DAVID BRIN: SF for teaching and inspiration

world of teaching and inspiration

Science fiction provides opportunities for enquiring minds of all ages. Information here for book clubs, teachers, parents, and students of all ages.


Using Science Fiction To Help Turn Kids on to Reading... And the Future!

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. Often it's some small thing that can make a difference: an inspiring teacher or role model, a team effort, or a memorable adventure.

Sometimes the right book or film can help those teachers ignite a fire that lasts a lifetime. For many of us, it was futuristic or speculative literature that helped cast our minds far beyond family, city, or oppressive peers. Whether in stories that spanned outer space, adventures in cyberspace, or thoughtful ruminations about the mental life of dolphins, we discovered that a universe filled with possibilities.

what to READ

David Brin's book recommendations

Naturally I recommend my own books and shorter fiction. But I find these books inspiring and well worth recommending.

Bonus! There are plenty of science fiction recommendations for adults too.

how to WRITE

Advice to Writers

I believe 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 I received from would-be writers, I decided to put it all together here. Call it a small trove of advice.

Later, I recorded a short video of writing advice, and compiled a Scoop.It page, a collection of writing advice gathered from this site and others.

how will our 'WORLD' END?

How Will the World End?

War. Environmental collapse. Natural disasters: Writing from the near future, I imagine our civilization's Doomsday -- and invite you to invent your own!


Teaching Science Fiction

This listing of articles and websites about the teaching of science fiction (in a classroom and elsewhere) can make teaching easier. Plenty of online resources for teachers and parents.


Speculations on Science Fiction

How is Science Fiction defined? What's the difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy? David Brin collects answers to these questions and more.


My Top 10 Science Fiction Books

I've listed elsewhere my Top Ten Science Fiction Novels. But now let's try something much more ambitious -- a bigger, broader reading compilation. I will divide this column according to my own unique interest-categories, beginning with...


Tomorrow's World

One of the most powerful novels of all time, published fifty years ago, foresaw a dark future that never came to pass. That we escaped the destiny portrayed in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four, 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. Every conceivable power center, from governments and corporations to criminal and techno-elites, is repeatedly targeted by Hollywood's most relentless message... to stay suspicious of all authority. In other words, Orwell may have helped make his own scenario not come true.

Since then, many other "self-preventing prophecies" rocked the public's conscience or awareness. Rachel Carson foresaw a barren world if we ignored environmental abuse -- a mistake we may have partly averted, thanks to warnings like Soylent Green, Dr. Strangelove, On The Beach, and Fail-Safe. In other words, 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 Tinkerers
The Postman (young readers)
The Postman


Science Fiction that Teaches

Science fiction can be used to teach science. I've compiled a list of stories and articles which can be used by parents or teachers. Let fiction illustrate a scientific principle before, during, and after a science lesson.


Using Science Fiction to Teach Science

This Scoop.It page provides links to articles and websites which illuminate how science can be taught in the classroom (or at home) in interesting and fun ways.


Movies that Teach Science

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.


Popular Culture

From Star Wars to Star Trek, The Postman to 2001 and Frank Miller's 300, here's a collection David's unusual and frequently amusing articles on movies and TV shows.


2001 essay

Our greatest works of science fiction do not attempt to predict a future as much as prevent their own scenarios from coming true -- an aim that George Orwell achieved with fantastic success in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Likewise, I appraise how the epochal film 2001: A Space Odyssey sheds light on a modern cliché... the absurd and easily disproved plaint that human wisdom hasn't kept pace with our technology.

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