Outside the Box

Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories Without End for Learning and Discussion

Non-Fiction - Education
352 Pages
Reviewed on 04/05/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

Outside the Box: Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories without End for Learning and Discussion by Taylor Sapp is a book you should have if you want to write in a creative, imaginative way. It is written for students and works like “writing prompts.” There is much to enjoy in this book. The stories are incomplete and they keep the reader thinking about what could happen next. Taylor Sapp creates a hook for each story, a strong premise, and then allows the imagination of the reader to be ignited. Each story is followed by a series of questions that help in building character, exploring ideas for plot development, writing the setting, and crafting a conflict that can take the story forward.

Taylor Sapp is a great teacher who makes the writing process easier for students with prompts that are strong and mind-boggling. I found the questions to be relevant and formulated to keep the reader thinking about the different things that can happen to the story. One of the stories is a confrontation between Sam and a genie who asks her what she really wants. It is a clichéd idea, one may think at the opening, but the questions that follow invite the reader to think deeper and to consider complex issues that might arise. The stories range from making a wish to the powerful body swap candy, to the English class on Mars, to time travel, and to many others. Outside the Box: Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories without End for Learning and Discussion is intelligently conceived and written to be a powerful tool for teachers and anyone interested in writing a great story. This author just gave me ideas for my own writing. The book will be a great companion for writers and I loved the fact that each story contains guiding questions that can lead the reader to multiple writing paths.

Foluso Falaye

Outside the Box by Taylor Sapp is a collection of stories intended to get students engaged with ideas—including both the possible and impossible—and to encourage debate and creativity. It also serves as an educational tool and contains questions for discussions and testing, exercises, quizzes, projects, and other creative tasks related to the story. The book is divided into two sections. The first section contains unfinished stories with less than 500 words each; students supply their endings. In the second section, there are unfinished stories paired with a possible ending—making up a complete story, individually. The stories include topics such as body swapping, ghost hunting, robot companionship, baby shopping, thought monitoring, and more.

Imagine if there was a way to change someone's personality instantly or a world that's so technologically advanced that rebirth is possible. Outside the Box felt like a cheat sheet to unlocking creative ideas as the topics discussed in the book are impressively vast and mind-blowing. However, a good part of the audience may find some of the topics questionable: humans marrying animals, the Illuminati, gender changing, human cannibalism, and others. Many of the stories are unpredictable as they include surprising twists and revelations. Taylor Sapp's writing style is easy to enjoy, and I believe the target audience—the ESL classroom and any other classrooms—would equally find it entertaining and also educative if they can get past the strangeness of some of the stories. Included in the book are several beautiful pictures that enhance learning and boost imagination. In summary, Outside the Box is a brilliant approach to teaching students how to be creative with sci-fi and fantasy, but not everyone may enjoy the book's concepts.

K.C. Finn

Outside The Box is a work of non-fiction in the education genre and is part of a series of books called Stories Without End. It is aimed at younger readers and educators and was penned by Taylor Sapp. The book follows the premise of the rest of the Stories Without End series by providing a collection of stories with no given ending, only the invitation for the reader to produce their own. This book in particular focuses on Science Fiction and Fantasy stories, with a view to helping the reader explore the themes of these genres through their own creative writing.

Author Taylor Sapp delivers a highly engaging read which offers interesting and accessible creative writing challenges for budding writers. One of the things that I was most impressed by was the author's ability to make this accessible to a wide range of readers, whilst still maintaining a good level of challenge. Outside The Box successfully manages to give interesting and well-thought-out prompts whilst still allowing room for creativity and discussion. I found that the stories Sapp includes were well developed and diverse, meaning that most readers will find topics that interest and inspire them. Alongside the writing tasks, the author includes questions and vocabulary activities which I felt was a superb addition that will allow readers to further develop their own skills. Overall, I would recommend this book to teachers looking for interesting tools to use in the classroom, and writers who are looking for thought-provoking prompts to aid them.