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Teaching Science Fiction

Robot Reading a Book

Nanoo! Nanoo, earthlings! Here I have cultivated a collection of my favorite science fiction short stories to teach. For the selections that are not public domain or out of print, I have included links to, where these books may be published. By the way, I had the honor of meeting Ray Bradbury once, and I thanked him for gifting his immense literary talents to the world. Or at least that's what I meant to say. I probably babbled something like, "You write good." I continued to say, "My students love your writing." He responded by shaking my hand and saying, "God bless you!" It was a great moment! 

"I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC! OR THE ELECTRIC GRANDMOTHER" BY RAY BRADBURY (READER'S THEATER SCRIPT-STORY ADAPTATION) This beautiful story asks the question: Can a robot truly love? After a family loses their mother, they order a new electric grandmother, but young Agatha is skeptical of the new robotic granny. This story unfolds in a thoughtful and surprising way. Did I mention I met Ray Bradbury once?

"THERE WILL COME SOFT RAINS" BY RAY BRADBURY  This horrifying picture of a post-apocalyptic neighborhood is a timeless classic. This story is available in the Ray Bradbury collection of stories available here. By the way, did I mention I shook Ray Bradbury's hand one time?

THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES BY RAY BRADBURY  I've never had enough time to teach the whole novel, but I love pulling out excerpts from this wonderful collection of short vignettes. Ray Bradbury is a master. I met him, you know.

"HUMAN IS" BY PHILIP K. DICK  This short story features a woman who discovers that her cruel husband's body has been taken over by an alien lifeform. The twist? She might actually like him better this way.

"THE FATHER THING" BY PHILIP K. DICK  A young boy notices that his father is acting strangely. Turns out, he's been taken over by a visitor from another planet.

"COLONY" (READER'S THEATER SCRIPT-STORY) In this 15-page script-story, a colony of settlers on another planet must do battle with shapeshifting aliens. But rather than looking like horrifying monsters, these aliens choose more mundane forms.

CAN STORIES SAVE HUMANITY FROM THE DANGERS OF A.I.? This collection of articles asks students to analyze the threat that A.I. poses to humanity and propose solutions.

UTOPIAS AND DYSTOPIAS I have a whole other page dedicated just to Utopias and Dystopias.

"THE RUUM" BY ARTHUR PORGES  This unfortunately out-of-print short story was a staple of middle school literature books for years. A man encounters a piece of alien technology left behind on earth centuries before. The Ruum's mission: To capture him at any cost! The result is a thrilling chase story. I remember reading this short story in middle school, but it took me nearly 30 years to track it down. It's a classic!

"DEEP THOUGHT" AN EXCERPT FROM THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY  I've discovered that not everyone gets Douglas Adam's sense of humor, but I love this oh-so-famous episode from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where the computer Deep Thought calculates the meaning of life. If you like this excerpt, check out the whole series!

"THE CHOICE" BY WAYLAND YOUNG  This incredibly short out-of-print short story has a wonderful twist. A man goes to the future and makes a surprising choice. 

The Time I met Ray Bradbury

And finally, some photographic proof that I did meet Ray Bradbury!