Friday, September 6, 2013

Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy

September 22-28, 2013 is Banned Book Week. In honor of that week, I will be blogging about banned or challenged books this month.

Perhaps more than any other genre with the possible exception of literary fiction (and that's an iffy comparison), Science Fiction, and its cousin Fantasy, is about ideas. Ideas can be controversial, and often bring out the would-be censors.

Worlds Without End has a Web page that lists 47 frequently challenged or banned Science Fiction and Fantasy books. What do you think of the books on their list? I'll bet that, if you are a SF/F reader, some of your favorites are on their list. How would your life be different if these books had been kept from you by well-meaning parents or community activists?
  • The Amulet of Samarkand, Jonathon Stroud
  • Animal Farm, George Orwell
  • Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  • Carrie, Stephen King
  • Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
  • Cujo, Stephen King
  • The Day After Tomorrow, Robert A. Heinlein
  • The Dead Zone, Stephen King
  • Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  • Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes
  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  • The Giver, Lois Lowry
  • Grendel, John Gardner
  • Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift
  • The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J.K. Rowling
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  • Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
  • Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  • The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
  • The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
  • Roadside Picnic, Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky
  • The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
  • Shade's Children, Garth Nix
  • Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
  • We, Yevgeny Zamyatin
  • Welcome to the Monkey House, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • The Iron Dream, Norman Spinrad
  • The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
  • The Subtle Knife, Philip Pullman
  • The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman
  • The Lovers, Philip Jose Farmer
  • The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
  • Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
  • Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
  • The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
  • Tithe, Holly Black
  • Valiant, Holly Black
  • Ironside, Holly Black
  • Ragtime, E. L. Doctorow


MeLisa Stone said...

Before I was a mother I was horrified that anyone would try to censer our society by banning books. And while I still don't believe in the practice I am more empathetic towards parents and teachers trying to protect their children. I have a fourth grader with the reading level of a seventh grader. As a writer my passion is in teen fiction but I worry about the dark, edgy and disturbing tone that haunts most teen fiction sections. It's frightening to think about the roads those dark, disturbing and therefore fascinating themes will take him.

Julie Daines said...

Interesting how many of these I've read without even knowing.

Scott said...

I understand, MeLisa. With six kids, I know how scary it can be to be a parent. You worry about them going against your teachings. You worry about who they'll hang out with, what they'll do, how they'll drive, who they'll date, who they'll marry, how well they'll raise their kids. In the end, I believe, they are better served by a broad view of the world though, and so by exposure to ideas that maybe I don't agree with, some of which they'll undoubtedly pick up and take for their own. But I'm proud of my kids because they have grown into young men and women who think for themselves, and who, by exposure to both the beautiful and the ugly, have learned to tell the difference, and to be able to deal with new ideas, whether they agree or not, because they are not shocked to learn that there are disagreeable ideas in their world.

Liz Sorenson said...

I'm going to save this list. The ones I've read on it really are some of my favorite books. It makes me want to read the rest of them (besides Stephen King, I don't like being scared or grossed out).