A Closer Look at the Genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Other Worlds is a video-based second module of The One Year Adventure Novel curriculum (OYAN) focused on the genres of science fiction and fantasy.

Award-winning author Daniel Schwabauer explores and critiques the origins and development of both genres with a view to helping young writers today contribute to these genres in an informed way. He also offers writing instruction tailored for meeting the unique demands of the fantasy and science fiction markets.

science fiction writing curriculumPrerequisite: The One Year Adventure Novel

Other Worlds does not repeat the in-depth instruction on story structure provided by the OYAN curriculumIt is ideal for students with a special interest in writing within the fantasy and science fiction genres, but should not be attempted by students who have yet to complete OYAN.

The fascinating look Other Worlds offers at the history, features, and cultural impact of the two genres is also compelling for students—and their parents and siblings—who have no interest in writing fantasy or science fiction.

Course Structure

The structure of Other Worlds is flexible; it can be used as a writing curriculum for a full academic year (worth 1 high school credit), or completed as an intensive study unit. The curriculum comes with a suggested schedule for both types of use.

Worldview

Taught from a biblical worldview.

The Other Worlds Package Includes:

Set of Instructional DVDs OR Cloud Video Access

Other Worlds Science Fiction Writing CurriculumPart 1: Where did science fiction come from? What makes it a distinct genre? How is it used as a tool to shape American culture? Eight lessons explore the history, characteristics, and biases of the genre.

Part 2: Fantasy is the oldest genre in the world. What makes it different from other genres, and how is it used to communicate Truth—and lies—in literature? Six lessons explore the history and potential of fantasy as a story type.

Part 3: A writing workshop focused on the techniques and principles of speculative fiction. Six lessons designed to help you understand the defining principles of speculative fiction and learn to write powerful science fiction and fantasy.

A complete list of topics and descriptions of each subject can be viewed below.

Collision Course – anthology

"Other Worlds Collision Course" Science Fiction Writing CurriculumA collection of classic science fiction and fantasy excerpts that represent the topics in the video lessons. H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Cordwainer Smith, and many others demonstrate the otherness of their genre.

5.5 x 8.5″

The Other Map – workbook

"Other Worlds" Workbook - Science Fiction Writing CurriculumThe Other Map is similar in concept to the OYAN workbook, The Map, but is designed specifically to help students outline a science fiction or fantasy novel.

8.5 x 11″

Extra Resources

Includes:Other Worlds Resource CD - Science Fiction Writing Curriculum

  • A library of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels
  • Writing tools and printable forms
  • Author files – Overviews of the masters of fantasy and science fiction, including their worldviews

Course Topics and Descriptions

Part 1 – Science Fiction

1. “Other Worlds” (Science Fiction vs. Fantasy)
What defines the genres and how do they differ from each other? An overview of the course and the basic rules of speculative fiction.

2. “Knot My Type” (Types and Categories)
The sub-genres of science fiction can be categorized by three defining principles: Humanity, Ideas and Technology.

3. “Frankenstein’s Monsters” (The Roots of Science Fiction)
Frankenstein is widely considered the first science fiction story. In this lesson we go back to the roots of the genre to examine how and why it came into being.

4. “The Golden Age of Atheism” (The Golden Age)
The interconnection of science, atheism, and storytelling. Science fiction has been shaped by a long list of humanist writers with a distinct worldview.

5. “Bug -Eyed Monsters” (Science Fiction in Hollywood)
How Hollywood treats science fiction, historically and today.

6. “A New Creation Myth” (Science Fiction Mythology)
The impact of Darwinism on stories. Science fiction as a way of placing mankind in time.

7. “Heaven on Earth” (Science Fiction Heaven)
Utopias and dystopias. Humanism’s need for hope is expressed in many of science fiction’s favorite story clichés, but refuted by reality.

8. “Unidentified Flying Otherness” (Science Fiction Gods)
Science fiction’s love affair with aliens and UFOs is an expression of our human need for otherness—the desire for there to be something “out there.” If God is out there, science fiction isn’t a problem.

Part 2 – Fantasy

9. “Ancient Worlds” (The Deep Roots of Fantasy)
Myths, stories of the unknown, fairytales, and children’s stories are all rooted in fantastic literature.

10. “Through the Looking Glass” (Types of Fantasy)
Fantasy as a reflection of reality. A brief look at fantasy’s sub-genres: high and low fantasy, superheroic fantasy, allegory, animal fantasy.

11. “Dark Worlds” (Horror and Fantasy)
Navigating dark waters without getting wet. The effect of dark fantasy on the genre, and on readers.

12. “Swords & Sandals” (Early & Movie Fantasy)
Pulp fiction during the Industrial age. Fantasy grows up on the silver screen.

13. “The Pagan Journey” (Pagan Fantasy)
The current trend in fantasy literature is towards paganism. Where does the trend begin and end, and how does it depart from reality? Why should we care?

14. “Divine Worlds” (Truth in Fantasy)
Masters of fantasy who used the genre to speak Truth to their cultures. Christianity is a springboard for the imaginative creation of other worlds, which are possible because Christianity sees otherness in reality.
The potential of fantasy to inspire.

Part 3 – Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy

15. “World Building” (World building)
What makes a world “other-than”? Aspects of a world that are shaped by otherness.

16. “The Price of Otherness” (Supernatural vs. Technological)
The defining question you must answer before you write your novel.

17. “Uncommon Heroes” (Genre Heroes)
The mistake of royalty. How and why you should pick a hero from the masses. How is the hero impacted by otherness?

18. “Sharpening Knaves” (Villains)
The ideas that make good villains: villains as part of the
price of otherness, and as reflections of another world.

19. “Alien Races” (Creatures, monsters & alien races)
Fitting your characters and creations to the otherness of your world.

20. “Revealing Truth” (Progressive Revelation)
What to reveal when—how to make Truth come through your story.