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Fantasy and science fiction as "literature"
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Vader
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Over here in Germany we have fantastic literature in form of "Utopia/Distopia" in the curriculm. "BNW", "1984", "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Handmaid's Tale" are must reads for year 12. We also watch and analyse movies like "Gattaca".

I also wrote my final paper at university (Hannover) at the English department about "Worldview And Philosophy in Tolkien's Fantasy Literature"
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Vraith
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think, to an extent, sf/f as lit is gaining a foothold in basic curriculum.
There is still very little of the very new, unless you take specialized classes in sf/f, but works like Vader posted are broadly included at the HS level.
I notice though that almost all of them are part of a sub-genre, and thematically explicit...good or great works, but not particularly challenging...by which I mean a conscensus has formed around the works that limits the danger to the status quo that odd balls use to get books excluded from curriculum.
Considering all the advances in genetic science and the press around it, I'm surprised "Brave New World" hasn't seen a sudden resurgence. [I've always thought it was under-rated]
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my 'net travels today I ran across mention of a book, went to amazon and looked inside. Seems to belong in this thread. It looks fairly interesting, thinking about picking it up.

Here's the blurb that led me to it [emphasis mine, the first for Wayfriend, cuz I know he's a fan like me, and made me laugh cuz I---and I bet he---done that. The second cuz I often think exactly that about "Anathem"]

Quote:
It is an extended paean to the pleasures of re-reading, exhibiting a taste which is interesting , useful, and yet uneven (fifteen separate works by Lois McMaster Bujold are covered, each with its own chapter. I do like her, but…). Most of the book offers analyses of individual works, here is one broader bit:
In a science fiction novel, the world is a character, and often the most important character.
In a mainstream novel, the world is implicitly our world, and the characters are the world.
In a mainstream novel trying to be SF, this gets peculiar and can make the reading experience uneven.
…The difference between a mainstream novel and a SF one is that different things are just scenery.
She is trying to tell me that I should attempt Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren again. She recommends re-reading Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, but can’t bring herself to say it is good.




And here's the book on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/What-Makes-This-Book-Great/dp/0765331934/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1419209721&sr=8-4&keywords=jo+walton/marginalrevol-20
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the hyperbole is a beauty...for we are then allowed to say a little more than the truth...and language is more efficient when it goes beyond reality than when it stops short of it.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting link, Vraith! One of the first times I have read someone talking generally about rereading sci-fi and fantasy (which I do quite a bit).

I wouldn't mind reading more than is in the preview, but even the list of books she rereads (most of which I haven't read) is a good resource.

She also makes some good points about why people reread: mood-matching, guaranteed quality and low-level of investment. Nowadays, when I get something to read while travelling I generally get at least two or three books (second-hand) so that if one doesn't pay-off I have others to fall back on. (Usually even a mediocre alien-invasion story will be the best backstop Laughing)

u.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Huh, I've re-read Dhalgren numerous times. Very Happy Because it's damn good. Very Happy (Ok, I reread most everything, but I have an excuse. Wink )

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh. Dhalgren doesn't even make sense until at the third time you read it.

(I wonder if that book can even be read as an e-book. The physical pages are part of the story.)

But I agree about "scenery" (which isn't really the right word). In sci-fi and fantasy, the environment (which I think is a better word) is a character, in different ways.

I will probably re-read Anathem at some point. To see what I missed when I didn't understand it the first time I read it.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hahaha, I'm still not sure it makes sense. Wink

It is the Finnegan's Wake of sci-fi. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Hahaha, I'm still not sure it makes sense. Wink

It is the Finnegan's Wake of sci-fi. Very Happy

--A

I don't CARE if it makes sense.
I think sense is highly overrated.
Many great books, and even more good lives, have been ruined by the demand for sense.
Coherence is something else.
And it coheres.

ACK! edited for color! that hurt!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*shrug* I don't care if it does or not either. Very Happy I said it's a damn good book.

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