Science Fiction and Fantasy. What is the Difference?

Applied Science and technology are central to the Science Fiction genre. Science Fiction is also called Speculative Fiction because it is written with the question in mind, “What if?” (Seed 2). Common settings are: Earth, near space, or the interior of the Earth, and narratives may emphasize historical or political events. Narratives may also be spiritual (Star Wars), and even didactic in some cases. Protagonists can be human or alien (Films: E.T. the Extraterrestrial and District 9.)

Science Fiction may be set in dystopian or utopian societies (Snowpiercer and The Hunger Games series.) Often, a narrative can begin with a utopian society that actually turns out to be dystopian for some of the characters involved (Films: Elysium, and After Earth.) Dystopian narratives can fall under the Post-Apocalyptic fiction genre (The Road), but there are differences still between Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic fiction (See Prairie State Library resources for further details.) Post-Apocalyptic fiction is usually set in a world after some catastrophic event.

On the other hand, Fantasy authors often construct worlds of their imagination (Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series.) Think dragons, fairies, and witches ( A Game of Thrones.) Fantasy can also include darker, more horrific characters such as orcs, vampires or werewolves (Interview with the Vampire and True Blood: The Sookie Stackhouse series.)

Both genres can include elements of the other, and rely heavily on the tension between the light and dark nature of existence.

Want to read from the Science Fiction or Fantasy genre? Want to use this as a research topic? Prairie State Library has the resources that you need!

Source: Seed, David. Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.

Foreign Film Collection: Spotlight on France

The birth of cinema is said to have taken place in France with Auguste and Louis Lumière’s L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat in 1895. Since that time, France has been vital to the experience of cinema, with one period (French New Wave) during the 1950s-1960 being of vital importance to the growth of film.

The French New Wave was a term blanketed by critics for a group of French filmmakers during the late 1950s to the 1960s. Inspired by Italian Neorealism these creators broke from the conservative film-making style of their predecessors. Directors such as Goddard, Truffaut, Rohmer, and Chabrol began to make bold movies that experimented with techniques previously believed to be antiquated. Using portable equipment, direct sounds, and a film stock that required less light, allowed these pioneers to create movies in a documentary style. Combining discontinuous editing, long takes, combining subjective and objective realism, and adding ambiguity and unreliableness to the narration, allowed French New Wave to give a voice to the political upheaval that was occurring around them.

You can check out all of the French movies, including this year’s best picture winner, The Artist, below or continue reading after the jump for more resources of French Cinema.

Continue reading “Foreign Film Collection: Spotlight on France”