Thursday, August 11, 2011

Science Fiction Favorites of the NPR Audience

This ceramic coaster
by Cie McCullough
represents the castles
of many of the magical
kingdoms on the  final list.
This summer, NPR asked for nominations for the top 100 science-fiction, fantasy books. It received 6000 nominations and settled on a list of finalists. This list was posted in the blog npr books on 8/2/11. Many of the nominees are suitable for youth. Many are classics of the genre. Many are rooted in magic. Some have been the basis of movies.

On the same day, npr books posted the list of 100 winners. For several of these, the series took the winning, with one book of the series posted.

I did not vote. I kick myself for that because of my top 20 favorite authors, only 4 made the final list. Of the 6000 nominees, only half of my favorite authors had a book or series nominated.

Of the winners, I would say most are suitable for youth. However, NPR plans another list for YA books, so did not include specifically YA books on the list. I suppose that is why the Harry Potter books were not included.

Check out both lists. Save a copy for future reference in your personal files. Do send me a list of the ones chosen in either list that you think are suitable for youth in the comments to this post. And add the books that you think should have been included. Comment away!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Facebook Report: Lots of Links to Speculative Fiction -- 7/16/11

Summer has everyone busy and few actually posting to Facebook. There have been some interesting conversations at David Brin's pages and Robert Sawyer has been busy with tours, conventions and such. However, I did not keep a sharp enough eye out so did not get to grab them. Visit Facebook and search for your favorite authors to see what they are doing. There are dozens of SF authors posting frequently.   ~Valerie C.

Reading For the Future Today is the birth date of our own Jim Gunn, American science fiction author, editor, scholar, and anthologist.
In his honor we are posting a link to AboutSF.
For more about James Gunn, please see
John C. Tibbetts donates rare interview materials to CSSF/AboutSF | AboutSF
AboutSF is a resource center for speculative literature, science fiction, and education. We are a joint project of the University of Kansas, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and the Science Fiction Research Association, with generous support from Tor Books, The Heinlein Prize Tru
William Wood I wish Gunn's multi-volume "The Road to Science Fiction" would be Kindlized. I'd love to have a portable version of that collection!
Mary Rose James Gunn is a marvel and a HUGE influence on the field. He is such a modest man that he will never admit it, but he has jump-started the careers of many and inspired countless more.
Reading For the Future Reading For the Future I mentioned William's comment to J. Gunn via the RFF group on Yahoo! He replied, "Good idea! I'll suggest it to Scarecrow Press. Jim"~Valerie C.

Reading For the Future Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988)
Just a reminder - Heinlein Juveniles
Heinlein Society - Official Robert Anson Heinlein Estate Endorsed Website
The Heinlein Society is endorsed by the Robert Heinlein and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust, and exists to preserve and pay forward the legacy of author Robert Anson Heinlein.

Reading For the Future Andy Love sent this comment via the RFF Yahoo Group: "The old notion that science strips the world of wonder and joy rears its head in the NYT and is slapped down here (see link below). (I'm the Andrew in the comments quoting Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov [who was quoting someone else], and XKCD, all in science's defense)." ~Valerie C.
Does it Spoil Anything to Know How the Tricks Are Done? : EvolutionBlog
Writing in The New York Times, Tim Kreider wonders if the immediate availability of information has robbed us of the romance of not knowing: Instant accessibility leaves us oddly disappointed, bored, endlessly craving more. I've often had the experience of...
Ellen Albistegui DuBois All of the poets quoted are Romantic. The Romantic movement, a response to the burgeoning industrial revolution and a rebellion against Classicism and the Enlightenment, has always seen logic as something less human than instinct. This id...
Reading For the Future Agreed, Ellen - which is why I chose not to post this ~Cie

Reading For the Future satire –noun
1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
parody –noun,
1. a humorous or satirical imitation of a serious piece of literature or writing: his hilarious parody of Hamlet's soliloquy.
Are the genres of science-fiction and fantasy i... -
The question was raised recently in #scifichat on Twitter, whether the science fiction and fantasy genres were compatible with humor and satire. I have included the definitions of satire, parody and humor below.

Michael O'Brien I've read a lot of funny science-fiction, but I suspect it will be more difficult to write in future because there may not be the shared cultural background that makes it easy to share humour.

Reading For the Future NPR wants to know OUR favorites!
The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy Books? You Tell Us : NPR
To help you chart any fantastic voyages you might take this vacation season, NPR Books is focusing our annual summer readers' poll on science fiction and fantasy. Share your favorite titles: Your votes will decide the titles that make our top-100 list of the best "SF/F" titles ever written.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

FB Report: Lots of Links on Speculative Fiction -- 6/15/11

Rahul Talakanti I Like science Fiction.i was An Alien in my past Life in Another Galaxy. my Age is 18,00years in my past Life.i Got my past Life Through a Dream in a midnight sleep. on That planet Aliens 'Life span' is 3,000years.(1 Day=100hrs, 1 year = 1000 Days). on That planet Aliens are Looking so Handsome.They haven't ill, Dandruff,Fungal infections,cancer,cold,.,.etc. ...Their Body Resistance power is so GOOD. on That planet motor cars,vehicles are used solar Energy,Not Like us petrol,Diesel,.,.etc. Their Film Actors are Looking Like Angels.
5 minutes ago · Like ·
Reading For the Future Rahul, this sounds like the seeds of a book. Why not write one about your dreams as you experience that world? If the book is suitable for kids, let us know--especially since this page focuses on books for children as shared by speculative and science fiction fans.~Valerie C.

Reading For the Future
We who read science fiction read it because we love to experience this chain-reaction of ideas being set off in our minds by something we read, something with a new idea in it; hence the very best science fiction ultimately winds up being a collaboration between author and reader, in which both create--and enjoy doing it: joy is the essential and final ingredient of science fiction, the joy of discovery of newness.
Reading For the Future ?~Philip K. Dick
Rahul Talakanti I Like science Fiction.i was An Alien in my past Life in Another Galaxy. my Age is 18,00years in my past Life.i Got my past Life Through a Dream in a midnight sleep. on That planet Aliens 'Life span' is 3,000years.(1 Day=100hrs, 1 year = 10...
See More

Reading For the Future from Cynthia Ward Announcing TR:SF, an all-science fiction special issue, coming this fall.
Technology Review Goes From Fact to (Science) Fiction - Technology Review
Many of the editors at Technology Review are long-time science fiction fans--like many scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs, our interest in science and technology was sparked by a heavy diet of science fiction in our youth. For us, science fiction is another way to approach the same fundamental...

Reading For the Future thank you Christopher Barzak for another response to the WAJ article
Why the Best Kids Books Are Written in Blood
Some cultural critics argue that kids books have become too violent, too dark, too adult. Sherman Alexie, author of "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," argues that such books give young readers the tools they need to survive.
Ruth R. Davidson Thank you! That article moved me to tears. It's the best response yet to Gurdon.
Ruth R. Davidson I just read the book, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian". I can see what people are complaining about it, but they missed a whole lot of good by focusing on the parts that made them uncomfortable.
Reading For the Future  I'm glad you liked it :)
One thing that is really bothering me about this entire argument is that 100 years ago "children's" books were Treasure Island and Peter Pan, and those are two of the most violent "children's" books I've ever read! Maybe not dark, per se, but they certainly aren't pure white bread.

Reading For the Future
Check out the poll at the bottom -
Are darker themes in youth fiction helpful or harmful to teenagers?
82% (1213 votes) say helpful
18% (269 votes) say harmful
Should Young Adult Books Explore Difficult Issues?
?"A great book is a perfect starting point for talking with kids about the real world around them. "
StarDragon T. Canadian Forces Of Good now at 88.7% !

Reading For the Future More on how do we decide what books to recommend to kids.~Valerie C.
Is The Hunger Games corrupting kids? - The Week
Has young-adult fiction become harmfully dark as a whole — or have teens always had to sift through subpar books to find enduring literature?

Reading For the Future Cie McCullough says, "Usually eschew lists; I find them nothing more than some else's opinion. However, this one is compiled to familiarize any high school student with the classics before they are required reading in college. Does it say something about the education system that I have read only 25%and still maintained a B+ average in both HS and college?"~Valerie C.
100 Books Every High School Student Should Read | Accredited Online
When preparing for college, one of the smartest moves a high schooler can make is to read, read, read. This is especially true of literary classics. Many of the books covered on this list also surface in university literature classes, so high school students can facilitate their college workloads
Reading For the Future Visit Cie's page or see it on mine for some interesting comments on the link!~ Valerie Coskrey

Reading For the Future School Library Journal Review of the first book by upcoming new author Mark Jeffrey. 'Max Quick: The Pocket and the Pendant' will attract fans of Percy Jackson!
New review (came out today) from School Library Journal
By: The Max Quick Series
Mark Jeffrey A very promising young lad, I must say! :)

Reading For the Future A teen reader responds to Ms Gurdon
Booking Through 365: There Are Whole Lives In These Bookshelves
Dear Ms Gurdon, Your article about YA literature has become a huge topic of conversation with the YA community filled with bloggers, authors, librarians, teachers and publisher professionals alike.

Reading For the Future Thanks to Christopher Barzak for this link:
A response to WSJ's article about YA lit
"That 'adult' aspect of reading is scary for many of us. It's our job as parents to protect our kids, even as they slowly move out into the world and further away from our dictates. But there's something almost comical about raising them with tales of big bad wolves and poisoned apples"
Teenagers: Has young adult fiction become too dark?
A scorching Wall Street Journal editorial rips apart the genre -- and lights up the Internet
Bev Kodak The author of the WSJ article apparently missed the point, as so many adults do. YA lit is inherently about hope, and how the human spirit triumphs over adversity. I like Bazarak's piece a lot. See also Laurie Halse Anderson's, Kathleen Duey's and many others' well reasoned responses.
Ruth R. Davidson From a teen reader:
Reading For the Future Thanks Ruth! Just reposted it :)

Reading For the Future Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea?
Darkness Too Visible
Meghan Cox Gurdon on Jackie Morse Kessler's Rage, Cheryl Rainfield's Scars, Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games and other examples of contemporary young-adult fiction.

Reading For the Future
photos of sci fi fans shared by V. Coskrey, although like Cie, I was not there and live east of the Rockies.~Valerie C.
Norwescon 34: Saturday
Saturday at Norwescon 34. NOTE: This album is still in progress. More photos yet to come!
By: Norwescon
Photos: 92

Reading For the Future Visit David Brin for a vote on favorites and for comments.~Valerie C.
Contrary Brin: My Top Choices in Science-Oriented WebComics

Reading For the Future David Brin shared this link.~Valerie C.Andrea Kuszewski's link.
» Want Kids to Win the Future? Turn Them Into Makers — and Sci-Fi Fans
Nolan Bushnell once almost destroyed his family's garage. As a youngster in Utah, he went tooling around with a liquid-fuel rocket on a roller skate and
 Want Kids to Win the Future? Turn Them Into Makers — and Sci-Fi Fans
Get in-depth coverage of current and future trends in technology, and how they are shaping business, entertainment, communications, science, politics, and culture at
Reading For the Future link to the article sans the facebook input:

Reading For the Future More on the great exhibition on Science Fiction happening until September 25th in London.
"Explore a range of imaginings that have provoked hopes and dreams, exhilaration and fear - and see how science fiction has influenced scientific discovery."
Out of this World: Science Fiction but not as you know it
Our new exhibition which will explore the Science Fiction genre and show how there is more to this diverse canon than meets the eye
Laura Swift Lind very cool.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

FB Report: Lots of Links on Speculative Fiction -- 5/31//11

Announcing a change in posting policy. This column will be posted monthly or when the number of Facebook postings are numerous enough to demand a biweekly posting. I am job-hunting; wish me luck.

My apologies for not posting since the middle of April. I have been busy with family matters since the death of my mother in April.

This posting overlaps the one in April and the upcoming one in June. That way I know nothing was missed.

Note: in this posting are links to several interesting book lists, including this one:

Reading For the Future
This website is for students and instructors alike. As the name indicates, this website addresses possible future societies, primarily through literary works by George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. Brave New World and 1984 propose frightening scenarios for the future. Brave New World Revi

Reading For the Future A new exhibition dedicated to science fiction has opened at the British Library in London. Out Of This World aims to challenge visitors' perceptions of the genre and explore its relationship with science. Books on show at the exhibition, which is open to the public from May 20 until September 25, include a first edition of Thomas More's Utopia and Luigi Serafini's encyclopaedia of an imaginary world Codex Seraphinius
Sci-Fi... but not as you know it
Science fiction author China Mieville takes a tour of a new exhibition at the British Library which aims to challenge visitors' perceptions of the genre.

Reading For the Future This is a commercial for a Nook, but it pretty much sums up the way we all feel about reading.
NOOK Color "Read Forever™" Anthem
The new "Read Forever™" campaign from Barnes & Noble is a celebration of reading. The campaign evokes the emotions inspired by a great read and showcases the...

Reading For the Future
Washington bid for 2015 Worldcon
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE The Seattle Westercon Organizing Committee (SWOC) is announcing a bid to host the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, Washington in the summer of 2015...

Reading For the Future
Re-Reading the Okal Rel Saga Blog
Recruiting for a promo project "Re-Reading the Okal Rel Saga". I'll start with Courtesan Prince. Decided I'll go with the project if I get ten volunteers to assist by posting a summary/comments on a chapter, and will recruit for maximum of one per chapter...
See More
By: Lynda Williams

Reading For the Future
Jane Yolen's letter to the LA School administrator firing children's librarians to replace them with volunteers and kiosks: dist
Letter to the administrator in charge of firing LA school librarians who had the Board of Ed's lawyers take the librarians into the school basement and asked them to prove they were teachers with such questions as "Do you take attendance?". Dear Mr....

Reading For the Future
Please distribute:
Jane Yolen's Letter to the LA School Admin who fired Librarians and replaced them with Volunteers and Kiosks
Podkayne Fries ?"This content is currently unavailable".
May 27
Reading For the Future durnit - hold on
May 27
Reading For the Future there - copy paste works wonders
May 27

Reading For the Future via Lynda Williams, who mentions the coming revolution in publishing and reading.~Valerie C.
Riding the Avalanche by Ursula K. Le Guin « NorthWest Book Lovers
Just a couple of years ago I wrote that I thought the next big step in publishing would be print-on-demand. My prophecy failure rate continues to be perfect. We’re going direct to e-publication. And we’re going there very fast, in great disorder, riding an electronic avalanche.

Reading For the Future For anyone who missed the winner announcement. Congrats all!
2011 Nebula Award Winners!
The 2011 Nebula Award Winners

Reading For the Future From March, but still an interesting read. Some of the authors she discusses are in our lists of books for YA and oft discussed by our group.~Valerie C.
Late Night Rant on YA Sci-fi and the Labeling Of | Phoebe North
Phoebe North's review and writing blog, specializing in young adult science fiction and fantasy.

Reading For the Future Tonight at 8! Get those DVRs set!
Living in a Parallel Universe | National Geographic Channel
Parallel universes, strange hidden worlds, where an alternative reality exists have haunted science fiction for decades. Parallel universes sound like a myth, but a surprising number of leading scientists believe they are real. National Geographic delves into the mysterious science of other universe

Reading For the Future 
The stars of modern SF pick the best science fiction | Books | The Guardian
To celebrate the opening of the British Library's science fiction exhibition Out of this World, we asked leading SF writers to choose their favourite novel or author in the genre

Reading For the Future ArtOrder is a blog for and about the fantasy and sci-fi illustration community that is committed to mentoring, artistic improvement, and career enhancement. They recently issued the "Eowyn and the Nazgul" Challenge, offering people in the ArtOrder community a chance to interpret the scene their way, in any medium they choose, after reading the passage from the book. The 160 submissions can be seen through the link.
“Eowyn and the Nazgul” Challenge Line-up
The “Eowyn and the Nazgul” challenge was a daunting and huge challenge.We have a ton of judges (Dan Dos Santos, Jesper Ejsing, Eric Fortune, Justin Gerard, Donato Giancola, Arnie Fenner, Greg Manchess, John Jude Palencar, Matt Stewart,Petar Meseldzija,Greg Hildebrandt, & John Howe) that will be wand

Reading For the Future Another great discussion; be sure to read the comments: ~Valerie C.

Reading For the Future I cannot get the page to work as it usually does. See the link repeated below? I could not load it as a link, but does anyone know anything about the site? It seems to have some interesting but dated info. ~Valerie C.
Comments: (With the required link)
Reading For the Future This link: ~Valerie C.
May 13
Reading For the Future Cie, I had to do all kinds of workarounds. Rediculous. Or however you spell it. I assume by today things are fixed.~Valerie C.
May 13

Reading For the Future I saw an ad yesterday for a company looking for a freelance SF writer/cartoonist to author and sketch scenarios to go with various products to be advertised. People are paying attention to the genre.~Valerie C.

Reading For the Future Carl E. Mungan and John D. Emery from the U.S. Naval Academy have posted a physics education article, published in the May 2011 issue of The Physics Teacher
Cookies Required
ALERT! This service requires a web browser and/or firewall/network configuration that supports and accepts cookies. You may have been redirected to this page for one or more of the following reasons:
Comments: (with clarification. Thanks, Laura.)
Laura Swift Lind the link leads to a pdf that uses physics to demonstrate that it really would be possible to roll a ship like the Black Pearl over by running back and forth. you do need loose cannons, though
May 2
Reading For the Future I bet that's the only time you've used that sentence!
May 2
Laura Swift Lind ?:-) it was appropriate, & just had to be used
May 2

Reading For the Future Visit the Yahoo Group rff for discussions on reading and teaching SF; Come join the fun.~Valerie C.
rff : Talking Reading for the Future
rff: Talking Reading for the Future

Reading For the Future On this page, you will find resources and recordings from this program.
FableCroft » Swancon EduStream
On Friday 22 April 2011, as part of Swancon Thirty Six | Natcon Fifty, we ran an education-oriented professional development stream on “The Science in Science Fiction”. We looked at how Science, English and other subjects can incorporate speculative fiction into the curriculum in a valid and valuabl...

Reading For the Future Getting the public involved--and encouraging numerous ways to make the issues of designing DNA and biological molecules more familiar to the public. I always say the SF and Soaps helped us deal with test-tube babies, surrogate mothers, and gay marriage. Now artificial biology can benefit, too. ~ Valerie C.
Bio:Fiction Filmfestival about Synthetic Biology | Mladiinfo
The organisers of the Bio:Fiction Filmfestival are inviting filmmakers to share their cinematic visions of a future biotech society and take part in an international short fiction, documentary and animation film-competiton.

Reading For the Future Here you can get links to the podcast for your blog or website; registration for the Renovation teacher workshop, and a bit more info on it all.~Valerie C.
Reading for the Future Reflections: Preparing for Renovation: A Podcast of "Angela's Wisdom"

Reading For the Future here you can listen to the podcast of "Angela's Wisdom."
AboutSF | Saving the world through Science Fiction
AboutSF is a resource center for speculative literature, science fiction, and education. We are a joint project of the University of Kansas, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and the Science Fiction Research Association, with generous support from Tor Books, The Heinlein Prize Tru

Reading For the Future Looking for something entirely different, I came across this. For younger kids, possibly half are SF. The Table of Contents, listing all lessons and books covered, are available for preview.
Teaching Physical Science through Children's Literature
Integrate science and language arts while emphasizing the process skills common to both areas. * Inspired by favorite stories * 20 complete lessons * Connects science and language arts * Reproducible pages * National Science Education Standards ...

Reading For the Future Valerie interviewed Angela, whose short story will be used at Renovation 2011 and is now on podcast.~Valerie C.
Reading for the Future Reflections: Interview with Angela Lott, Co-author "Angela's Wisdom"

Reading For the Future I happened to be looking through and came across this great link. It covers everything from Anti-matter to Venus.
ASP: Science Fiction Stories with Good Astronomy & Physics
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is an international nonprofit scientific and educational organization founded in 1889 that works to increase understanding and appreciation of astronomy.
Richard Buboltz Something new for my reading list! Thanks!!
April 24

Reading For the Future
Teaching SF at Worldcon
Want to build an alien or explore science fiction in the classroom? Renovation, the 69th Worldcon, today announced "Teaching SF", a workshop for teachers, librarians and parents on how to use science fiction as a teaching tool....
Rahul Talakanti Hi,Good morning,i am Rahul ,from INDIA.
i Like science Fiction & Fantasy very much. i Believe Aliens.
i Believe our Rebirth is also on other planets as Aliens; in that planets Alien Life span is 1,000years,or 10,000years,or 100,000years; in t...
See More
April 23

Reading For the Future This came to me via Lynda Williams. Can you imagine it?
eReaders will transform the developing world – in and outside the classroom « Educational Technolog
If Worldreader’s experience so far is any guide, e-readers are set to transform the developing world, both in – and outside the classroom. But this change won’t be driven by e-readers by themselves – it will be driven by human curiosity, ever-increasing connectivity, enlightened self-interest, and

Reading For the Future Thank you Laura Swift Lind
Experimental Biology 2011: The Biochemistry of Lewis Carroll | Neurotic Physiology
?[Alice:] ‘How would you like to live in Looking-glass House, Kitty? I wonder if they’d give you milk in there? Perhaps Looking-glass milk isn’t good to drink—’
Laura Swift Lind You're welcome
April 14

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Worldcon Announcement: 2015 bid for Spokane

Spokane, WA, from Facebook profile
Through Dave, RFF has been informed that Spokane is a possible site for the 2015 Worldcon. The following is a press release.

The Seattle Westercon Organizing Committee (SWOC) is announcing a bid to host the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, Washington in the summer of 2015.

SWOC has hosted a number of major regional conventions, including Westercon
46 in 1993, Westercon 50 in 1997, Westercon 56 in 2003, Cascadia Con (the
eighth North American Science Fiction Convention) in 2005, and it is
currently planning Westercon 65, "ConClusion", to be held in Seattle in
2012. SWOC also organizes ConComCom, an annual conference for convention
organizers, and it is the legal corporate entity for ConFlikt, Seattle's
filk convention.

Spokane is a beautiful tourist-friendly destination in the Pacific
Northwest, with natural attractions in and around the city, great
restaurants, and other amenities. It is easy to reach by air, road, and
train. Spokane has an active fan community that is well-connected to the
broader circles of Pacific Northwest fandom. In fact, Spokane came to the
attention of SWOC by way of fan connections to Spokane's science fiction
literary community. SWOC conducted a review of many possible venues in the
Northwest, and Spokane was chosen for having the best combination of
facilities, fandom, transportation, and tourism.

The World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) has been held since 1939 as
a gathering of the science fiction community, where the Hugo Awards are
presented to honor the best print, media, and fan works within the genre and
community. In 2010, Worldcon was held in Melbourne, Australia; in 2011, it
is in Reno, Nevada, and in 2012 it will be in Chicago.

Venues are chosen by a site selection ballot two years before the event;
this bid is promoting Spokane for the ballot to be conducted at the Worldcon
in 2013. The bid will be filing with Bobbie DuFault and Sally Woehrle as
co-chairs of the 2015 Worldcon.

Members of the bid team are announcing the bid on Memorial Day weekend at
Miscon, Baycon, and Balticon. Planning discussions will be held at ConComCon
in Seattle on June 10-12. A launch party will be held at Renovation in Reno,
Nevada on the evening of Wednesday, August 17. Future events will be
announced on the bid website.

Fans can support the bid with presupports at $20 or "Friend of the Bid"
memberships at $120. Presupports can be obtained online on the bid website
or by mail.


For more information, contact: Alexander von Thorn, +1 416 879 3307 P.O. Box 1091 Woodville, WA 98072-1091


Alex von Thorn, Bid Chair, Spokane in 2015 Worldcon Bid,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Preparing for Renovation: A Podcast of "Angela's Wisdom"

Angela’s Wisdom, published at the 2001 Worldcon, was written by a mother and daughter. The daughter,- now 18, reads a story about the importance of literacy.

When you listen to the podcast episode you will hear that the producers Dave and Ben recorded a brief introduction (in addition to the usual AboutSF podcast intro) which includes information on RFF and information about the workshop at Renovation, the 2011 Worldcon.

The podcast and interviews are mentioned on the AboutSF website, too. There you can listen to the podcast, read more about the education workshop at Renovation from the AboutSF perspective, and then explore the many lessons and book reviews available on the site. You can also check out the AboutSF forum on science fiction.

Visit the podcast production site to get a link that can be used on Facebook, your website, email or your blog:

A Message from Ben

"All of these more technical issues aside, what a wonderful story! I want to thank all of you so much for your great efforts and your willingness to share "Angela's Wisdom" with people through the AboutSF podcast. Also, I hope that the podcast episode will help to advertise the workshop at Renovation

"So far this month we've had 231 new subscribers to the podcast, and I believe last month there were 180 new subscribers. Hopefully the podcast will encourage people to attend Renovation and to sign up for the workshop.

"Thanks again, to everyone, for all of your help!"

~ Ben Cartwright, Volunteer coordinator, AboutSF

Full details of the workshop program and information on how to register can be found at achingsf.php
Sign-up for the workshop ends on June 30, 2011.

Additional information is at

About the Organizers

Reading for the Future, Inc ( is a grassroots volunteer organization whose aim is to help young people develop a love of reading and intellectual adventure through the vehicle of science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction.

AboutSF ( is a resource center for speculative literature, science fiction, and education. It is a joint project of the University of Kansas, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and the Science Fiction Research Association, with generous support from Tor Books, The Heinlein Prize Trust, and several individual donors.

~written by Dave Anderson and Valerie Coskrey

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Interview with Angela Lott, Co-author "Angela's Wisdom"

About "Angela's Wisdom"

"Angela's Wisdom" is a short story by Lynda Williams and daughter Angela Lott. It deals with the value of literacy and the experience of learning to read.

It was written when Angela was 8 years old and given to RFF a few years ago. Now it has been given to RFF, Inc. It will be used on the educational CD/DVD that will be given to the first 70 participants of the educator's workshop at Renovation.

I asked Angela to tell us about her memories of the story. Her responses confused me, so I asked Lynda Williams about how the story was written. She credits the story to both herself and her daughter because, "Angie doesn't remember 'co-writing' the story because her part in it was ad hoc. I constrained myself to working, word for word, with what she and Tegan actually said. I had to build the story around it."

Note: Questions were emailed to Angela in sets. Rest assured, I really did not rudely ask her loads of questions before listening for a response.

Valerie's Interview with Angela

Valerie: How did the short story come about? Who's idea was it? How old were you at the time of writing the story?

Angela Lott in 2011

Angela: I am not totally sure how this story came about. My best guess would be that it had something to do with my mother feeling like an alien while being totally immersed in the technical revolution. She was starting to doubt the need for written literature and since she is a very creative person she put the two together and created a story.

It was my mother’s idea as I was too young to be involved in writing it at the time. When this was written I was as young as I am in the story. As a matter of fact I believe that what is said and done in the story is actually what happened except for the fact that my mother wasn’t being controlled by an alien. She was just trying to act like one to get a reaction from her children. I have a vague memory of her asking us questions while recording it all on a tape recorder.

Valerie: How did you work together to get the story done? What process did you use to collaborate? Was it more or less challenging to work with your Mom on the story than it is to work with your lab partners at school? Was it weird working with your mom? Who had the most ideas about the story, you or your mom? What did you do to get around periods of writer's block? How many days or hours did it take to write the story?

Angela: As I have said in my previous answer I did not write the story. I was the inspirations while I was younger and recorded the story just a week or so ago. This means that my mother and I did not work together to make the story, but when we have worked on things together in the past I have always found it fun and easy to work with her. It is much easier to work with her than a school partner that you don’t know. I have only started writing within the last year and then only fan-fiction, which is writing with someone else’s character and/or within someone else’s universe. I am not sure how long it took my mother to write that story but since she is an experienced writer and the story is not long I can’t imagine that it took her very long.

Note from Valerie: Angela recently recorded the story as a pod-cast to be distributed at Renovations.

Valerie: What do your friends say about the story? What do they say about you as the co-author? What do you say to your friends about writing stories?

Angela: Most of my friends haven’t heard the story since it was written such a long time ago, and the ones who have probably haven’t thought much about it. I am not the co-author. I am the reader and the inspiration. Most of my friends have written stories but like me they write fan fiction. We talk about our plot lines sometimes and help each other by reading each other’s work and giving them feedback.

Valerie: Have you written other stories?

Angela: As I have said previously I have so far in my life only written stories in other people's universes except for one story that I wrote for my grade 12 history class. All of these stories are on both and I have one in the Bones universe, one in the Harry Potter universe and one in the Torchwood universe. The original story I wrote for History is only on DeviantArt.

Note from Valerie: I used one link for both references. The links to all 3 stories and to Angela's DeviantArt home page using her online avatar JelloDVDs.

Valerie: What do you want to say to Young Adults about science fiction and fantasy?

Angela: The most important thing to me about Science Fiction and Fantasy is that it is the most creative and enlightening kind of fiction there is. You can learn from it and enjoy it. Science Fiction and Fantasy push the boundaries there by helping us to understand ourselves and our way of life better by taking us away from both ourselves and our way of life. By showing us through our own imagination that there is more to life than we know and that there is more in the universe than we can see.

Interview by Valerie Coskrey

At 18, Angela Lott has posted 4 short stories online along with numerous photos and photo collages. Start with the link to her FanFiction site to read 3 stories; and follow the link to her DeviantArt site for another story and numerous photo collages. Angela is on Facebook, where she posts several wonderful photo albums of both nature and people.

Lynda Williams is the original author of the Okal Rel Universe series, to which several other authors have contributed. She teachers writing and other subjects in Canada. Lynda is an active member of RFF and part of RFF, Inc.

Listen to the story "Angela's Wisdom" as read by Angela Lot in this podcast.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

RFF and AboutSF Sponsor an Educational Workshop at WorldCon Renovation

Renovation, the 2011 World Science Fiction Convention
August 17-August 21, 2011

Press Release of Monday, April 18, 2011

-- Reno, Nevada, USA --
Want to build an alien or explore science fiction in the classroom?

Renovation, the 69th Worldcon, today announced "Teaching SF", a workshop for teachers, librarians and parents on how to use science fiction as a teaching tool.

Workshop speakers will include Renovation Guest of Honor Tim Powers, Peadar Ó Guilín, Mary Robinette Kowal, John DeChancie, Daniel M. Kimmel, Gary K. Wolfe, L. E. Modesitt, Jr. and G. David Nordley. The workshop is a collaborative effort, organized and presented by Reading for the Future, Inc, from a proposal by AboutSF at the University of Kansas.

The workshop will be held alongside Renovation in the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, running from 9 a.m. to around 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17. Renovation members with full attending memberships can attend the TeachingSF workshop at no cost, but must sign up in advance as space is limited.

Adults who are not Renovation members may attend the workshop for a $40 fee; this fee includes a one-day pass to attend Renovation on Wednesday after the workshop. Young Adults (those aged 21 or under on the day of the workshop) may attend for a reduced fee of $25.

Full details of the workshop program and information on how to register can be found at Sign-up for the workshop ends on June 30, 2011. Additional information is at

About the Organizers

Reading for the Future, Inc ( a grassroots volunteer organization whose aim is to help young people develop a love of reading and intellectual adventure through the vehicle of science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction.

AboutSF ( a resource center for speculative literature, science fiction, and education. It is a joint project of the University of Kansas, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and the Science Fiction Research Association, with generous support from Tor Books, The Heinlein Prize Trust, and several individual donors.

Monday, April 11, 2011

FB Report: Lots of Links on Speculative Fiction -- 4/11//11

Reading For the Future Nothing I can think of to add here :)
Liking science fiction and fantasy makes you a genius | Graham Edwards Online
A lot of people are unbearably snooty about genre fiction – especially SF, fantasy and horror. I’m not the first to remark on this – the debate rages daily across the interwebs. But I think I’ve finally worked out why there are so many folk who feel this way.

Reading For the Future Paul Levinson talks about George Melies, Hugo Gernsback, Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, and everything in between in this 2002 interview.
Paul Levinson: Evolution of Science Fiction | Scifi Picks
My 6-minute tour of the history of science fiction, from Mary Shelley through HG Wells all the way to the 21st century.

Reading For the Future This link offers activities and ideas for a number of books, SF and others. There should be enough SF here to warrant a look see. All ages.
CanTeach: English Language Arts: Novel & Picture Book Activities - Specific Novel & Picture Book Act
CanTeach contains online resources for educators, including lesson plans, links, discussion lists, and more!

Reading For the Future
Chronicles of Narnia Unit Study

Reading For the Future Free online books library for students, teachers, and the classic enthusiast. Absolutely FREE online books - Thousands of novels, poems, stories - Easy to read books online.
"We've made some changes so that you can catalog your entire personal library on Read Print! We still feature thousands of online books, but you can now keep track... of everything you've ever read or want to read in one convenient place."
Online Books, Poems, Short Stories - Read Print Library
A free online library, Read Print puts thousands of online books at your fingertips.

Reading For the Future
Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories
Short lecture by Kurt Vonnegut on the 'simple shapes of stories.'

Reading For the Future I wanted to share this website with the teachers and the writers here. It's a bit scary - people are willing to write, even ghost write, well researched, 400-500 unique content for only five dollars.
I see a bad trend here ~Cie
Writing related services people are willing to do for $5
Writing related services Fiverr users are willing to do for $5: writing, script, screenplay, proofing and more!
Sandra Fogler Yeah, because written language, like all other language - already destroyed - is now OFFICIALLY on the auction block for five bucks. In addition to the issue of academic dishonesty, this is also reflective of a horrible economy, that five bucks gets you a paper.
Reading For the Future Yes
My main point. Thank you.

Reading For the Future Very glad to hear Neil Gaiman say people should try her books. She is my very favourite YA author (with apologies to all my writer friends).
Even when you know it might come, it is sad. Even sadder to think of all the books she still had not yet written. ~Cie
Neil Gaiman's Journal: Being Alive. Mostly about Diana.
Diana's been my friend since about 1985, but I was a fan of hers since I read Charmed Life in about 1978, aged 18. I've loved being her friend, and I'm pretty sure she loved being my friend. She was the funniest, wisest, fiercest, sharpest person I've known, a witchy and wonderful woman, intensely p...

From Other Walls

David Brin The implicit assumption in most fantasy is that the form of governance that ruled most human societies since the discovery of grain must always govern us. Science fiction, in sharp contrast, considers the possibility of learning and change.
The Difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy | Contrary Brin
Why are SF and Fantasy so often grouped together? Obviously, because they share readership and so are well placed together in book stores. And… heck… some of us write both! Still, there are very real differences.

Astrid Bear My piece on Dominic Flandry is up at Baen Books' site. They asked me to write it in conjunction with the publication of the last volume of the Technic Civilization collections, FLANDRY'S LEGACY.
A Midsummer Night's Flandry by Astrid Anderson Bear - Baen Books
So I found myself plunged into the world of the dashing, clever, love-them-and-leave-them Dominic Flandry, determined warrior fighting against the forces of the Long Night. “Wow!” I remember thinking. “This stuff is pretty good!” And so I read all the Flandry there was, that summer, and moved on to

Donna Barr via Moe Labelle I'm not a well person. It's the LAST sentence had me cackling like Harry Secombe.
Harlan Ellison on God
The writer Harlan Ellison discusses his views on god and religion in the documentary 'Harlan Ellison: Dreams With Sharp Teeth.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

FB Report: Lots of Links on Speculative Fiction -- 3/24/11

Reading For the Future Thank you Lawrence Santoro for this information.
Free Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft for Nook and Kindle – Cthulhu Chick
Presenting a free eBook (EPUB and MOBI) of the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft. eBook is compatible with Nook, Kindle, KOBO, Sony and more.

Reading For the Future They have a section for teachers.
Welcome to CritterZoom! Streaming video of critters and offering interactive, online animal classes!
Critterzoom educational wildlife videos for schools and home. Responsible internet content. Welcome to CritterZoom! Streaming video of critters and offering interactive, online animal classes!

Reading For the Future Supreme Court Justice William Brennan tackled the issue of how people will govern themselves in space settlements in a 1988 speech.
The Space Review: The path to the future, from a voice from the past
The overarching goal of space advocates is to create “a spacefaring civilization.” A key aspect—some say a key precondition—will be the existence of a legal structure governing how people will live and work in space.

Reading For the Future In honor of World Storytelling Day, Michele Wilson is offering some of her fantasy short stories suitable for children of all ages from 8 to over 80.
I am currently working on a collection of Fantasy short stories entitled Sean's Stories. Sean is one of my favorite characters to write. A huge shape-shifting elf, he is an excellent Bard and would much rather sing and tell stories then do that hero stuff. Unfortunately for him, he is also an excell...

Reading For the Future Here's another great eBook for only 99 cents. Tim Pratt, the author, says it's for ages 10 and up - the protagonist is age 13, too!
Remember, the great thing about cheap and free eBooks is that there are quite a few free apps for reading them on Smart Phones.
And that's cool.
The Nex
Teenager Miranda Candle finds a mysterious necklace and is suddenly transported to The Nex, the bizarre city at the center of all possible universes, where she falls in with a pair of would-be revolutionaries -- the skinshifter Howlaa and the bodiless Wisp -- fighting the oppressive regime of the ci

Reading For the Future Now you can watch Isaac Asimov’s unaired science show.
(and at a great price, too)!5782023/now-you-can-watch-isaac-asimovs-unaired-science-show
In the two years before he died, Asimov was prepping a TV series about the thin line between science and science fiction - and how we need to embrace the future. Now you can see footage from it for free online.

Reading For the Future What can science fiction tell us about the future of social media?!5781908/what-can-science-fiction-tell-us-about-the-future-of-social-media
Right now, you are reading a piece of social media. That means it's designed to be passed around on social networks - though it appears on, can easily be transplanted to Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, and dozens of others.

Reading For the Future ‎Alex Knight is doing something amazing! Her new eBook, What Luck! is only 99 cents but royalties from all sales during the month of March (even the sales made before this disaster will count) will go to various organizations for earthquake & tsunami relief. (for ages 14+)

What Luck!
Margaret Anne and Maxwell Sinclair have lost their only son and one another. “I shall love you forever.” Her prophetic last words to Maxwell haunt him for what seems like an eternity. Reunited by a miracle, they have little time for bliss as their idyllic existence is once again threatened. When an

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Reflections Collections -- 3/13/11

I am writing this post while watching CNN and the reports on Japan's disastrous situation following the earthquake, the tsunami and the partial meltdown of its nuclear power plant. The Arab League is discussing making a no-fly zone over Libya. The Arab nations are in turmoil with the potential of democratic change. Union bashing is the new tactic of Conservative American politics. Into these challenges comes the fan-based mission of RFF to foster literacy among our youth. It is, after all, the youth who will solve such problems in our future. Meanwhile, our thoughts and prayers and mental focus are with those of our world who are dealing with the problems of today.

Our heartfelt sympathies go out to all who have lost loved ones during these tumultuous weeks.

Image is Alien © julien tromeur -
Alien ©julien tromeur - Used with permission by Valerie Coskrey only.

Most of what I would have to say this month has been posted in the blog as articles. So this issue is mostly links to those posts.

During the last month, there have been 3 FB Reports: First; Second, 2/18/11; and 3/6/11.

Dave has sent in information on Renovation and the work that RFF and AboutSF is doing getting ready for the workshop for teachers, parents, librarians and fans who are interested in teaching with science fiction and fostering literacy. This day-long workshop is sure to be interesting and informative. Read more about it in these blog posts: "Announcement: RFF Teams with AboutSF for Roadshow at Renovations" and Spotlight: Who I Would Like to See at Renovations 2011. The Spotlight features information about authors that have assisted in the mission of RFF in the past.

David Brin provided RFF with an excerpt of his Skeptical Environmentalist.

Two book reviews were posted this past month: Summers at Castle Auburn reviewed by Lynda Williams, and Space Winners reviewed by Rozalyn Mansfield. I will add that I found another reference to G.R. Dickson's book in which the person called it Space Swimmers. Additionally, two authors have asked me to review their newest books.

Three posts dealt directly with teaching with science fiction. If you add the comments in Rozalind's book review, that makes four. Three of the 4 are by Rozalind, so became an interlinked series.

Another series with a blog posts this past month is To Share or Not to Share: How does one decide..." a continuing dialog on what criteria is used to recommend a book to youth. It expands on the question I am exploring on how to evaluate children's literature. This post is Part 2 in the series, and the 3rd post on the central question.

Happy St. Patrick's Day. And thank our lucky stars that we are able and willing to help those in the disaster zones of our earth today.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

FB Report: Lots of Links on Speculative Fiction -- 3/9/11

Reading For the Future A series of 3 new blog posts based on the work of Rozalyn Mansfield was just posted: a puzzle, a book review, and a teaching with SF article. Enjoy!~Valerie

Reading for the Future Reflections: What SF Story for YA is This?

Reading For the Future I asked Robert sawyer if the trilogy was suitable for YA. He said yes, but there is some mild profanity. He said that his American publisher was only marketing them to an adult audience, but his Canadian publisher was listing them as adult novels suitable for YA. Fans of Enderverse should like these.~Valerie

Start reading the WWW Trilogy now!
Discover Wake, Watch and Wonder, a stunning and mind-bending trilogy from Canada's leading futurist Robert J. Sawyer.


Reading For the Future. This comment is from one of R. Sawyer' friends:
Janet Wilson also commented on Robert J. Sawyer's link.

Janet wrote,"I'd say, definitely YA-suitable! (And probably less such "language" than the YA reader uses)"~Valerie

Reading For the Future: Heather Borean also commented on Robert J. Sawyer's link.
Heather wrote, "As a parent of former YA's who has always been very careful about what her kids read I would absolutely recommend Wake and Watch for YA's They might even make the kids... reading them THINK. Nothing gratuitous about them whatsoever."~Valerie

Reading For the Future Teaching with Science Fiction: 10 Reasons for Use in a Science Class

Reading for the Future Reflections: Teaching with Science Fiction: 10 Reasons for Use in a Science Classes
Like any good book shared among friends and associates, science fiction offers conversation starters. Class discussions often need an example to get the students thinking and talking. Examples from books can lead to examples from personal experiences and then to examples from the textbook or the tea...

Reading For the Future From David Brin -- Twenty-five years ago, just after finishing my thesis on comets, I collaborated with Gregory Benford to write Heart of the Comet. Here, we discuss how we went about writing the novel together, trading off with the main characters. A few moments of humor, as when Gregory specifies why he wrote the sex scenes and I wro...te the more technical ones. Plus why he never reads his own novels!See More

Comets in Fact and Fiction
Science fiction authors David Brin and Gregory Benford discuss their collaboration on Heart of the Comet. The novel, published in 1986, coincided with the last return visit of Comet Halley to Earth. Heart of the Comet tells the story of an ambitious manned mission to visit the comet and alter its or


Reading For the Future I loved Heart of the Comet. When will we build a generation ship like this?~Valerie C.

Reading For the Future

Google Docs - Online documents, spreadsheets, presentations, surveys, file storage and more
Reading For the Future Spotlight: People I want to see at Renovation - by David G Anderson

Reading For the Future Lindalee sent this out as an example of a Yu's illustrated Goodnight Dune. Compare to the previous post on Goodnight Dune. ~Valerie C.!5773911/good-night-dune-for-wednesday Goodnight Dune, a children’s book straight from Arrakis - Were you impressed by the science fiction children's books Caldwell Tanner created a few months back?Artist Julia Yu was, so she illustrated an entire book based on Tanner's Goodnight Dune .

Reading For the Future Thanks to Moshe Feder for posting this earlier today. In his words:
'This portion of a recent show includes a segment no SF fan should miss. It's a conversation with a remarkably convincing Philip K. Dick robot who is much more than just audioanimatronic.'

Social Robots, NOVA scienceNOW, PBS Video
Would you want a robotic friend who could chitchat, do chores, even take care of you?

Reading For the Future Something fun

Goodnight Dune

Reading For the Future another new blog post~Valerie C.

Reading for the Future Reflections: Teaching with Science Fiction: 10 Reasons for Use in a Science Classes">

Reading For the Future Lynda Williams reviewed this book for us. As it turns out, the book is suitable for youth and was actually listed on the ALA List of Best Books for Young Adults.~Valerie C.

Reading for the Future Reflections: Book Review: Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn


[I included the Bradbury reference again for the comment on a book reference to the letter.]

Reading For the Future

Love what YOU love – Ray Bradbury
This amazing letter was sent to a child by Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury back in October 1991. Unfortunately, we don't have the context in which the

Jack Lessovitz Someday very soon,very very soon, There will be a great starship named Bradbury.
Mary Rose Love this! He talks about this letter in one of his books - Zen maybe.

From Other Walls

Cie McCullough How do they get these shots?

Solar Observations from around the World

There are many amateur astronomer and professional observatories also looking at the Sun. Here are some recent images from all over the world.
By: NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (Little SDO)
Photos: 8
Welcome to | HOME
Blind from birth, Caitlin Decter received the gift of sight with the aid of a signal-processing retinal implant. The technology also gave her an unexpected side effect—the ability to "see" the digital data streams of the World Wide Web. And within the Web she perceived an extraordinary presence, and

Dave's Spotlight: People I want to see at Renovation

This is an advance copy of the publicity for Renovation that is being developed by Dave Anderson.

Put Wordcon's Renovation on your calendar for August 17-21, 2011. And do remember that RFF is partnering with AboutSF to run an all day workshop on teaching with science fiction.

Upcoming Worldcons

2011: Renovation
Renovation the 69th World Science Fiction Convention, Reno, Nevada, USA
Wednesday 17 August 2011 - Sunday 21 August 2011
postal: Renovation, PO Box 13278, Portland, OR 97123-0278

2012: Chicon 7
Chicon 7 the 70th World Science Fiction Convention, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Thursday 30 August 2012 - Monday 3 September 2012
postal: PO Box 13, Skokie, IL 60076

Reading for the Future Spotlight:

People I want to see at Renovation

Illustration © 2010 Maurine Starkey,
used with permission

Greg Benford

My fave WorldCon was 1968 in Berkeley, CA. I met there many sf authors
and fans. The writers, especially Poul Anderson and Terry Carr, helped
me understand how the field was going. Though I was a postdoc working
for Edward Teller, I wanted to continue writing stories and eventually a
novel. Baycon 1968 drew me into Bay Area fandom, so that by the time I
left in 1971 to take a professorship at UC Irvine, I had published my
first novel. Chip Delany, Joanna Russ, Ursula Le Guin -- they all shaped
how I thought of sf.

"Greg is a Killer B. He is one of three parents of Reading for the
Future (RFF)".~Dave

I have so many fine Worldcon memories. A favorite would have to be "my"
Worldcon ... the one in Los Angeles, way back in 1984, when I suddenly
had my own brief turn as the latest hotshot It-Boy of science fiction,
back when I could really wear a fedora, in my home town. It also was
(and remains, still) the biggest Worldcon ever held, by a large margin.

David Brin

But there were other, quiet Worldcon moments that stick with me. Like
the time that Tim Powers, Jim Blaylock and their gang held a bunch of us
riveted late into the night with stories of Philip K Dick... then sent
us into stitches with amazing, wondrously paranoid fantasies about the
Nineteenth Century, made up on the spot -- "coincidences" that had to be
hints at dark conspiracies... or conspiracies that could only be
explained by marvelous coincidence.

That was when I became convinced that excessive pattern recognition,
combined with dazzling storytelling, must have been genetically
rewarded, some time deep in the human past. Else how do you explain a
shaman like Tim Powers. Dang, I'm glad he's on the side of progress and
the enlightenment and belief in the future. If he used his... er,
powers... for the dark side, we'd be doomed!

"David Brin, RFF parent wrote the letter. Killer B Greg Bear, the third
parent asked for Developing the Young Reader at the 2001 Worldcon."~Dave

One of the high-points of any WorldCon for me was ConJose, 2002, at the
Hugo Loser's party. There was this gang of west-coast-y,
vaguely-Locus-affiliated, largely recent-Clarion-grad people who were
all about my age and in my orbit, though I hadn't met all of them before.

Cory Doctorow

One of the people who was new to me was Ben Rosenbaum, with whom I
seemed to have some kind of weird, instant affinity. We immediately
began to discuss whether the conversion of matter to computronium was
zero-sum, and therefore whether the first nano-scale AI would
immediately set about turning the universe into grey goo before another
could do it. The result was a novella that was up for last year's Hugo,
called /True Names/ -- and a friendship that continues to this day.

"Cory has a Golden Duck Hal Clement Award for excellence in children’s
science fiction for Little Brother."~Dave

As the newest of newbies, I girded my ladylike loins and went off to the
Los Angeles Worldcon in 1996. My second novel -- a modest little fantasy
paperback -- was about to come out. I had only learned that cons existed
when I attended Clarion West, and I walked into the ginormous convention
center in L.A. feeling insignificant and out of my depth. I didn't "get"
fandom at all, and I truly didn't know a thing about how conventions
worked. I had the good fortune, that year, to meet my buddy Sharon Shinn
for the first time, at an Ace function. My first editor, Susan Allison,
was so gracious, and introduced me to a number of luminaries whose names
left me speechless.

Louise Marley

Bob Eggleton personally escorted me into the art show to look at the
gorgeous painting he'd done for /Sing the Warmth/. It was an amazing,
and inclusive, experience. Discovering fandom has been one of the great
blessings of this new career, and Worldcon is always one of my favorite
gatherings. See you all in Reno!

RFF went public at LACon III.~Dave

Her Glass Harmonica The Glass Harmonica won the 2001 Endeavover Award. ~Dave

When I finally got a chance to go to Worldcon, which was Noreascon 3 in
Boston in 1989, I hadn't traveled much. For the first several years of
my Worldcon experiences, I went to places I would never ever have seen
without the convention choosing that city as its location. Even the
first Chicago Worldcon I went to, in 1991, showed me parts of the city
I'd just driven by before.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I always made it a point to arrive early and spend a few days looking at
the city. Dean and I and Debb Cook (Debb DeNoux now - she married a
mystery writer she met at a convention) went on a walking tour of Boston
that remains one of the highlights of my travel life. You got a map and
followed markings on the sidewalk of the city to see all of these
marvelous historic places. We saw things I still remember, and would
like to return to. Great stuff.

The convention is always fun, but it seems like one ongoing convention
at different locations. I can't tell you if the dinner Dean and I had
with Julius Schwartz and Samuel Delany took place at a Worldcon (come to
think of it, it might have been Icon or Lunacon), but it was a marvelous
dinner, with great food and even greater company. I've had many of
those, so many that they're all tending to blur unless something
triggers the memory.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch was the Cascadiacon SF in the Classroom keynote
speaker. Dean Wesley Smith is her husband.~Dave

The Reno Worldcon will be the first Worldcon I've gone to in a city with
which I am very familiar. Dean and I have traveled in and out of Reno
since we met in 1986. We stay there quite often and love the city. In
fact, we even had a Rusch family reunion there about ten years ago -
shocking my Midwestern relatives by staying in a place that encourages
gambling (oh, my!). The Ruschs were bad for Reno's economy though - they
didn't gamble at all.

So I'll be in Reno, pontificating on panels, and hanging out in the bar
that the pros choose as their own. I've already seen the area, so I'll
be at the convention more than usual. And I'm really looking forward to

Reading for the Future/AboutSF Workshop @ Renovation

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Reno NV

9 am to 5 pm
-- Special Day Rate offered --

Keynote address – Tim Powers

*Give the kid a Science Fiction book*

Reading for the Future

[sic., spelling not correct; use link or copy link.]

Reading for the Future, Inc.
POBox 13062, Ogden UT 84412-3062

Illustration © 2010 Maurine Starkey, used with permission

RFF, Inc is a registered Utah nonprofit.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Teaching with Science Fiction: Social Studies and Dickson's Space Winners

3 Post Sections:
Initial problem; book review; teaching with science fiction.

In her book review Rozalyn Mansfield has said that Space Winners "...would be a great book to use in school classes."

She went on to suggest how it could be used in social studies classes.

Rozalyn Mansfield's Teaching Suggestions
for Space Winners by Gordon R. Dickson

Space Winners can be used to relate to many aspects of history and civilization: the interaction of the Europeans with the native cultures in America beginning with Columbus, for example.

It would be wonderful to have a complete study guide for the book with questions and answers, related projects, etc.

Also, the "Lilo and Stitch" tie-in could be used with Space Winners to hook kids.

Others agree with the usefulness of science fiction in teaching social studies. Jan Finder, author and organizer of SF cons, has said,

"SF is an excellent resource for discussing subjects that are not easily
discussed in the here and now.

"The social sciences & humanities often overlook it as a valuable resource."

Related articles on using science fiction as metaphors for teaching social concepts has been written by Valerie both here and in my personal blog. Others have written similar ideas in the RFF Reflections series "Teaching with Science Fiction." In addition to the richness of concept examples in science fiction, the books should motivate students to read and learn.

Suggestions for Writers and Publishers

Rozalyn made suggestions specifically for Space Winners.
  • Develop and publish a study guide with questions and projects for the novel.
  • Reprint the book for students that includes the "Lilo and Stitch" stories for motivation and comparison.
  • Use a book cover with the young characters and Peep a their pet.
  • Describe the book in ways that would intrigue fans of "Lilo and stitch."

Teachers have made note of what they would like to see in classroom texts. Both Rozalyn and I have made such suggestions.

Says Rozalyn,
"I know a lot of people in RFF are doing a lot of good things with study guides and bibliographies. I've even seen there are beginning to be more published study guides on SF books, such as one I saw in an educational supply store on Lois Lowry's The Giver. So teachers are getting more and more receptive to study guides on SF.

"Also, the "Lilo and Stitch" tie-in could be used in a new YA edition of Space Winners to hook kids--do a new cover featuring the kids in the book with Peep as their "pet" and also have a cover statement that would describe Peep in a way that would intrigue "Lilo and Stitch" fans. Once they read and like Space Winners, there's a good chance they'd go on to read a lot more Gordon Dickson books, and other SF as well."

AboutSF lists study guides for many SF novels and stories.

I once wrote on Lee and Miller's Live Journal forum that I would like publishers to remove questionable sections from specific books and then publish the revised editions as YA. This would take care of the overt sex, extreme violence and unacceptable profanity that prevents teachers from recommending some of the more exciting stories of the SF genre.

My thoughts were to create an anthology of excerpts, novelettes, and short stories that could be published along with a study guide. Lo and behold, Julie Czerneda has been doing this for years with several co-editors and lesson writers.

RFF, Inc., and AboutSF are collaborating on a day-long workshop at WorldCon's Roadshow this August. Lessons and book lists will be presented for an audience that will include fans, parents, teachers and librarians. Yep, once again the team has met the Call for Papers requirements.

As Rozalyn Mansfield says, "It would be great to work out ways to get kids reading
this book." And, I must add, many other books of the genre, too.