Mandatory sci-fi

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Miss Chicken, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It seems foolhardy to legislate this. There's tons of classics that never get covered in school. It's just a taste of literature. So why would they waste their class hours on books that don't live up to the standards of the classics? Consider me biased towards Sci Fi. I don't think it is all that well-written, most of it.
     
  2. Spot's Meow

    Spot's Meow Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I think Animal Farm gets its own category, Talking Animal Allegories.
     
  3. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

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    ^I would've just gone with satire. :)
     
  4. Spot's Meow

    Spot's Meow Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    ^Well that works too. :lol: But really, Animal Farm is unlike any other book I've read. It gave me a strange feeling.
     
  5. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

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    I think I read it around the same year the movie Babe came out, and they've kind of morphed into one entity in my head (not actually a hard thing to do). Babe gives me an uneasy feeling too.
     
  6. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Is "Speaker For the Dead" any better from an adult's perspective? I remember liking that one the best of that universe.

    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.
     
  7. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

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    I couldn't tell you. Honestly, I was so appalled by Ender's Game that I didn't reread Speaker for the Dead.
    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.
     
  8. jayceee

    jayceee Commander Red Shirt

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    I haven't read Darwin's Radio.

    The first sci-fi book I read from cover to cover on my own, was the Neuromancer. Even after reading it, I still didn't really know what the book was about.
     
  9. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

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    The reason I brought up Darwin's Radio is that it is a prime example of hard sci-fi...it's more about the science than the story. This obviously means that the story-telling suffers a bit, but the science is compelling enough that it doesn't matter and the author is competent enough to handle the material. I thought maybe it would be something someone who is more keen on nonfiction might be interested in. The sequel is pretty good too. I'd also recommend Ted Chiang's short story "Story of Your Life" for someone who is into physics and mathematics, as another good bit of hard sci-fi. Also, the Spider Robinson short story, "Melancholy Elephants", which (appropriately, given the subject matter), you can read for free online, which isn't as "hard" on the technical level as the others, but is about science, philosophy, and consequences more than characters. There is some very good sci fi out there with very solid science and compelling theories and projections.
     
  10. jayceee

    jayceee Commander Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  11. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  12. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Foundation is godawful.
     
  13. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

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  14. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    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.:p
     
  15. nureintier

    nureintier Commander Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  16. Rincewiend

    Rincewiend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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...
     
  17. Avon

    Avon Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  18. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh yes, definitely there and definitely intense. Which is funny because a lot of fundamentalist Christians hated her.
     
  19. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Admiral Premium Member

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    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.
     
  20. Zulu Romeo

    Zulu Romeo World Famous Starship Captain Admiral

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    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.

    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.