With the success of franchises like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there’s no doubt about it: Genre-themed entertainment is having a major moment in pop culture. Enter the Fantastika Group. This new student club offers monthly lectures and discussions on all things fantasy, horror, and science fiction.
The group is the brainchild of Simone Caroti, Course Director for Creative Writing for Entertainment’s Literary Genre III class. Although the Creative Writing curriculum offers a comprehensive overview of genre-based storytelling, Simone wanted a place where students, faculty, and staff could come and explore topics of interest without feeling the pressure of sticking to a lesson plan.
The idea was so appealing that it caught the interest of two other Course Directors, Sidney Williams (Literary Genre II) and Josh Begley (Projects & Portfolio II).
“It’s a multi-headed monster,” jokes Sidney.
“In class, we’re teaching practical ways to approach the craft of storytelling,” adds Josh. “Fantastika allows us to cover more theory-based topics, which informs and reinforces the practical and allows our students to exercise their academic muscles in different ways.”
The group typically meets during the last week of the month for two-hour sessions broken into an hour-long lecture followed by an hour of discussion. All sessions are streamed via GoTo Training, meaning online students can join in the conversation.
“So far, we’ve had lectures on the evolution of the zombie in popular culture, the connection between the romantic movement and the modern horror genre, and an in-depth look at the work of Philip K. Dick,” says Sidney. “In particular, we have a really active online following that extends to students from all degree programs, not just Creative Writing.”
Based on the early success of the group, Simone, Josh, and Sidney have plans to produce an audio drama featuring original work by club members. And in the meantime, they’re constantly researching in order to bring interesting topics of conversation back to the group.
“The value of literature is that it teaches us about ourselves,” says Josh. “Our students get that, and we’re hopefully helping them draw connections between all the moving parts of topics they find interesting.”
To learn more about the Fantastika Group, head on over to Connect.