March 2018 Book Talks

S1 Book Talks March 2018: Fantasy & Science Fiction

What is fantasy?

  • A genre of fiction which draws on magic and the supernatural world
  • Often exists in parallel worlds
  • Very often draw on mythical stories
  • Almost always good vs evil
  • Sometimes includes time shift stories

What is Science Fiction?

  • Although this may draw on other worlds, sci-fi is usually futuristic in approach
  • Rooted in actuality such as time travel, space travel and extra-terrestrial life
  • Very often includes scientific or technological backgrounds
  • Often includes an alien race
  • May include time shift stories

We shall be looking at, reading and discussing:

Railhead by Philip Reeve: shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017

“Come with me, Zen Starling”, she had said. The girl in the red coat. But how did she know his name? The Great Network is a place of drones and androids, maintenance spiders and Station Angels. The place of the thousand gates, where sentient trains criss-cross the galaxy in a heartbeat. Zen Starling is a petty thief, a street urchin from Thunder City. So when mysterious stranger Raven sends Zen and his new friend Nova on a mission to infiltrate the Emperor’s train, he jumps at the chance to traverse the Great Network, to cross the galaxy in a heartbeat, to meet interesting people – and to steal their stuff. But the Great Network is a dangerous place, and Zen has no idea where his journey will take him…

Mister Monday: The Keys to the Kingdom Book 1 by Garth Nix

Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is, in fact, supposed to die an early death. But then he is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock. Arthur is safe – but his world is not. Along with the key comes a plague brought by bizarre creatures from another realm. A stranger named Mister Monday, his avenging messengers with blood-stained wings, and an army of dog-faced Fetchers will stop at nothing to get the key back – even if it means destroying Arthur and everything around him. Desperate, Arthur ventures into a mysterious house – a house that only he can see. It is in this house that Arthur must unravel the secrets of the key – and discover his true fate.

Northern Lights: His Dark Materials 1 by Philip Pullman

“Without this child, we shall all die.” Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world…


Unleashed series by Ali Sparkes

A group of special teenagers, each with an incredible power. They live together and learn how to use their abilities, protected from those who wish to harm them. Now, for one short week they are let out into the world, with strict instructions that they must not use their powers. But good intentions are easy . . . following them through is a different matter. For Lisa, every day is about life and death. Because she can hear dead people talking, and they just won’t leave her alone. But on a trip to London it’s the living who need her help. Someone is kidnapped and this time Lisa knows she has to help, even though it means walking into mortal danger. Now Lisa is in fear for her own life is there anyone to help her?

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

It’s Christmas-time in the Stanton family house: presents, carol singing, good cheer. But for eleven-year-old Will Stanton something sinister has begun, inching round his subconscious, shouting silent warnings he can’t decipher. Then on Midwinter Day Will wakes up to a different world – silent, covered in snow and ancient forest, a world of another time. A world where evil lurks. Because Will is not the ordinary boy he always thought he was. He is the last of the Old Ones and the power to vanquish the evil magic of the Dark lies within him.



Other sci-fi writers

  • Alison Allen-Gray
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Nicholas Fisk
  • Sally Gardner
  • Charlie Higson
  • Sophie McKenzie
  • George Orwell
  • H G Wells
  • John Wyndham


Other fantasy series

  • Trudi Canavan
  • Eoin Colfer
  • Joseph Delaney
  • Roderick Gordon
  • Ian Johnstone
  • William Nicholls
  • Jennifer Nielsen
  • C S Lewis
  • Christopher Paolini
  • Lemony Snicket
  • Philip Reeve – or is he science fiction?