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ELE 616 Research in Children’s Literature Fall 2011 Science Fiction … and Bears?
March 18, 2011 Science Fiction 2 What is Science Fiction? George Hay: “Science fiction is what you find on the shelves in the library marked science fiction.” Definitions of Science Fiction
March 18, 2011 Science Fiction 3 Sci-fi authors define sci-fi Brian W. Aldiss: “Science fiction is the search for definition of man and his status in the universe which will stand in our advanced but confused state of knowledge (science), and is characteristically cast in the Gothic or post-Gothic mould.” Trillion Year Spree: the History of Science Fiction (London, 1986) Definitions of Science Fiction
March 18, 2011 Science Fiction 4 Isaac Asimov: “Science fiction is that branch of literature which is concerned with the impact of scientific advance upon human beings.” Isaac Asimov, in “Modern Science Fiction”, edited by Reginald Bretnor (1953) Definitions of Science Fiction Sci-fi authors define sci-fi
March 18, 2011 Science Fiction 5 Ray Bradbury: “Science fiction is really sociological studies of the future, things that the writer believes are going to happen by putting two and two together.” Definitions of Science Fiction Sci-fi authors define sci-fi
March 18, 2011 Science Fiction 6 Sci-fi authors define sci-fi Frederik Pohl: “The future depicted in a good SF story ought to be in fact possible, or at least plausible. That means that the writer should be able to convince the reader (and himself) that the wonders he is describing really can come true...and that gets tricky when you take a good, hard look at the world around you.” The Shape of Things to Come and Why It Is Bad, SFC, December 1991 Definitions of Science Fiction
7 Scalzi’s Three Criteria for Science Fiction 1. The Work Takes Place in the Future --or what was the future when the work was completed. Alternate timelines may also qualify if they follow at least one of the other criteria. 2. The Work Uses Technology that Does Not Currently Exist --or (again) did not exist at the time the work was completed. Extrapolation from existing technology qualifies as well. What is Science Fiction Anyway?From John Scalzi’s blog
Science Fiction 8 Scalzi’s Three Criteria for Science Fiction 3. Events Are, By and Large, Rationally Based I’ll quote myself here: “Though important events, situations and characters may in themselves be fantastical, science fiction assumes an explanation based on a logical universe. This is opposed to fantasy works, and some horror, in which such ideas are described through magic or the whims of the gods.” What is Science Fiction Anyway?
March 18, 2011 Science Fiction 9 SF in education Explore Science Fact With Science Fiction A unit on genetics had Sephali Ray’s students jazzed. A seventh-grade science teacher at the New York City Lab School, a public middle- and high-school, Ray didn't stop with the scientific facts. “It’s absurd for students to talk about how DNA works without trying to understand its implications for society,” says Ray. Link Science & Literacy by Meg Lundstrom
Science Fiction 10 How this works: Julie E. Czerneda Good science fiction is story, science, and speculation all wrapped up in a package custom-made for improving literacy and critical-thinking skills-it does not get more convenient. Students prepare by analyzing a work of science fiction and examining the underlying science idea in terms of the attitude and knowledge conveyed through the story about the author, following this with research on the author. Science Fiction and Scientific Literacy, The Science Teacher, February 2006.
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Every Sunday[now Friday!] our characters talk about a book they’ve read in full-page full-color comic strips. Our book clubs are posted in libraries, book stores, and in homes, and you have our permission to do so too (write us if you're interested in other uses). March 18, 2011 Science Fiction 14
March 18, 2011 Science Fiction 15 Source for reviews SF Site is composed of many pieces. Twice a month since July 1997, we have posted a mixture of book reviews, opinion pieces, author interviews, fiction excerpts, author and publisher reading lists and a variety of other features. At the same time, we've maintained a comprehensive list of links to author and fan tribute sites, SF conventions, SF TV and movies, magazines and e-zines, writer resources, publishers and small press sites and many other SF resources. http://www.sfsite.com/
March 18, 2011 Science Fiction 16 Another source for reviews Welcome to sffworld.com, one of the largest SF and Fantasy sites on the Internet today. All run by a bunch of volunteers who invest of their spare time to make this possible. About sffworld.com
March 18, 2011 Science Fiction 17 Sci-Fi Awards Hugos The Hugo Award was named in honor of Hugo Gernsback, “The Father of Magazine Science Fiction,” as he was described in a special award given to him in 1960. The Hugo Award, also known as the Science Fiction Achievement Award, is given annually by the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS). The distinguishing characteristics of the Hugo Award are that it is sponsored by WSFS, administered by the committee of the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) held that year, and determined by nominations from and a popular vote of the membership of WSFS. What are the Hugo Awards?
A 2010 Hugo Winner for Girls? 18 Girl Genius is written by Professors Phil & KajaFoglio of TPU, with drawings by Prof. P. Foglio.
March 18, 2011 Science Fiction 19 Sci-Fi Awards Nebulas The Nebula Awards® are voted on, and presented by, active members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. Since 1965, the Nebula Awards have been given each year for the best novel, novella, novelette, and short story eligible for that year's award. About the Award
2009 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy (a Nebula, awarded in 2010) 20 While The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland was originally available here in its entirety, the final act has been taken down in anticipation of the book being published in May 2011 from Feiwel and Friends.
Science Fiction 21 Sci-Fi vs. Fantasy A personal definition: For myself, I claim that if ScF is the literature of change, then fantasy is the literature of longing: instead of writing about the world as it might some day become, it writes about the world as we wish it could be or have been. In support of this, I point to the many fantasy works in which undistinguished protagonists turn out to have special and valuable powers, and to the many more in which the boundary between good and evil is so sharp you can cut yourself on it (and, still more surprisingly, there are no disputes about where it lies). Science Fiction versus Fantasy, part of Richard Teitel’sWhat is Science Fiction? site.
An SF author’s view Fredrick Pohl If anyone were to force me to make a thumbnail description of the differences between SF and fantasy, I think I would say that SF looks towards an imaginary future, while fantasy, by and large, looks towards an imaginary past. Both can be entertaining. Both can possibly be, perhaps sometimes actually are, even inspiring. But as we can't change the past, and can't avoid changing the future, only one of them can be real. Pohlemic, SFC, May 1992 Definitions of Science Fiction March 18, 2011 Science Fiction 22
March 18, 2011 Science Fiction 23 Star Wars: Fantasy or Sci-Fi?
Star Wars could be considered both science fantasy and standard science fiction
A definition, offered by Rod Serling, is that “science fiction makes the implausible possible, while science fantasy makes the impossible plausible.” The meaning is that science fiction describes unlikely things that could possibly take place in the real world under certain conditions, while science fantasy gives a veneer of realism to things that simply could not happen in the real world under any circumstances. Another interpretation is that science fiction does not permit the existence of supernatural elements; science fantasy does. Wikipedia (an article that “has multiple issues.”)
Bears in Space? Bears in scifi, at least? “Bears Discover Fire” by Terry Bisson Locally appropriate, too! Terry Bisson writes very American science fiction, rooted in a strong sense of place (Owensboro, Kentucky) and time (the present day, or something very like it) The narrator, his brother and his nephew suffer a flat tyre one night; their flashlight goes out, and the narrator changes the tyrein “a flood of dim orange flickery light... coming from two bears at the edge of the woods, holding torches.” Review by Nicholas WhyteWinner of a 1990 Nebula and 1991 Hugo for best short story plus other awards 24
A bear close to space! Tinker and Tom and the star baby (1998) Books for Youth, For the Young: Ages 3-5. Accompanied by his bear sidekick Tom, jammy-clad Tinker spots a baby star falling into his backyard. They then discover a small spaceship with an alien baby who can levitate objects, such as a threatening cat and even Tinker’s father. . . . Laughs come from the deft mix of slapstick and whimsy, such as Tinker's imaginative rocket fuel straight off the refrigerator shelf. Science fiction for young children is rare, and this gentle adventure is just right for the intended audience. Booklist review, cited in NoveList 25