Make it so.

We read The Hunger Games for my Adolescent Literature class this week. I love this book. I loved it so much when I first read it; I had to teach Adol Lit just so I could make it required reading for everyone. It’s an amazing text.

If you don’t know what The Hunger Games is about, or have never heard of it, you have been either living under a rock or are simply deprived of some serious quality American popular culture. The biggest news of pop culture in the past two weeks—aside from Charlie Sheen’s tiger blood and Lindsey refusing a plea deal—is that they have cast the role of the main character in The Hunger Games movie that is coming out next year. Apparently, everyone who is any female of acting caliber has read for, or at least wanted this role. Names from Abigale Breslin to Hailee Steinfeld have been mentioned but ultimately, the character of Katniss Everdeen went to Winter’s Bone actress Jennifer Lawrence.

In class, several of my students’ referred to this text as science fiction. Many wrote in their text response for the book that they didn’t care for science fiction so they had a hard time getting into the plot. I assigned this text as a dystopian novel: America in the future is a desperate place where the overruling government requires each of the segregated twelve territories to send two children into the Hunger Games each year where they fight to the death. Very much like The Giver and Brave New World, this text is classified as dystopian.

It never even occurred to me that this plot—or dystopian novels—could be classified as science fiction. I am not kidding. I never considered myself a fan of science fiction. In my mind—like many people, I am sure—lovers of science fiction are anti-social misfits that spend too much time analyzing the forcefield capabilities of the Enterprise. But as I write this, I realize: I know what the Enterprise is. That already makes me one of them.

I had to really face my sci-fi roots this week. No one has ever accused me of liking sci-fi—and I say that like it’s an accusation, a negated identity that I would never want to be associated with. Yet in this month alone, I have started rewatching The X-Files from episode one, something I just did a few years ago.

I have also listened to an audio version of Fahrenheit 451—again a revisit for me.

I also referenced the new Battlestar Galactica in last week’s blog post and quoted from Firefly in an email to a friend.

And the other night, I had a dream about Jean-Luc Picard buying me the new iPad2 as a gift for Easter. (don’t ask. I can’t even believe I am admitting this on a public blog.)

Apparently, I do like science fiction. Apparently, sci-fi fans are not all anti-social.

OK. You have me on the misfit description.

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11 thoughts on “Make it so.

  1. danielle moreau says:

    I read both The Giver and A Brave New World in high school and I really loved both, especially A Brave New World. I’ve also found novels centered on the inherent flaws of a seemingly “Utopian” (but in fact dystopian) system extremely interesting, but when only when reading A Brave New World did I see an overlap with the science fiction genre. I have not read The Hunger Games, so I wouldn’t really be able to judge that text, but certainly The Giver didn’t strike me as science fiction.

    Specifically from A Brave New World, I remember reading the first chapter which was a to-the-nines description of how humans were essentially generated and classified to have a certain role in society to obtain a “perfect” balance. This chapter was confusing because it threw me right into an intricate process which for me (with no background knowledge) had some unknown purpose, and a very mysterious way about it. There was also a big hint at science fiction because all it talked about were test tubes, conveyor belts, solutions and vials… science much?

    p.s. congrats on the Battlestar Galactica reference in last week’s blog post: such a quality show. Probably gonna watch the series over again this summer 🙂

  2. acar2284 says:

    I think it’s beneficial for everyone to embrace his or her inner nerd every once in a while. But really, who has the authority to define what is geeky? Why is something labeled weird just because a certain group of people appreciates it, and other groups don’t? Everyone should be able to follow his or her passion and be respected for that, whether they’re into the X-Files, or the Hunger Games, or superheroes. Everything that someone admires must have some redeeming qualities or merits, so I think that humanity needs to be a little more open to different ideas. All of these “geeky” attributes that people maintain help to enrich our culture. I mean, if everyone liked the same things and acted the same way, then life would be so boring. In a sense, I think nerds contribute to the cultural diversity in today’s society.

    Also, I’ve heard great things about the Hunger Games books, and I keep meaning to read them. It’s fascinating to read novels through which authors showcase their inventiveness and creativity. It’s amazing what one’s imagination can produce with uninhibited thoughts. I believe there is much to be said regarding the benefits of fantasizing.

  3. I can see why books like brave new world are labeled sci-fiction because the way society functions in most of these books, is a society no of us can relate too. When looking back on reading brave new world in high school, i thought it was the weirdest book i have and will ever read. As i got older and realized how societies functioned and the different forms of gov’t etc. I began to realize how societies like these would come about or the need for them. As i looked into the past at all of the destruction and chaos man has caused we can understand why people would want Utopian societies. But, when a Utopian society was established in the modern world, we see the society did not last more than 20 years. Yes, when looking at a secular society like brave new world in which people consume drugs to have intercourse, can be look at sci-fiction because the possibilities of society going to extents like that are no where near our time period. Basically, i believe the chance of any society being able to function so seclusive and based on Utopian morals like giver/brave new world could never exist in our lifetime. Therefore, sometime in a couple hundred years maybe societies like that will begin forming or may even exist but that is in the future. So i can understand why these books can be labeled as futuristic or sci-fi because the books concerns events not possible now. We all know no society in any of these books could exist with the way our governments and countries are run today.

  4. jm0392 says:

    I would definitely not classify myself as a science fiction lover, not that there are any problems with that lol. However, when I had to read The Giver in high school, I absolutely loved it. At first, I had a tough time actually getting into the book – I came pretty close to giving up on it. That definitely changed as the imperfect and corrupted qualities of the so-called “utopian” society were exposed. The Giver gave me the opportunity to read a new genre of literature that I really enjoyed. It truly surprised me for two reasons. First, I never thought I’d find any interest in science fiction books, like you said it seems too geeky! Second, it was a book I was required to read for school – EW. Throughout high school,. I always under estimated how good assigned books in school could be. I remember when my English teach made us read The Great Gatsby. At first, I hated the book and thought it was so confusing. I usually loved reading, but this book was torture – I dreaded when I had assigned readings for homework. Looking back on the book now, I realize how amazing and meaningful the novel is. This relates to how life can be hard at some points, but it all ends up paying off in the end. My post is drifting away from the science fictions topic, but I think it shows how trying new things with an optimistic can have its benefits. You can learn new things and find new interests that you would never have realized without taking risks and experimenting with unfamiliar books. Reading science fiction stories will not make you an anti-social sci-fi geek…

  5. Kyle Leahy says:

    I do live under a rock, but I actually have been introduced to the Hunger Games and agree that at the least the book is monumental, at times uncomfortable but definitely a stoic piece of literature. Similarly however, sci fi is a genre that I just simply never got a big taste of. You don’t read too many sci fi books in high school, instead you are buried in 400 hundred page textbooks. Thus, science fiction has remained simply another possibility for me, another thing that I did not try and thought I had no interest in dabbling with. That being said, I do consider myself a nerd/geek. Proud to say both that I know way to much about Star Trek and that my father forced me to watch countless episodes when I was younger. It’s one of those weird things that I have hung on to as I have grown up. I agree that it is hard to generalize the word “geek” but I think that there is a distinct area that encompasses nerdy things, centered around things like Star Trek, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. One comment I will make, however, is that recently the gap between nerd and non-nerd has been shortened and bridged in the form of Harry Potter. As the books and specifically movies have gained MASSIVE public support, jocks and geeks everywhere are paying to take part in a made up world, with talking snakes, wands, witches, wizards and yes, even dragons.

  6. Yosh K says:

    I have never read any of these texts but just from reading what you and other people say about it i feel like it realtes to a book i did indeed read called 1984. This book is about a society that is completely under control, that is always being watched by these little television screens. These screens appear in thier houses and the leader “Big Brother” is always watching.
    This is for sure a science fiction book, which is a very unique type of literature, and by unique i mean nerdy/geeky! Im only kidding, this type of literature that really stretches the mind and getting gets that imagination working, which is always fun. When i think of these sci-fi books, it really for some reason reminds me of the future, and what it could be like. Books like star wars were everything takes place in space is a society that might eventually be established. These books tend to frighten me. For example, i can not imagine a life where we were always being watched like in 1984. That wouldnt even be life, i would feel like a robot. The thing i like about this particular reading selection is that it may be the broadest subject of reading. This subject is as broad as the imagination, and thats why they are so fun to read!

  7. Graham Pastor says:

    I have seen some of these before, and just a note on the Lion King one. I can’t remember where I read it, but it said that it is supposed to say “SFX” as a tribute to the special effects team who worked on the movie. But anyway, I think it is the artists who are at fault here. You really can’t expect people who are just watching the film to catch some of these things. The artists clearly put the images in the film knowing that it was a movie that was being marketed towards kids. Although I do think the artists are at fault, I don’t think it is really that big a deal what they did. I mean, I probably wouldn’t notice any of these things if I watched the movie and I know a kid wouldn’t notice it. It seems like a fairly harmless prank to me.

  8. Stephanie Haddad says:

    I find this topic to be so wildly interesting. I mean it really gets you thinking about life and how people can come up with these ideas where a person’s entire life can be completely manipulated. I read The Giver in middle school surprisingly, and I absolutely loved it. The whole idea of a created “utopian” lifestyle that slowly turns into a dystopian lifestyle is so interesting to me. A society where everyone is emotionless and is assigned a family and then sent off eventually to forget about their family and create a new one- so the entire concept of family and love is completely buried in this horrid lifestyle. I mean this entire concept blows my mind- to essentially make everyone the same. It’s so sad yet so interesting. I also read Fahrenheit 451 in high school, and again I loved every page. This dystopian lifestyle of chaos and lack of self-control really made me think about how important it is to have boundaries and laws. I’m sad to say I haven’t read The Hunger Games, but the entire idea seems so bizarre and interesting. I really want to find the time to break away from all the science I’m doing and delve into these science fiction books again. I think it’s important for everyone to get a little taste of what an alternative reality or futuristic society could be like. I think to truly analyze these dystopian societies will help everyone appreciate life as it is.

  9. lizbramley says:

    OMG! i Absolutely love the Hunger Games. A friend’s sister gave it to me and told me that it was a good read and then I just like fell in love. In a way i guess the book has some resemblance to the twilight saga because it kind of has a cult following and when the main character was picked fans were upset. They thought Jennifer Lawrence was too blond too fragile looking and too thin to lay katniss.But i saw a picture of her tan and with brown hair and I think she’ll be perfect. (also if you have ever seen Winters Bone she is an amazing actress. Its not a feel good movie but it does a good job of bringing to light rural american poverty in my opinion).
    However until this topic was brought up I never would have considered this book Sci-fi. I don’t know why I wouldn’t because now that mention the fact It makes perfect sense. It’s a different world in a sense so I guess The Hunger Games falls into that category. I agree with hellochicago ( although I’m talking about a different book) that these types of novels make us think about a type of society we haven’t thought of or relate to. To me it seems important to give these types of literature a chance because I think we can learn a lot about the function of society from Sci-fi and teachers, specifically in high school (or at least at mine!), were quick to disregard these “nerdy” books as just leisure reading. So I’m glad some classes at college give them a chance!

  10. Tommy Mascia says:

    I think as a literary genre, science fiction often gets the cold shoulder. However, I do believe that any type of book if written well enough can say a lot about humanity. For example take George Orwell’s 1984. The novel itself does not say anything spectacular or even revolutionary about the state of humanity in the future. It has all been said before, “humanity is evil, if we keep going down this path of destructiveness we are all doomed”…we understand. It was not the information presented within the pages that was so outstanding, but the way in which it was presented. Taking place in a fictional world, the book provides a certain disconnect between the reader and their own reality. This disconnect allows the audience to be highly critical of the society described and view its moral and objectionable flaws.
    Once these observations are discussed, a parallel between the fictional world and the real world can be made and similarities can be discussed. The book is simply not telling an exciting story about a dysfunctional foreign society, but it is using a greater metaphor to induce discussion about our own reality and its future implications. I believe science fiction writing, as exampled by 1984, can effectively be used to open discussion on deeper subjects than what is seen on the surface in a way text books cannot.

  11. jhrabchak says:

    i have always loved reading science fiction novels. I also love the book the hunger games, but i never put it together that i might like it because its science fiction. Personaly i dont think of books or stories as fiction or non fiction, i think of them as either exciting and fun to read or not and as a resoult a dull book. an interestring thing about the hunger games as a book, is who showed it to me. it was handed to me by my little sister, who was 11 at the time. so when i first opened the book i expected it to either be a really girly book, or a simple unexciting story, written in simple words, easy to read, and where i will want to put it down immediatly and stop reading. It really supprised me when i started to enjoy the book, because i never thought I would be liking the same book as my sister. It also really suprised me when i read this post, only to realise that it really is a science fiction book, and i’ve never known my sister to like anything of this nature. This contributed to the reasons why i would never have classifyed this book as science fiction. in the past if anybody had asked me before I would have simply replyed fiction, not science fiction.

    For anybody who enjoys reading exciting stories, but is afraid to read the hunger games because you read this post and think its a science fiction book. Don’t. it’s a great book if your looking for something fun to read. in your spare time.

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