When I was in the fourth grade, my reading book had two science fiction stories — “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury and “The Fun They Had” by Issac Asimov.
I’ve been thinking about the first story quite a bit lately, as it’s been raining so much. I’m beginning to feel like the protagonist, who is slowly going crazy because of the rain.
But these two stories also trigger a thought. How many people got into science fiction because of stories they read in school? Probably few people older than I am, as the genre was considered beneath contempt by many educators before I started going to school. In Stranger in a Strange Land, there’s this throw-away line about a character having read War of the Worlds in school, “same as everybody”. When the book was first published, I am sure it was meant to be a least a little absurd. And yet, my fifth grade teacher, who read aloud to the class quite a bit, read A Wrinkle in Time to the class. When I was in 10th grade, I was actually able to take a whole unit in spec-fic. We read Dune, and A Canticle for Leibowitz (Hey, it was still the Cold War). I’m trying to remember others, but I can’t.
If you’re over 35 or so, did you ever encounter science fiction as part of your school curriculum?