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Fantasy Elements in Nonfiction Settings - Your Thoughts?

This has been on my mind quite a bit lately. What do you all think about the incorporation of the fantastical in peices that are or appear to be non-fiction, or at least are set in locales that are real. In the strictest sense, this is by definition Magical Realism, harking primarily to the innovators of the genre from South America.

But more specifically, what else? The film Pan's Labyrinth immediately comes to mind; with the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, this film makes use of elements of fantasy. And, in terms of our genre of fantasy (not just elements that are 'unreal' as in Magical Realism, what else is out there already in this genre? I know in some threads, many of you have mentioned sotires involving clans of underground elves and what not existing within the context of modern society.

I'd really like to know how much exists in terms of film and 'popular' (meaning...selling) literature. Now, please don't throw Twilight at me....ewww! And HP is an obvious example, but to an extreme degree. Are there more subtle occurences?

Some of my favorite examples of what I mean:

*CHILD THIEF - This book by Brom is a must read for everyone on this site. Make no mistake, this is one of the best peices of modern literature. Period. A twisted and highly developed version of the Peter Pan tale, this serves as a great example of a real-world setting with a window into something more fantastic. However, slightly more than half of the book takes place in the fantasy world.

*A single-scene example from X-Men. A perfect example (without the rest of the mutants and story line) is when a young Magneto is set in the back-drop of a concentration camp during WWII and develops his ability in a moment of stress.

Others to consider or discuss: (I'd like to refrain from YA as there is a ton of this there...PJ, HP, etc.)

The Dresden Files
The Neverending Story
Edward Scissorhands??
Big Fish
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (SP)?
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The main example of this that I can think of is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It is the story of a young girl living in Germany during WWII. The fantastical part is the books narrator, Death. As in the grim reaper, the guy with the scythe, he who comes to collect the souls of people who kick the bucket! He is actually kind of funny, in a wry, morbid sort of way. I read it because it was summer reading for my senior year in high school but I absolutely fell in love with it. I would HIGHLY recommend it to all of you.
I've read the first few chapters of that work, but for one reason or another stopped or had to stop. I need to pick it up again and finish.


In the movie Ravenous, an existential slasher/thriller, an old Union soldier is posted in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There he is stalked by some wendigo monster that turns out to be a cannibal. The assumption is that if you eat the flesh of a human, you gain their strength, making you superhuman. It deals with a lot of "if you had to, would you" kind of conflict, almost like a nightmare. It's very quirky and intelligent once you get passed the notion of eating people makes you stronger-- but I'm sure it's supposed to be related to the power of will like Nietzsche's Ubermensch. It's pretty interesting. Here's a cool trailer. Damon Albarn did the soundtrack btw.

"He was licking me!!!"
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