agree that podcasts are a great way to hear groundbreaking new stories and ponder fascinating ideas. This section includes sci-fi and fantasy podcasts of all kinds, so get ready to put on your headphones and enjoy.

Flash Forward

Producer, designer and writer Rose Eveleth hosts this monthly podcast that explores possible future scenarios. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if farmers were replaced by robots, then you need to listen to this.

Welcome to Night Vale

Twin Peaks fans, you’ll want to check this out. Welcome to Night Vale is a story-based serial podcast set in the fictional town of Night Vale. Here, nothing is as it seems.

Limetown

If you’re looking for something short and sweet, check out this six-episode podcast that follows the story of a mysterious disappearance in the American south. You can listen to the whole story in a couple days, or savor it over a longer period of time.

Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy

Anyone who’s as passionate about science, history and technology as they are about science fiction and fantasy will appreciate this podcast. It includes great reviews of books and movies, but its real claim to fame is its regular interviews with sci-fi and fantasy superstars such as George R.R. Martin, Philip Pullman and Lemony Snicket.

Escape Pod

This science fiction podcast magazine has been around for more than ten years. If you’re looking for a vast collection of short stories from a variety of authors around the world, you’ll want to check this out.

PodCastle

This is a weekly fantasy fiction podcast that features short stories from every subgenre imaginable. What makes this podcast truly unique is that each story is written and narrated by one of the podcast’s readers.

The Sword & Laser

Avid readers will love this podcast, which features commentary on the latest science fiction and fantasy books, as well as the occasional TV show and movie.

Rogue Squadron Podcast

If Star Wars is your bread and butter, you’ll definitely want to give this podcast a shot. It primarily focuses on discussions surrounding all aspects of the Star Wars saga, with additional movie, craft beer and video game reviews.

Gecken

Perfect for kicking back and laughing along to some light-hearted banter. From Comic-Con news to debates about popular TV shows, this podcast has a little bit of everything.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Teaching Resources

More and more schools, colleges and universities are offering courses on science fiction and fantasy, in the same way that they offer courses on mythology and poetry. The resources in this section are designed to help teachers plan and improve their science fiction and fantasy classes.

Finding the Science Behind Science Fiction Through Paired Reading

This lesson plan was created for students in grades 6-8. Included are printouts, preparation tips, a five-part lesson plan and related resources.

Teaching Science Fiction: Unique Challenges

If you teach at an institution for higher education, take a look at what the guest speakers at the Modern Language Association Special Session of 1978 had to say about teaching science fiction to college students.

Teaching Science Fiction

This book explores how science fiction can be taught at the university level. Useful for both current and future teachers of science fiction.

Teaching Science Fiction Writing

A middle school teacher uses detailed examples to show how she teaches science fiction writing to her students. Includes writing exercises and book project ideas.

Science Fiction: Critiquing the Present, Exploring the Future

This conceptual unit was created by a professor at the University of Georgia and contains everything from texts and grade distribution to long-term goals and daily lesson plans.

Lesson Plans Based on Science Fiction Movies

If you’d like to teach your students about a form of science fiction other than literature, take a look at this list of lesson plans. Some of the movies used include Fahrenheit 451, The Time Machine and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Fantasy Books: There’s a Whole Other World Out There

A middle school teacher shares her reasons for teaching fantasy as a genre and provides an entire unit, complete with lesson plans and extension activities.

Genre Lesson: Fantasy

This two-day unit is targeted towards middle school students. It includes worksheets, activities and teaching techniques.

6 No-Fail Lessons to Teach Students How to Write Fantasy

Teach students how to write fantasy stories with these six daily lessons.