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A Possible Future Reality

dglasser's picture

This is one of the most exciting and challenging assignments I’ve ever received. Laying out a syllabus that uses science fiction to exemplify how and why genre borders blur is daunting. I’ve done the best with what I know, while striving to keep away from works I’ve already read. After all, if we are all going to read together, we might as well all start from A.


Anyway, we have 9 classes so I’ve chosen three books. I think it’s fair, and not too slow to explore one book for three classes. I’ve tried to choose books based on author, summary, theme, and recommendation. However, being that there are so many science fiction novels, I’ve also offered a supplement to try and feed everyone’s “English” hunger.


1st BOOK: 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke.

                I thought it would be best to start with a classic, and read a book that is “obviously” science fiction, just so we can all get our footing before being knocked over. This novel has also been made into a movie and has resulted in many adaptations on tv etc. This can provide us with a multi-media view if we want to go there.


2nd BOOK: Jay’s Journal by Beatrice Sparks.

                This is completely different and really lies on the other end of the “sci fi” spectrum. It was written by the same author as Go Ask Alice. It dives into the mind of a teenager and explores Satanism. As I’ve said, I haven’t read it, but the reviews make it sound great. Sparks also claims it is based on a true story about a boy who killed himself from depression, so it can be viewed as a SCI-FI’ed MEMOIR. However, since it may be very dark, I have an alternate 2nd book idea…


DIFF 2nd BOOK:  Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.

                This isn’t the typical sci fi book. It takes place in the future, but not a future that seems impossible, and deals with the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It is quoted as a story of “human stupidity”, so it is sci fi, but it’s also an anti-war novel. Again, I haven’t read this, but I love Vonnegut, and he’s always a fun ride.


3rd BOOK: The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway

                This book is hard to describe based on everything I’ve read about it. It was recommended to me, and the more I look into it, the more it encapsulates the idea of genre blending. It’s called a science fiction novel, a comedy, a romance novel, and so much more. It is also supposed to make you smile and take you on a non-stop roller roaster ride…a fitting end to a class that’s all about the ups and downs, and ins and outs of genre.


Well, those are my suggestions: a “classic” sci-fi; a “questionable” sci-fi”; a “fun” sci-fi.

I am really looking forward to this Thursday’s class and reading everyone’s postsJ