They don’t seem to be updating anymore, but BestScienceFictionStories is a really useful collection of info. It’s very searchable and well-tagged. Each entry tells you where the story can be found, either for free or for purchase. Someday, I want to have a classroom library of this stuff.

You can never have enough Bradbury. When I was teaching in Alaska, we used Holt’s “Elements of Literature” curriculum, which – at least at that time – featured some Bradbury stories, especially in its 2nd course (8th grade.) I think it’s great that Farenheit 451 has become a staple of secondary-school classrooms, but I think people forget that he was primarily a short fiction writer – an incredibly prolific short fiction writer. He left behind hundreds of short stories. In fact, many of the sci-fi grandmasters were really prolific in short fiction formats. Asimov, especially comes to mind; Anderson, Le Guin, Heinlein, Clark, Linebarger and others to a greater or lesser extent.

The Game of Rat and Dragon – Cordwainer Smith (A.K.A. Linebarger) A tragically underrated writer.  Linebarger is the best of the best.

The Last Question – Asimov. I would love to teach this one sometime.

To be honest, this is the kind of thing that is dangerous for me. My love for certain things (like classic sci-fi, Hemingway, the romantic poets, Lewis, Beowulf, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to name a few) is really disproportionate. If I had my way, kids would come out of high school knowing more about Nicholas Van Rijn than algebra, the renaissance, or how to write a resume.


Tradebook Review: What If?

Now we know what the sarlacc eats when there aren’t any jedi prisoners to munch on.

I had to do 4 of these tradebook reviews for class, and I wanted one of them to be something that could be taught in two different content-area classrooms at once. The first thing that came to my mind was some kind of historical fiction (social-studies/language arts) but then I noticed “What If: Serious Scientific answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions” sitting on my bookshelf (science/language arts.)

“What If” is written by Randall Munroe, the guy who does XKCD, and his book is very much in the same spirit as his webcomics. I love XKCD. It’s sweet, sad, hilarious, philosophical, and educational. I just had to figure out how to work some of that magic into the classroom. So, here’s the review below the jump. Again, it’s in template form.

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Tradebook Review: Citizen of the Galaxy

citizenofthegalaxy_6926I’ve been writing some tradebook reviews for class, and I wanted to share a couple of them. I was complaining to a friend of mine about how hard it is for me to find books for students that satisfy all the different mundane considerations that have to be taken into account, but are still – you know – good literature. He recommended “Citizen of the Galaxy.” It’s perfect, and that’s kind of thrilling, because how often do you get to introduce classic sci-fi into the classroom? Not often enough!

Here it is below the jump. I’ve left it in review template form, more or less the way I turned it in.

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