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Old June 18 2013, 05:14 AM   #31
thestrangequark
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

jayceee wrote: View Post
thestrangequark wrote: View Post
There is some very good sci fi out there with very solid science and compelling theories and projections.
I tried reading Asimov's Foundation titles.

At times I found it somewhat hard to suspend disbelief, when reconciling it with my partial familiarity of mathematical modeling.
Heh...I hated Foundation.

Read the Chiang story, "Story of Your Life". It's beautiful and based around an equation. Plus, if you don't like it you haven't wasted a bunch of time on a whole novel. The point is that with good hard sci fi the author knows what s/he's talking about. The science doesn't distract you, it compels you because it really is plausible, and the authors have the actual scientific chops to back it up. You don't have to suspend disbelief to get into these books, because the science is not just believable, but accurate and plausible.
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Old June 18 2013, 05:16 AM   #32
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

Foundation is godawful.
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Old June 18 2013, 05:17 AM   #33
thestrangequark
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

^Yep.
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Old June 18 2013, 05:28 AM   #34
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

In High School they offered a class called Science Fiction, Fantasy and the Future as an English elective. We read the Hobbit, 2001, The Odyssey and couple of more obscure books. Reading the Hobbit was interesting because I had read Lord of the Rings three years before. The class was an easy A and a few people in the class would try to cheat off me.
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Old June 18 2013, 06:47 AM   #35
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

I remember reading some Bradbury in high school. That was about it. I read a lot of scifi outside of school though.

I think it would be good if schools represented more genres.
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Old June 18 2013, 11:07 AM   #36
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

teacake wrote: View Post
Foundation is godawful.
thestrangequark wrote: View Post
^Yep.
I prefer the Daneel/Giskard Robot novels...
And if i wanted to make kids read scifi or fantasy i would most likely give them Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams to read...
Anne McCaffrey's Pern series and Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga are nice ones to start them on as well...
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Old June 18 2013, 11:24 AM   #37
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

every book i read in school i ended up hating. mainly because it felt like i was forced to read them and not find them on my own and enjoy them at my own pace.

also Douglas Adams should not be taught in schools. those hitchhikers books are just a few funny gags connected by hundreds of pages of rambling tedium. Adams is the Dan Brown of Scifi-comedy.
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Old June 18 2013, 03:19 PM   #38
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
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I'd never thought about an anti-communist bent of A Wrinkle in Time, but thinking about it I can totally see that. I adore that book; well, L'Engle in general really.
That is something I also did not pick up on as a kid, and only saw as an adult -- but saw blatantly. The whole thing, while wonderful, is massively soaked in Cold War psychology. There is also a weirdly intense Christian undertone that becomes more and more obvious in the later books.
Oh yes, definitely there and definitely intense. Which is funny because a lot of fundamentalist Christians hated her.
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Old June 18 2013, 05:00 PM   #39
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

I remember a couple months ago I had a conversation with a teacher about the types of things people read in those standardized tests. I mentioned that when I took the tests (Called the STAR - Standardized Testing and Reporting - test in California) one of the things I hated was the reading comprehension portions because those stories were boring.

It lead to my feeling that yeah, why do we have just a few specific genres taught to students. We have Shakespeare (Which, I'm not entirely sure why learning Shakespeare is really necessary in today's world) and classic English with a few books like 1994 tossed in for good measure.

I would love to see the good classic writers be taught in schools and let the kids decide what is good or not. Authors like Bradbury, Wells, Orwell and even the modern writers should be taught in schools. If schools are supposed to open up student's minds, sci fi does just that.
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Old June 18 2013, 05:01 PM   #40
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

One of my first exposures to sci-fi literature was when I was very young, and I got hold of a series of children's story books which included various writers but most notably some stories by Arthur C Clarke.

We never had any sci-fi set texts at school (we had the likes of Shakespeare, Chaucer, Austen, Brecht, Larkin and Burns as our usual literary go-tos) but I do remember one of our English teachers introducing us to a few sci-fi short stories once our exams had finished, including some by Philip K Dick.

"Animal Farm" was mentioned earlier - we were actually taught that book at school, with a particular focus on its satirical content and background. I think a lot of people in our class were first introduced to George Orwell's works in this way.

junxon wrote: View Post
also Douglas Adams should not be taught in schools. those hitchhikers books are just a few funny gags connected by hundreds of pages of rambling tedium. Adams is the Dan Brown of Scifi-comedy.
We got to choose which books we wanted to read and discuss for our English dissertations. Interestingly enough, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" was on a list of suitable and suggested texts for said dissertations. I went for something different and chose the sci-fi and spec-fi works of HG Wells for my dissertation, having enjoyed reading "The Time Machine" earlier. Having said that, after seeing the TV adaptation first, I got into the Hitchhiker's Guide books later and in my own time, and enjoyed the surreal, clever and absurdly British sense of humour in those books.
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Old June 18 2013, 05:48 PM   #41
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

You know what the perfect scifi book for high school students to read would be? Containment by Christian Cantrell. If you haven't read this I highly recommend it. It's about teenagers in a futuristic society, living in a Venus colony. It's got all of the elements of a great story; underlying mystery (we start with the main character waking up from an unexplained coma), urgency (they have to solve the problems of a depleting oxygen supply), a bit of romance, great character development, an elaborate world that you feel a part of, and a great surprise ending.

Cantrell also does a perfect job of balancing a human story with hard science. The kind of tech that he describes in detail actually seems plausible and really cool.

Okay, it sounds like I'm just advertising the book now , but I'm not usually into scifi novels and this one has actually become one of my favorite books I've ever read.
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Old June 18 2013, 05:59 PM   #42
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

When I was in high school they had the students read and analyze one big novel for each grade. When I was a freshman it was Dune.
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Old June 18 2013, 06:45 PM   #43
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

Spot's Meow wrote: View Post
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Does Animal Farm count as sci-fi?
I think Animal Farm gets its own category, Talking Animal Allegories.
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^I would've just gone with satire.
How 'bout satirical animal fantasy?

But, no, it's not sci-fi. I threw it in with 1984 because I couldn't remember which one I read in school and which on my own.
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Old June 18 2013, 07:52 PM   #44
Owain Taggart
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

My education was through french schools with a number of english classes, which were some of my favourites. We read a lot of fiction in those classes. The one sci-fi book I remember having to read was The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, which I remember being a really convoluted book, with much I didn't understand. In general, I didn't find the book choices to be particularly inspired and it wasn't until I got older that I started reading for pleasure.

Oh, I love Darwin's Radio! One of my favourite books

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Old June 18 2013, 08:49 PM   #45
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
In High School they offered a class called Science Fiction, Fantasy and the Future as an English elective.
My high school had a similar arrangement when I started the 9th grade in 1977. But the class was for either the 10th or the 11th grade and by the time I reached the appropriate grade, that elective was dropped.

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