Visionary Fiction/Film

Visionary Art by Willow Arlenea
Visionary Art by Willow Arlenea

Visionary Fiction

Visionary Fiction embraces spiritual and esoteric wisdom, often from ancient sources, and makes it relevant for our modern life. Gems of this spiritual wisdom are brought forth in story form so that readers can experience the wisdom from within themselves. Visionary fiction emphasizes the future and envisions humanity’s transition into evolved consciousness. While there is a strong theme, it in no way proselytizes or preaches.

Visionary is a tone as well as a genre. The ‘visionary’ element can technically be present in any genre and set in any time.

Characteristic Features of Visionary Fiction:

  • Growth of consciousness is the central theme of the story and drives the protagonist, and/or other important characters.
  • The story oftentimes uses reincarnation, dreams, visions, paranormal events, psychic abilities, and other metaphysical plot devices.
  • The plot or story is universal in its worldview and scope.

So in short, the emphasis is on our limitless human potential, where transformation and evolution are entirely possible.

Edited version repostedfrom:

Visionary Ary by Nicole Mizoguchi
Visionary Ary by Nicole

Visionary Fiction Books:

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens; Celestine Prophecy, The – James Redfield; Chocolate and The Girl with No Shadow – Joanne Harris; From the Corner of His Eye – Dean Koontz; Illuminatus Trilogy, The  – Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea; Illusions – The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah – Robert Back; Javid Nama – (British India, poetry epic) – Muhammad Iqbal; Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Robert Bach; Journeys of Socrates, The – Dan Millman; Keeping Faith – Jodi Picoult; Life of Pi – Yann Martel; Mists of Avalon, The – Marion Zimmer Bradley; Odd Thomas series – Dean Koontz; No Retreat, No Surrender (Hong Kong/USA) – Corey Yuen (writer/director); Stand, The – Stephen King; Twelfth Insight, The: The Hour of Decision – James Redfield; Valis – Philip K. Dick; Way of the Peaceful Warrior – Dan Millman; What Dreams May Come – Richard Matheson (also the movie)

Visionary Fiction Children’s Books

A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle; Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White; The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis; Happy Prince, The – Oscar Wilde; Hobbit, The – J.R.R. Tolkein; Journeys of Socrates, The – Dan Millman; Neverending Story, The (and its US movie adaptation) – (Germany) – Michael Ende; Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Series) – Rick Riordan; Remarkable Rocket, The – Oscar Wilde; Selfish Giant, The – Oscar Wilde; Seven Roads to Happiness – Desmond  Marwood; Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Graham

Visionary Genre Films

Avatar; Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Cloud Atlas; Contact; Dreams Awake; Equilibrium; Great Dictator, The; Groundhog Day; Life of Pi; Star Wars; The Truman Show; The Way; What Dreams May Come; 2001: A Space Odyssey

Visionary Genre Television

Babylon 5; Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009; The Dead Zone; Dr. Wh; Stargate; Star Trek; Girl From Tomorrow, The (Australia) – Film Australia; Touched by an Angel

Magical Realism

Magical Realism Art by Tomek Setowski
Magical Realism Art by Tomek Setowski

Magical realism is an aesthetic style or genre of fiction in which magical elements are blended into a realistic atmosphere in order to access a deeper understanding of reality. These magical elements are explained like normal occurrences that are presented in a straightforward manner which allows the “real” and the “fantastic” to be accepted in the same stream of thought. It has been widely considered a literary and visual art genre; creative fields that exhibit less significant signs of magic realism include film and music.

In other words, magical realism can achieve its effects by either making marvelous a certain character’s perceptions and/or by making the setting itself marvelous.

Characteristics of magical realism include five primary traits:

  1. An “irreducible” magic which cannot be explained by typical notions of natural law.
  2. A realist description that stresses normal, common, every-day phenomena, which is then revised or “refelt”  by the marvelous. Extreme or amplified states of mind or setting are often used to accomplish this. (This distinguishes the genre from pure myth or fantasy.)
  3. It causes the reader to be drawn between the two views of reality.
  4. These two visions or realms nearly merge or intersect.
  5. Time is both history and the timeless; space is often challenged;identityis broken down at times.

    Magical Realism Art by Rob Gonsalves
    Magical Realism Art by Rob Gonsalves

Secondary characteristics often included are:

  1. The work is often meta-fictional or self-referential.
  2. The text may employ a “verbal magic” where metaphors are treated as reality.
  3. Phenomenological states may include the primitive or childless that seem to dislocate our initial perceptions/understandings.
  4. Repetition, as well as mirror reversals, are employed.
  5. Metamorphoses take place.
  6. Magic often is used against the established order.
  7. “Ancient systems of belief and local lore often underlie the text.”This results in a respect (however complicated) for local faith.
  8. Collective symbols and myths rather than individual ones haunt the work.
  9. The fiction in form and language often embraces the carnivalesque.

Magical realism, then, calls on certain reading strategies:

  • Magical realism has a tendency to defamiliarize the scene for readers; readers learn that they have not come entirely ready to understand the situation, that what we thought we knew is found to be strange, for it has something entirely unexpected to teach us.
  • Magical realism’s readers learn “border skipping” because they must move between fabulism and European realism (Rowland Wilson).
  • Magical realism in some forms can be understood as a post-colonial move that seeks to resist European notions of naturalism or realism.  At times, it calls for a deep hybridity of cultures and reading experiences.

Much of this material is taken from Zamora, Lois Parkinson and Wendy B. Faris. ( Ed.) Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Durham: Duke UP, 1995.

Magical Realism Fiction Books:

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez; The House of the Spirits – Isabel Allende; Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel; Beloved – Toni Morrison; Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin

Magical Realism Films:

Like Water for Chocolate; The Green Mile; Undertow; The Mistress of Spices; Alice; The Purple Rose of Cairo; Midnight in Paris; Time of the Gypsies


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