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Pistachio mom

suggestions for Science Fiction Literature for .5 credit for Senior Year

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I am beginning the process of putting together a sci fi reading list for my high school student for next year. After 3 years of Veritas Omnibus, we are making a list of the classic books she really wants to read her last year of high school. No Omni planned for this next year unless she changes her mind for secondary only. This will be at the same time as as govt/econ credit.

 

We are thinking about doing part of her literature reading from science fiction because she has not really read any.

I am in the process of looking up university course descriptions for courses like this , but has anyone here ever already done it?

 

I would love to get suggestions for a reading list of some classic titles as well as more modern favorites.

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I took a Sci fi novels course in college. One of the books we read was called A Canticle For Leibowitz. We also read one by Úrsula K LeGuin but I can’t remember which one.

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I like this Wired list because of the catagories. 

https://www.wired.com/2010/09/sci-fi-syllabus/

 

Steps (formerly Connect the Thoughts) has a science fiction curriculum. I have it. It's really just a list, but it's a really good long list. 

http://www.stepsed.com/step-34-reading-spelling/step-3-4-science-fiction-elective-reading-program

 

My list

Classic - 20,000 League Under the Sea

Distopian/Utopian - Brave New World

Space - Ender's Game & Ender's Shadow

Robots - I, Robot

 

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There are zillions of great and good science fiction books that could be used for study.  Some I can think of off the top of my head that I either studied in school or have used for studies or have read and thought would be great for study or am planning to read and study with my High Schooler...

 

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

The Princess Bride (Fantasy not sci fi but a great book to study) by William Goldman

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick

1984 by George Orwell

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein

Kindred by Octavia Butler

9 Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazney

Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

 

Also, these Great Courses might be of interest and they are currently on sale:

 

https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/great-utopian-and-dystopian-works-of-literature.html

 

https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/how-great-science-fiction-works.html?listid=3&pfm=UpsellSlider&pos=1

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just adding to the list...

 

1984 by Orwell

Canticle for Leibowtiz by Bradbury

 Enchantment by Orson Scott Card

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (good for laughs, if some of the other titles get too heavy)

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

LOTR trilogy by Tolkien, if she hasn't read it yet

The Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis (I like the final one best, it could be read on its own)

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Another Connie Willis that is good:

Doomsday Book 

 

Along with others I thought of:

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Downbelow Station by C.J. Cheryh

Anathem by Neil Stephenson

Godstalk by P.C. Hodgell (more fantasy than sci fi- deals with a city with a complex political/social structure)

There Will Come Soft Rains (short story) by Ray Bradbury

Flowers for Algernon by Danial Keyes

The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey

 

This might help:

http://www.adastrasf.com/theme-based-online-curriculum-teaching-science-fiction/

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There is a Modern Scholars lecture set on science fiction that I liked. It might have been by Michael Drout.

 

You might look at doing short stories to be able to hit more authors.

 

Eta. This is the lecture series. My library had it. Some of the review have thoughtful reading lists. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001EI3IWO/ref=cm_cr_srp_mb_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8

Edited by Sebastian (a lady)
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You all have given me some great lists of titles and websites. The great courses SCI fi course looks worth investigating, as well as the many websites you all have recommended. I am seeing some of the same books repeated on many lists, especially online lists.

 

I am cutting and pasting all the suggestions into a work file so that I can print it out.

 

I hadn't thought about the many, many themes in sci/fi more than space travel.   But really, trans-humanism, AI, inter-dimensional stories, alien - extra terrestrial stories, nuclear war aftermath, future govt run societies - (The Giver and Hunger Games but more mature...) Fantasy books are sometimes in the mix. These are some of the common settings I am seeing. It would make sense for me to choose at least one example from each setting.

 

Has anyone ever read any of the Dune books? The person who I remember years ago who read these was not necessarily choosing books for young people. He was wild himself, though the books may possibly be great. Terry Brooks is also an author that was recommended to me. I might even put a few younger level books along the lines of A Wrinkle in Time in my list.

 

The Step 3-4 also looks worth digging deeper. I like that it focuses on basics. But if possible, I want a mix of teen and adult level content since this is for a senior.

 

Time Machine, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, CS Lewis Space Trilogy, something from Anne McAffrey, and I will be combing through the lists you all have given me. Some of the books of your lists are covered in her Veritas reading too.  I am working on a big list to whittle down into a semester's worth of reading time. This genre could easily get huge!

 

Thanks so far for all the help. I appreciate any opinions and suggestions that come to mind.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Pistachio mom
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Yes there are zillions of different topics/ideas covered in Sci Fi books.  Tons.  Nearly anything you can think of has been covered in some form or fashion. 

 

I have read the Dune books.  Rather dense reading.  Ties in pretty well with political studies and might be a great fit for your DD.  There is a LOT of detailed description, IIRC, which can cause some people to have a hard time engaging, though.  Later books get a bit odd, too.  The first one is definitely worth a read, though, and maybe even the first three if she has interest and time.

 

There is also 2001: A Space Odyssey and it's sequels by Arthur C. Clarke.

 

Worlds and the sequel, Worlds Apart by Joe Haldeman is interesting.  It begins with a very interesting political/social structure and a series of events (political/social) trigger a rapid and catastrophic series of events.  Seeing things happen and spiral down and then how everything is dealt with afterwards is interesting.

 

For a fun lark and a quick read but something that actually could create some interesting discussions you could also look at Spaceling by Doris Pischerchia.  Ignore the title.  It has zilch to do with the book.  In fact, I vote it stupidest title for a sci fi novel ever, LOL, because it really does have nothing to do with the actual story.  There are no spacelings in this book.  But I really enjoyed it and have read it several times since.

 

Also, Alan Dean Foster has the Flinx series.  

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Someone mentioned Anne McCaffery.  You could probably do a whole course on just her books.  They really are great, she's one of my favorite Sci Fi authors.  The Pern series is a great cross over between fantasy and sci fi.  Her first book is set in a society that involves dragons and Lords and so on so very much like a fantasy novel.  But then later, writes another book that explains how the society began that is very much more sci fi setting.  Dragonsdawn was my "gateway" sci fi novel lol.

 

Also, her son eventually took over the Pern series.  They wrote several books in the series together, and then he started writing some on his own.  She passed away in 2011, and I think he has written at least one or two after her passing...and they carry a different tone and I just don't think Todd's books are as good as her's.  She's won several awards for her sci fi writing and her Pern series specifically, I don't know that his writing is a award winning.

 

I am dying for Pern to become a movie, but I am not sure there's a writer/producer/director that could do it justice.   James Cameron might come close, but it's gotta blow Avatar out of the water. 

 

 

 

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Someone mentioned Anne McCaffery.  You could probably do a whole course on just her books.  They really are great, she's one of my favorite Sci Fi authors.  The Pern series is a great cross over between fantasy and sci fi.  Her first book is set in a society that involves dragons and Lords and so on so very much like a fantasy novel.  But then later, writes another book that explains how the society began that is very much more sci fi setting.  Dragonsdawn was my "gateway" sci fi novel lol.

 

Also, her son eventually took over the Pern series.  They wrote several books in the series together, and then he started writing some on his own.  She passed away in 2011, and I think he has written at least one or two after her passing...and they carry a different tone and I just don't think Todd's books are as good as her's.  She's won several awards for her sci fi writing and her Pern series specifically, I don't know that his writing is a award winning.

 

I am dying for Pern to become a movie, but I am not sure there's a writer/producer/director that could do it justice.   James Cameron might come close, but it's gotta blow Avatar out of the water. 

Sorry for a brief derailing of this thread but I wanted to say Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight was my first real Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel that I bought with my own money.  Why?  Because I was a maybe 12 year old girl scout selling cookies outside a store and it was cold and I ran inside to warm up and happened to end up in the book section (and yes I did love books so I am sure I planted myself there on purpose LOL) and some random stranger (adult woman) shoved Dragonflight into my hands and insisted I HAD to read that book.  So I bought it.  And over the years have read every other book that came out in that series up until the last 2 or 3 recent ones.  Thank you random weird stranger with boundary issues.  I actually really did love that book.   :lol:

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Sorry for a brief derailing of this thread but I wanted to say Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight was my first real Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel that I bought with my own money.  Why?  Because I was a maybe 12 year old girl scout selling cookies outside a store and it was cold and I ran inside to warm up and happened to end up in the book section (and yes I did love books so I am sure I planted myself there on purpose LOL) and some random stranger (adult woman) shoved Dragonflight into my hands and insisted I HAD to read that book.  So I bought it.  And over the years have read every other book that came out in that series up until the last 2 or 3 recent ones.  Thank you random weird stranger with boundary issues.  I actually really did love that book.   :lol:

 

Lol,  I was 11.  I received Dragonsdawn as a gift from an aunt who was otherwise clueless about me (she later estranged herself from our whole family in a rather dramatic screaming phone call that discussed things that never happened, she was totally crazy.)  I never had a relationship with the aunt, but I have owned, at one point or another, every Pern book written (except some of Todd's books.  I just don't care for his writing.)

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Lol,  I was 11.  I received Dragonsdawn as a gift from an aunt who was otherwise clueless about me (she later estranged herself from our whole family in a rather dramatic screaming phone call that discussed things that never happened, she was totally crazy.)  I never had a relationship with the aunt, but I have owned, at one point or another, every Pern book written (except some of Todd's books.  I just don't care for his writing.)

:laugh: I guess this makes us book mates.  LOL

Edited by OneStepAtATime

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LOL.  I might need to borrow Dragonsdawn from the library now.  I lost my copy in the move. 

I'd lend you mine but my entire collection is 4 hours away.  My brother has them.

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I will be adding Dragonsdawn to my list . My daughter also reminded me that she wants to read Eragon too. Speaking of dragons. :)

 

You all have given awesome input! Thank you ever so much!

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You can get a good feel for the military sci-fi sub-genre with any of the anthologies, "There Will be War."  With the recent death of Jerry Pournelle, they are on sale for cheaper than usual and many of them are free if you have kindle unlimited.

 

https://www.amazon.com/There-Will-Be-War-I-ebook/dp/B00WONO0C0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508013568&sr=8-1&keywords=there+will+be+war

 

Orson Scott Card's books span several different genres, but I don't like his more recent stuff as much.  

 

Dune, Hyperion, and Asimov's foundation series are classic staples.

 

A good modern book is "The Martian," the book is even more interesting than the movie.

 

 

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They are written for children, but there are adult themes and interesting ideas about the tripod series by Christopher. I re read them every 10 years or so and there is something new to appreciate each time. It was some of the first sci-fi I read.

 

Don’t read the prequel first!!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Tripods-Collection-White-Mountains-City/dp/1481415050/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1508019303&sr=8-3&keywords=Tripod+Christopher

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Some more that I don't think have been mentioned.

 

World War Z by Max Brooks.  Much less a zombie book than a science fiction/speculative fiction book about what do people and civilizations so when things fall apart.

 

Time travel books and short stories by Jack Finney.  The movie Somewhere in Time was (very loosely) based on one of his novels.  

 

Vatta's War series by Elizabeth Moon.  

 

The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu.  Short story collection by the translator of The Three Body Problem.

 

The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu.  Recent winner of the Hugo Award.  Originally written and published in Chinese.  

 

Leviathon Wakes by James S. A. Corey (pseudonym of two authors)  First book of The Expanse, now a TV series 

 

Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

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