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Faculty Mentor

Jon Volkmer


The Verge of Renaissance is a four-part novella which reimagines the conflict between science and religion in our society as a conflict between science and magic in a fantasy world. It also draws inspiration from the late medieval and renaissance periods in Europe, where science represented a new way of thinking and challenged long-held beliefs. Popular audiences can better understand these complex academic ideas when presented in a “fun” genre like fantasy fiction. Through this project, I hope to increase empathy and understanding by portraying real-world issues through the story’s characters. The Verge of Renaissance uses humor and immersive world building to depict a world readers will want to be a part of. In depicting a fantasy world with advancing technology, this novella also satirizes the cliché of fantasy stories stuck in the middle ages. To supplement my writing, I read a range of fantasy works, including C.S. Lewis’s allegorical The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Terry Pratchett’s satirical Discworld novel The Truth. Over the course of Summer Fellows, I received feedback on the story and revised it in a workshop setting.


Presented during the 22nd Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 24, 2020 at Ursinus College.

The downloadable file is an overview of the project in mp4 video format with a run time of 7:20.

The final project is available here.

Open Access

Available to all.