David Brin's best-selling novels include The Postman (filmed in 1997) plus explorations of our near-future in Earth and Existence. His award-winning novels and short stories explore vividly speculative ideas through a hard-science lens. His nonfiction book, The Transparent Society, won the American Library Association's Freedom of Speech Award for exploring 21st Century concerns about security, secrecy, accountability and privacy.
A person is behooved to help pass success on to those who follow. So, after writing the same answers, over and over, to many letters David Brin receives from would-be writers, he put it all together here.
Our greatest works of science fiction do not attempt to predict a future as much as motivate us to prevent their scenarios from coming true — an aim that George Orwell achieved with fantastic success in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Likewise, the epochal film 2001: A Space Odyssey debunks a modern cliché — the absurd and easily disproved complaint that human wisdom hasn't kept pace with our technology.
Let science fiction illustrate a scientific principle before, during, and after a science lesson! Science fiction can be used to teach science and motivate discussions and writing prompts about using new ideas and inventions to improve how people live. Here are stories, articles, and resources which can be used by parents or teachers to illustrate science with science fiction.
At Scoop.It Brin has compiled articles and websites which illuminate how science can be taught in the classroom (or at home) in interesting and fun ways.
Movies can captivate kids' attention — and they can be used to illustrate basic science concepts in the real world. From Apollo 13 to The Right Stuff, from Lorenzo's Oil to Awakenings, from Contact to Gattaca, historical and science fiction films can be used to pique student's interest — and entertain.
Also: Here are some science-based lesson plans for teachers, using popular movies and other film resources to illustrate science.
Here's Brin's compilation of articles and websites of online resources for teachers and parents interested in teaching science fiction (in a classroom and elsewhere). Pleanty of answers for students learning any branch of science!
Consider the ages from twelve to fifteen, when a person's sense of wonder can bloom or wither, starved by ennui or seared by fashionable cynicism. For many adults (especially those in STEAM fields), it was an inspiring teacher, parent, or other role model that helped cast our minds far beyond oppressive peers or perceived limitations. Here's a short list of ways to help teachers, librarians and others find literary Science Fiction where ideas foster debate about present-day situations and consequences, encouraging readers to engage in truly exploratory adventures of the mind.
Science fiction can be like the stick that a wary traveler pokes into the ground ahead of him, to see where snakes and quicksand may lie. The degree to which we escaped the destiny portrayed in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four, for example, may be owed in part to the way his chilling tale affected millions, who then girded themselves to fight "Big Brother" to their last breath. Since then, many other dystopian novels rocked the public's conscience or awareness and generated their own calls and alarms to prevent their nightmares.
Any science fiction fan knows the genre generates more questions than it answers. How is Science Fiction defined? What's the difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy? David Brin has compiled some of the more interesting answers to these questions and more.
Grab the popcorn! From Star Wars to Star Trek, from Brin's The Postman to Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 and Frank Miller's 300, here's a compilation of David's unusual and frequently amusing articles on movies and TV shows.
Naturally David Brin recommends his books and shorter fiction. But he finds these books inspiring and well worth recommending to readers of all ages. From classics to the newest releases, science fiction offers fiction to enthrall every reader.
War? Environmental collapse? Natural disasters? Fictional doomsday scenarios make popular books, films and television series. (Brin even wrote one!) Looking back from the very near future of 2035, Brin imagines many versions of our civilization's end — and invite you to imagine your own!
David Brin's science fiction novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages. They range from bold and prophetic explorations of our near-future to Brin's Uplift series, envisioning galactic issues of sapience and destiny (and star-faring dolphins!). Learn More
Short stories and novellas have different rhythms and artistic flavor, and Brin's short stories and novellas, several of which earned Hugo and other awards, exploit that difference to explore a wider range of real and vividly speculative ideas. Many have been selected for anthologies and reprints, and most have been published in anthology form. Learn More
Since 2004, David Brin has maintained a blog about science, technology, science fiction, books, and the future — themes his science fiction and nonfiction writings continue to explore. Learn More
Who could've predicted that social media — indeed, all of our online society — would play such an important role in the 21st Century — restoring the voices of advisors and influencers! Lively and intelligent comments spill over onto Brin's social media pages. Learn More
David Brin's Ph.D in Physics from the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. Every science show that depicts a comet now portrays the model developed in Brin's PhD research. Learn More
Brin's non-fiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?, continues to receive acclaim for its accuracy in predicting 21st Century concerns about online security, secrecy, accountability and privacy. Learn More
Brin speaks plausibly and entertainingly about trends in technology and society to audiences willing to confront the challenges that our rambunctious civilization will face in the decades ahead. He also talks about the field of science fiction, especially in relation to his own novels and stories. To date he has presented at more than 200 meetings, conferences, corporate retreats and other gatherings.Learn More
Brin advises corporations and governmental and private defense- and security-related agencies about information-age issues, scientific trends, future social and political trends, and education. Urban Developer Magazine named him one of four World's Best Futurists, and he was cited as one of the top 10 writers the AI elite follow. Past consultations include Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and many others. Learn More
Do not enter if you want a standard "Party" line! Contrary Brin's community pokes at too-rigid orthodoxies, proposing ideas and topics that fascinate and infuriate.
"Brin's canny sensitivity about the complexities of human nature transcends gender barriers in a novel that is not so much about 'women's issues' as the necessity for change and variability. As in Earth, the author demonstrates his ability to empathize with all his characters. This complex and gripping tale belongs in most libraries."
— Library Journal
"Brin slathers a sober and hard-edged landscape at one turn, and in the next pinpoints with pixel clarity the humanity all jumbled up in the epic action. There are no mutant cockroaches or other absurdities. We are in the Oregon mountains, crawling through bracken, or hiding in the snowdrifts because a sniper has pinned us down. On every page we see the dirty, lined, broken faces of hardscrabble existence, but we also see them light up at the simple gesture of receiving a piece of mail from a long-lost loved one. And we see mythopoesis right in our faces."
— SF Site Reviews
"Brin is a physicist of note who has been a NASA consultant, and he knows how to turn the abstractions of particle physics into high adventure.... He excels at the essential craft of the page-turner, which is to devise an elegantly knotted plot that yields a richly variegated succession of high-impact adventures undergone by an array of believably heroic characters."
— Thomas M. Disch, EW.com
"Thanks again for being part of our "kick-off" program for the KPCC Crawford Forum science series (broadcast on our NPR station). The audience loved it, and we all learned a lot — you certainly do have a lot of fans! We hope we can have you with us again at some time in the not too distant future."