Young Adult Lit/Crit

April 5, 2008

May the Force Live Long and Prosper: Science Fiction in YA Lit.

Filed under: Seminar Topics — traverse02 @ 10:19 am

I would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to my seminar on science fiction in YA lit. The three main titles we will discussing are Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini, and Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. We will be looking at these YA titles as examples of what has come to be known as ‘soft sci-fi’, which is essentially science fiction that relates to the social sciences, like sociology, economics, political science, etc. The main objective is to show how important genre study can be in our classrooms, and more specifically, how the sci-fi genre–a rich forum for political and social commentary–allows for writers and readers to explore hot-button issues (think abortion in Unwind) and new concepts in technology, philosophy, etc. We will also see how the genre turns the idea of the traditional hero on its head. All of this will be discussed in relation to current attitudes concerning the genre in our field. Most educators see it as illegitimate literature or inappropriate material for a language arts classroom, but I disagree, and I will tell you why. And, of course, I will be providing certain teaching strategies that can be used in the classroom.

We will be looking at a wide range of material, including comic books, films, tv series, a laundry list of YA novels, and some of my personal favorites, in order to get a sense of how popular this genre is and the vast potential it has for engaging young minds.

I know that Josh has already secured a spot in my seminar, so I am looking for two more people. It should be a hell of a ride.

Punch and Pie




  1. Sounds great Raph–what do I need to do to secure a piece of the pie then? K

    Comment by sunyprof — April 6, 2008 @ 8:10 am

  2. I would like to join your seminar if there’s still room. Sci-fi is out of my comfort zone, so i think it would really be helpful to me. Thanks for doing your seminar on this, Raph.

    Comment by sostrom — April 8, 2008 @ 11:36 am

  3. Raph,

    I’d love to join your seminar. Please count me in.


    Comment by scrollman — April 8, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

  4. Sound awesome- but it looks as though I am too late! Perhaps you could post your bibliography so we can all have it as a resource? I’m not sure if that is a seminar “violation” but I am definately interested in your text list!

    Comment by kariredmond — April 8, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

  5. me, too.


    Comment by Joyce — April 8, 2008 @ 9:52 pm

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