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Jen Miller

Teaching Lev Grossman's The Magicians

The MagiciansLast spring in an honors seminar on modern fantasy literature, I had the opportunity to teach Lev Grossman's The Magicians.  Overall, it was a very positive experience, with many of my students later telling me how they had recommended the novel to others.  We spent three 75-minutes class periods on the novel, and while I certainly felt like we could have continued the discussion even further, this amount of time was enough to cover the main issues at stake in the novel. 

Instead of providing a detailed account of everything that we did during those three days of class, I will focus on one of my main strategies for teaching the novel, as well as one of the major challenges that presented itself during our discussions. [note: the rest of this article will contain potential spoilers]  I then hope that others who have taught this novel will post their own experiences in the comments!

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Our Fantastic Week Ahead: August 8

The Magician KingHappy Magicians' Week!  We're celebrating the release of Lev Grossman's novel The Magician King this week, and to do so, we have all sorts of exciting magicians-related content to share with you.

As many of you might know, The Magician King is the sequel to The Magicians, Grossman's 2009 novel about a boy named Quentin Coldwater, his love of a children's series of fantasy novels, and a school for magic in upstate New York.  It's a wonderful novel, and one that we highly recommend, so needless to say, we're excited about the sequel!

We got things started early last Friday with this post about the world outside of The Magicians--a world that blurs the line between our reality and the reality of the novel in clever, creative, and fun ways.  And we'll continue the fun this week in many ways--including a guest post from Lev Grossman himself!

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Fantastically Fun Fridays: August 5, 2011

The Magician KingFirst of all, we'd like to congratulate the winners of our Hugo poll--N. K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and Ian McDonald's The Dervish House!  We like that there was a tie--this means that we are twice as likely to correctly predict the winner of the actual Hugo (unless, of course, you're a goblin in the Harry Potter series).  Thanks to everyone who voted!

Next week, we are celebrating the release of Lev Grossman's latest novel and the sequel to The Magicians--The Magician King, which will be released Tuesday, August 9th.  We've gotten things started early today by looking back at how the awesome-ness of The Magicians extends past the borders of the book itself, and we'll be featuring Magicians/Magician King themed content all next week.

While we definitely suggest you spend the weekend reading The Magicians if you haven't already, here are a few more fun things to keep you occupied until Monday:

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The Brilliance of Lev Grossman's The Magicians: The World Outside the Novel

The MagiciansFor those of you who haven't already, read Lev Grossman's novel The Magicians.  It's wonderful.  It's a novel that is both a familiar coming-of-age story, as well as a novel that plays with the comfortable conventions of fantasy literature.   And in many cases, it does more than play--as Elizabeth Simons wrote for us a few months ago, it challenges the reader in ways that are distinctly un-comfortable, but that open up new and exciting ways for thinking about fantasy literature.

So, in other words, read this novel.  Read it this weekend.  Why this weekend?  Because that will give you enough time to enjoy the whole thing before the sequel--The Magician King--is released on Tuesday.

And as much as I'm excited about finding out what happens next to Quentin Coldwater and his friends, the thing about The Magician King that I think I'm most looking forward to is seeing the ways in which it continues what I consider to be the most brilliant part of the first novel--the blurring of the line between the world of the novel and our real world.

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The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: The Artwork of Phil McDarby

I first came across the work of Phil McDarby a few years ago through Pat Rothfuss' Worldbuilders fundraiser.  Phil had created a wonderful visual representation of a scene from The Name of the Wind entitled "Luring the Draccus."  I noticed he had a website, so I headed over to check it out--and I was captivated by what I saw.

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