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Amanda Braun

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

Steven Wingate


This thesis explores the genre of fantastic fiction, one that encapsulates science fiction, horror, fantasy, and everything in between. This is a genre that is often hard to delineate and categorize, but has grown popular in recent years due to writers like Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke. Fantastic fiction exists as an amalgamation of genres, and characters often oscillate between the mundane and the marvelous: the question of whether the fantastic situation they are in is magical or just a product of their imagination. I argue that in this oscillation, the fantastic depends upon the assistance of two foundational themes within the genre: the Romantic and Victorian concept of the gothic, and the uncanny as developed by Freud. The gothic and uncanny within fantastic fiction create a heightened sense of uncertainty. Characters feel a sense of disassociation from themselves and their familiar surroundings, and the fantastic event is therefore able to permeate, and sometimes consume, their lives. In my first chapter I introduce the fantastic as an amalgamation, exploring its history and outlining the importance of the gothic and uncanny in creating its trademark sense of hesitance. My second chapter is a creative section in which I explore the themes of the gothic and uncanny through two short stories that take place in a town plagued by perpetual night. As endless night drags on, a young girl named Agatha learns that fairies might be taking the town for themselves. Finally, in my third chapter I reflect upon my creative work, outlining where I fit within the genre, the process of revision, and the obstacles I faced while writing.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Fantasy fiction -- History and criticism
Fantastic, The, in literature
Uncanny, The (Psychoanalysis), in literature
Gothic fiction (Literary genre)


Includes bibliographical references (pages 111-114)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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