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.
Apparently, I do like science fiction. Apparently, sci-fi fans are not all anti-social.
OK. You have me on the misfit description.