Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What's Really Real Anyway?

I'm currently teaching my senior English students a philosophical-based unit as part of their state-assessed course. Unfortunately the texts that we have to choose from are not particularly good, not especially interesting or current, and not suited to the theme of "Whose Reality?". (Yes, the question mark is theirs. Some committee's idea of appearing more academic than it actually is.)

A Streetcar Names Desire (while still a classic) is dated. And, culturally, not really relevant to Australian teens. The Shark Net, a boring book at best, is extremely limited in its application to the reality context.

So why aren't we reading Science Fiction? Isn't this the genre that actually explores concepts like this in amazing and thought provoking ways?

How about Philip K. Dick's versions of reality as a text? Or a seminal work by just about any other SF writer from the past 40 or 50 years?

But there is still that weird prejudice against genre fiction. And yet these are the same people that paid money to see Avatar, Alien, ET, Lord of the Rings, The Road, and hundreds of other SF or Fantasy films. I even know a couple of teachers who have told me they hate SF, and yet raved about a film they'd seen.  When I pointed out it was SF, they denied it - cos it didn't have spaceships and robots in it.

But even if they don't wish to include SF on the booklist, there are still better books than this.

Oh well, We can but only educate these people one at a time.  Join the revolution...

No comments: