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Old June 21 2013, 12:28 PM   #61
jayceee
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

E-DUB wrote: View Post
Those who are critical of Asimov's Foundation series should remember that when it was written the field was rather young. Also that Asimov was rather young. Those who find it perhaps cliche-ridden should recognize it as the source of some of the cliches.
Another early "cliche ridden" title is "A Princess of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

When I first read it, initially I thought it was a ripoff of generic sci-fi, fantasy, superhero, etc ... in an easy to read book. But when I noticed the original book publication date was 1917, I came to the realization "Princess of Mars" may very well have been one of the early original sources of sci-fi/fantasy/superhero tropes.
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Old June 21 2013, 04:47 PM   #62
E-DUB
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

That can happen in reverse. When I first read Vonnegut's "Sirens of Titan"I was young and thought it a straight SF novel rather than, as intended, a send-up of the genre.
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Old June 21 2013, 10:03 PM   #63
thestrangequark
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

E-DUB wrote: View Post
Those who are critical of Asimov's Foundation series should remember that when it was written the field was rather young. Also that Asimov was rather young. Those who find it perhaps cliche-ridden should recognize it as the source of some of the cliches.

When science fiction writers have been asked about their favorite series work many, if not most cite "Foundation". The series needs no defense from me but since it's a work from the forties that remains in print to this day, well, that ought to speak for itself.

(Dismounts from soapbox.)

Those interested in more contemporary SF that gets both the technology and the people right are advised to pick up some Robert J. Sawyer.
Those are not my criticisms of Foundation, personally, and while I cannot presume to know others' criticisms of the series, no one has yet faulted it for being cliched, and I think we are all well aware of when it was written and its (and Asimov's) subsequent influence on the genre.

I am critical of it because it sucks.
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Old June 21 2013, 10:17 PM   #64
Pondwater
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

I remember having to read Brave New World, which remains as a favorite of mine. Way better than having to read Wuthering Heights.
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Old June 21 2013, 10:37 PM   #65
Zion Ravescene
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

Pondwater wrote: View Post
I remember having to read Brave New World, which remains as a favorite of mine. Way better than having to read Wuthering Heights.
The same English teacher who gave us sci-fi short stories to read also recommended "Brave New World" to us, going as far as to explain the ideas behind the first part of the book to us - he seemed genuinely interested in science fiction works. I didn't get around to reading it until a short time later, and I remember my gut reaction upon first reading it was that I liked it more than "Nineteen Eighty Four" (which I also liked).
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Old June 22 2013, 09:32 PM   #66
suarezguy
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

I also read for school The Giver, Fahrenheit 451, 1984 and Animal Farm; all, especially the latter, bending genres but that can generate some of the best literature.
With classic sci-fi I was disappointed with Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and most of H. G. Wells (but loved The Time Machine).

Without trying to make the selections boring, I do think required books should be geared towards those students are not likely to read on their own anyway (i.e., exclude The Hobbit, The Hunger Games or Ender's Game given that their big-budget film adaptations are so recent). OTOH the curriculum should include, as well as particular books, some choices from within a genre.
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Old June 22 2013, 09:39 PM   #67
Nerys Myk
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
E-DUB wrote: View Post
Those who are critical of Asimov's Foundation series should remember that when it was written the field was rather young. Also that Asimov was rather young. Those who find it perhaps cliche-ridden should recognize it as the source of some of the cliches.

When science fiction writers have been asked about their favorite series work many, if not most cite "Foundation". The series needs no defense from me but since it's a work from the forties that remains in print to this day, well, that ought to speak for itself.

(Dismounts from soapbox.)

Those interested in more contemporary SF that gets both the technology and the people right are advised to pick up some Robert J. Sawyer.
Those are not my criticisms of Foundation, personally, and while I cannot presume to know others' criticisms of the series, no one has yet faulted it for being cliched, and I think we are all well aware of when it was written and its (and Asimov's) subsequent influence on the genre.

I am critical of it because it sucks.
I read it when I was about 13. Enjoyed it. When I read it again in my twenties is was a bit dry, boring and the lack of characterization made it a bit flat.
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Old June 23 2013, 10:08 AM   #68
desertstarlover
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Re: Mandatory sci-fi

I don't believe in making school compulsory, for most American elementary and middle school aged children, but that is another topic. Let this suffice: I unschooled my son and when he finally decided to attend school, he was very successful. It worked for him.

That being said, I would hope that literature teachers would include some science fiction titles in the reading lists that they hand out to their students.

Here are a few that come to mind:

"A Wrinkle in Time" - for younger ones
Short Stores from the Golden Age of Science Fiction
contemporary science fiction short stories
"The Lord of the Rings" series - fantasy, I know
Comics books depicting action figures with superpowers

Let the young reader choose ANY title within the genre.

I would also hope that the teacher would read those books and be able to have an intelligent classroom discussion about them!
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