April 19, 2011

Ideas on Tuesday 9: Where’s the REALLY original Fantasy for Teens?

Go here: http://www.amazon.com/Top-Ten-Teen-Fantasy-Books/lm/YXG22221KD1B.

What do you see?

Wizards, dragons, magic, elves, dark lords, broomsticks and all the other stuff we always associate with “fantasy”.

TWO of them are different. One might rank as science fiction rather than fantasy – WRINKLE IN TIME (at least that’s how I read it when I was thirteen) – but the others rest squarely in the realm of what we think of as “traditional fantasy”.

Except THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH. While there are certainly kingdoms and at times the book reeks of its predecessor, THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, it is, nonetheless, a “modern” fantasy. Of course, the list here on Amazon is “personal” and doesn’t include the works we think of as really “popular”, like the endless variations of vampire books and the Harry Potter legion of clones meant to entertain us between HP books (can you say SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE…?). The thing is that some of these will be seeing the bottom bins of recycling containers everywhere in a few years while the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and HARRY POTTER and others will take their places in the annals of “classic children’s literature”.

CS Lewis said, “No man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring a tuppence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” (MERE CHRISTIANITY, Ch 11, Book 4)

Here you go: Using a hay bale (one of the round ones), a city park and a lamp made of used electrical conduit, circuit boxes and insulated wire – create an outline for a really TRUE young adult/teen fantasy.




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