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.


Book Review: Space Winners by Gordon R. Dickson

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

Pardon the [editing]. This book review was part of a message that included the original problem. To separate the parts, I had to be heavy-handed with the editing.~valerie

Rozalyn Mansfield Reviews Space Winners

Peep,[the small furry pet of Space Winners] only superficially resembles Stitch [of Disney's "Lilo and Stitch"]. Although the description [previous post][of a furry pet] was accurate, there is quite a bit of difference between the characters. However, there is enough similarity to hook kids into reading the book.

Our daughter is reading it now and really enjoying it.

It's an excellent, thought-provoking book with one of the best defenses ever for the idea of the "Prime Directive." It shows a very interesting interaction between highly advanced and more primitive cultures; and also has extremely intriguing interactions between the characters, especially the kids in it who are chosen by extraterrestrials to be "space winners". The kids have differing viewpoints about interaction with aliens and how beings with higher levels of technology and knowledge should treat other less-advanced beings they know about.

There are a number of used copies available through Amazon and other sources, but unfortunately the book is presently out of print. If anyone out there has ideas about ways to get it re-printed, it would be a great book to use in school classes....

Rozalyn went on to make a few teaching suggestions. These are in a post in the series Teaching with Science Fiction.

As to getting copies of the book in the future, maybe someone will place it on Project Gutenberg or the owner of Dickson's estate will republish the story, maybe as an ebook. ~Valerie

What SF Story for YA is This?

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

Does this Story Sound Familiar?

Rozalyn Mansfield of Seeds of Discovery presented RFF with this problem that she got from a student.

"What science fiction story is about a small bad-tempered furry alien, who has super-strength, near-invulnerablility, and a super-dense molecular structure which makes it impossible for him to swim and which therefore makes him have a great dislike for water, and who has to disguise himself as a young person's pet in order to fit in on a lower technology planet?"

Answer, anyone? Choose one.
  • Lilo and Stitch
  • E.T.
  • Space Winners
  • Star Wars

Did you Choose Right?

Rozalyn offered this answer to her question.

"Actually the story is not "Lilo and Stitch," we found out, although "Lilo and Stitch" is one of our daughter's favorite movies-- "Lilo and Stitch" fits, but this is another, earlier story. The student gave us a copy to read; it's Space Winners by Gordon R. Dickson, which features a delightful alien being called Peep, who has the characteristics described."

Find out More

Read Rozalyn's book review of Space Winners Rozalyn Mansfield is the co-author of The Great Unicycle Race

Thursday, March 3, 2011

To Share or Not to Share; How does one Decide what Books to Recommend to Youth? Part 2

The Birth of Human Intelligence, an image by ©AlienCat -

This image may only be used with permission of It is used here by Valerie Coskrey, who purchased a license for its use.

Some RFFers' Thoughts on Favorite Books

Have you read Part 1?

Mary, a teacher, wrote,
"I found that as a kid -- 4th grade and up -- I was generally drawn to "classic" authors with minimal gore and/or sexual content. I tend to recommend books like that to kids as well."

To which Alberto responded,
My 11-year-old is very interested in History and Greek Mythology; I can't think of any science fiction that has _more_ gore and sexual content than History and Greek Mythology.

Again, Mary responded, "Point well taken! (Of course, our school doesn't teach Greek and Roman Mythology either.)"

Librarian Sandy Moltz added these criteria,
"I think you have to take a number of factors into consideration when recommending an adult science fiction book. Difficulty of the language, length of the book can be reasons I wouldn't recommend an adult book. For example, I love Neal Stephenson but think that Cryptonomican is too long for a lot of kids.

"Also, many kids who read above their age level aren't ready emotionally for all adult books. I'm lucky enough to be in a small library where I usually get to talk to the kids and have a sense of what works for them. For example, a very smart 5th grader may not be ready for a book that has a violent rape scene (I don't have a specific title in mind, this is just a hypothetical example).

"I often recommend Brightness Reef, Blood Music, and The Man in the High Castle. For some, I'll suggest Snow Crash, William Gibson, China Mieville, and Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch.

Dave chimed in with books he asked Sandy to consider.
"What about David Gerrald's The Man Who Folded Himself or Bruce Coville's Skull of Truth or Orson Scott Card's Enderverse?

"Dave Farland aka Dave Wolferton wrote On My Way To Paradise (c) 1987 Bridge Publications, Inc He expanded it into a novel. I have given copies through RFF Utah. Dave does not see it as YA.

"The Man Who Folded Himself is very adult in subject matter. RFFUtah sent it to a Junior High School teacher in Davis CA for the club library.

"School of Truth is that when the skull from Hamlet is in the room you can only tell the truth. The younger brother tells the family he is gay. The family says so, we have known that for years.

"Scott aka Noam D. PLUME, Byron WALLEY, Dinah KIRKHAM wrote plays and edited/wrote LDS magazines. He invented the game when he was 17. Ben Bova, Analog editor, said he would never buy a it-is-a-computer-game story. Changed his mind. Ender's Game was nominated for a Hugo and lost. Scott had a book contract to write Speaker for the Dead but expanded Ender to a book. Both books won Hugos and Nebullas. The Ender books according to Scott are grades 7, 8 and 9. The Bean cycle (Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon and Shadow Puppets) I used the original Ender at 2001 MilPhil and after 9/11 in an alternate high school. The students wrote about the ethics of training young children to kill. This Rustycon a woman said she would never recommend the Enderverse to kids. TOR sends boxes of Ender to inner city schools."

Tentative Conclusions

In our search for criteria to use in recommending an adult to a YA audience, we have conflicting values to reconcile. Some, including me, see no problem with youth reading about controversial subjects, alternative life styles, a bit of violence, and limited sexual content. I notice that so far there has been no mention of profanity. So many science fiction authors use little to none profanity in their books that some might consider this a non-issue.

So far we have these 5 questions to ask about a book.

  • Does the young adult have the reading skills for the reading level and length of the book?
  • Is the book one with enough action to interest a young reader?
  • Is the violence, sexual content and profanity handled in such a way that one would not mind one's grandmother reading the book? (RE: Part 1)
  • Is the young reader emotionally mature enough to handle the subject matter?
  • Do I know this young reader well enough to push the limits?

Although many science fiction books are written for an adult autdience, there are some that are highly instrutive, just plain fun, or both that young adults, grades middle school through high school, would enjoy. After all, the bottom line for promoting literacy is to foster the enjoyment of reading.

There is more to come. Look for Part 3 at a later date.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

FB Report: Lots of Link on Speculative Fiction -- 3/2/11

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

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

Reading For the Future A nice bit of historic science
Space Shuttle Launch: Viewed From an Airplane
The captain can be heard over the loudspeaker saying, "Those on the right side can see the space shuttle. Those on the left side can probably see the people on the right side looking at the space shuttle." You gotta love airplane humor.

Reading For the Future' On November 30th and December 1st, 2010, at the TIME Conference Center in New York City, many of the most innovative people and organizations in the science and technology world came together for an historic gathering - the 2010 World Technology Summit & Awards, the eighth Summit and ninth Awards thus far!'
Does Sci-Fi Influence the Future?
Tech Nation's Moira Gunn and science fiction author Paul Levinson explore the influence of sci-fi on technological breakthroughs of the future, from space exploration to time travel.

Reading For the Future A Program Designed For Teen Writers Interested in Today's Hottest Fantasy Fiction Genres.
Here there be monsters! And beasts! And fantastical creatures. The faculty of Shared Worlds creative writing camp has called on some of speculative fiction's most compelling storytellers to chase down and gather up all manner of wondrous beasts. Scroll through our Fantastic Bestiary and don't forget

Reading For the Future Some of my favorite authors publish with Baen, however a couple of their works were left off the list. But it is a start. Fledgling and Saltation, both by Lee and Miller were both left off the list, although Baen published them last year or so. At least the ones on the list were personally vetted by someone who has read each one. ~Valerie C.
Young Adult Reading List - Baen Books
This is a preliminary list of books published by Baen deemed by me, Toni Weisskopf, executive editor, (with help from editor Hank Davis) to be suitable for an intelligent young adult reader. These are the books I would have read (and in some cases did read) when I was in middle and high school.

Reading For the Future Good luck if you have been nominated! :)
SFWA announces the 2010 Nebula Award Nominees
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Teaching with Science Fiction: 10 Reasons for Use in a Science Class

Origin of the List


Writing as Valerie Smith, I once presented a paper at AAAS in New Orleans with co-authors Jessica Scott and my husband Wayne Coskrey. This list is from that paper, except #10. In the original paper, items 1-9 each had 2 or more peer-reviewed-type references cited. Furthermore, the list is reworded to not be so nerdy.
Re: "Teaching the Science in Science Fiction," 1990.

10 Reasons to Use Science Fiction in the Science Classroom


Apophysis flame "Spaceman" (c) V. Coskrey
  • SF can motivate students to like science.
  • SF models scientific thinking and problem-solving.
  • SF presents the science world-view.
  • SF illustrates how science and technology affect lives.
  • SF examines scientific issues for possible solutions and potential consequences.
  • SF models possible futures, preparing students for change.
  • SF connects science to the humanities and social sciences.
  • SF provides practice in reading skills.
  • SF fosters vivid mental images of scientific phenomena.
  • SF is fun that can be shared!
Adapted from V. Smith, J. Scott, and W. Coskrey (1990). Teaching the Science in Science Fiction. Unpublished paper presented to AAAS, New Orleans, LA.

Additional Remarks: Start a Conversation

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 teacher's knowledge.

Now the student is ready to learn technical concepts and vocabulary because the concept has become real to the student. Now the student is ready for a vocabulary word and a definition. Now the student is ready to state a law. Now the student is ready to solve a problem based in math or chemistry. Why now? Because the mental images of concrete examples offer a sense of reality--the science is more real to the student.

by Valerie Coskrey