10 science fiction novels that have been banned

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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby PKMKII on Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:29 am

pieces o'nine wrote:#1 A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
I haven't read this -- watched the film in horrified chick-vision!* If it's better than the movie, I'll give it a trial


Well for one thing, the movie didn't include the last chapter of the book. Said chapter, not surprisingly, does put the whole narrative in a different context.
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:25 am

PKMKII wrote:I have a very good reason for not reading 1984: It got it wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.


I fail to see how that's a good reason for not having read 1984, or any book. The point of a science fiction book isn't to predict the future necessarily, it's generally to make a point, or observations about current society. Sure, his fears didn't come to fruition, but reading the book is still a way to look into his particular 1940s mindset.

Besides, there are no dueling superpowers. :wink:

And just because modern technology has helped undermine oppressive governments other than the opposite, doesn't mean it's not, or at least wasn't a legitimate fear. Many of these technologies were created by the government, and they could've kept them. Or if a government is powerful enough, it can make sure independently made technologies don't proliferate, and only they get to use them how they want.
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby Rainswept on Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:54 am

PKMKII wrote:I have a very good reason for not reading 1984: It got it wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. First off...

Oh, I see..

Let's be sure you skip every sci-fi thing that turns out wasn't reality, k?

Star Wars, of course, would have happened long, long ago.
Terminator said the world ended in 1997, so that's out.
2001
2010 (and by extension 2063)
Children of Men (baby Diego would have been born last year)
Demolition man said the last murder in L.A. happened on 9/25/10 (whew)


Here's a more full list of things that would have been invented by now, please be sure not to read anything on this list: http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/ctnlistPubDate.asp

The good news is that you still have just over 4 years in which you can enjoy Back to the Future.
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby PKMKII on Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:08 pm

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:I fail to see how that's a good reason for not having read 1984, or any book. The point of a science fiction book isn't to predict the future necessarily, it's generally to make a point, or observations about current society. Sure, his fears didn't come to fruition, but reading the book is still a way to look into his particular 1940s mindset.


Okay, I'll grant that it has value as a historical look into the early Cold War mindset. I was basing my criticism on the fact that so many people who laud it, do as a distant early warning, that it depicts where society is headed. I don't think that view holds up anymore.

Rainswept wrote:Let's be sure you skip every sci-fi thing that turns out wasn't reality, k?


I'm not calling it wrong because the technology and systems haven't turned out exactly as they have in the book. Obviously, it would be foolish to criticize fiction for not completely predicting real-world events. My argument was that the dystopia it was articulating is not where society ended up heading. We've gone away from that. Whereas Brave New World's dystopia has ended up being a lot more prescient.
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby Rainswept on Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:55 pm

You're still missing the point. Technology, events, the way things pan out, all these things are just ways the author communicates his thoughts/fears/worries. These stories can have a huge impact on us, and keep in mind part of the reason he wrote 1984 is the hopes that awareness of worst case scenarios can help avoid those types of events from happening. Your attitude is like refusing to read the safety manuals, cause you recently watched a plane land safely.
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby PKMKII on Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:49 pm

Well like I said, I'm not arguing that those fears were unfounded back in the early days of the Cold War. I would also agree that the dystopia it presents is not one anyone would want to end up in (although it would be a wee bit too generous to give the book some sort of credit for ending the Cold War, or adverting it from a worse path).

What I'm saying is that these fears aren't particularly relevant anymore, especially the technological one. Yet, people still talk about it like it is. I'd say it's not so much like refusing to read the safety manual for a plane, as it is refusing to read the safety manual for a horse and buggy. It's simply not a situation most anyone is going to fall into (Amish as the exception).
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby daftbeaker on Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:53 pm

I'm not so sure about that. 1984 got North Korea pretty accurately. While it doesn't have much practical application to a Western European reader it's still a damn good book.

Plus the idea of 'a boot stamping on a human face forever' is one of the more disturbing things I've read. Actually thinking about it, it's on a level with that passage in The Wasp Factory.
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby Rainswept on Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:15 pm

I'm with Beaker. You read things like 1984 for the same reasons you read history, to avoid making the mistakes others have made. (Plus it's just a fun read)
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby Elvalia on Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:52 am

I can't believe none of you have read Shade's Children... it was written for a younger audience, but I still really enjoyed it.
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby black bart on Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:35 am

Thank you for posting this list, it's really interesting. I have read some of the books and I think it's a tribute to the authors that certain people found them threatening, science fiction should be like that, breaking new ground and challenging our ideas of the norm. I recently read 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood which was called anti-Christian and pornographic by parents after being placed on a reading list for secondary students in Texas in the 1990s.

In November 2009 it was revealed in the British press that the BBC had a longstanding ban on dramatising Enid Blyton's books (The Famous Five etc) on the radio from the 1930s to the 1950s. Letters and memos from the BBC Archive show that producers and executives at that time described Blyton as a "tenacious second-rater" who wrote "stilted and longwinded" books which were not suitable to be broadcast.

What's wrong with Longwinded?? :furious:
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby Ubi Dubium on Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:41 pm

OK, I've got to chime in here about 1984. I don't think it's just about technology, or politics. Look at some of the ideas in the book:

A mythological character who is always watching everybody, every minute of the day, but who never actually puts in an appearance.

And who supposedly wants the best for everybody.

And who will judge each person, not only for their actions but for their very thoughts.

The "minions" of this character require people to believe whatever they are told, and think what they are told to think, and do what they are told to do, no matter how morally unacceptable it may be.

They will require people to believe contradictory statements, out of loyalty to their invisible overlord.

All moral issues are reduced to "good" or "ungood" with no room for questioning or shades of gray about an issue.

Incorrect actions or thoughts will lead to horrible torture.


This sounds awfully familiar. I think Orwell is warning us about religion here, not just technology and totalitarianism. And considering this, I think this book will always be relevant.
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby Pastalogist on Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:25 pm

Robert Heinlein is my personal favorite author. Strange in a Strange Land was a literal masterpiece. By the time I was 15 I had read just about every Heinlein book as well as a lot of Clarke, Asimov, Piers Anthony, Card and so on.

What's interesting about Stranger is in the book, the human raised by Martians, Michael Valentine Smith creates and founds a "Church of All Worlds".

Unlike the ego-maniacal L. Ron Hubbard who actually believed the crap he wrote was real (or at least got other people to believe it, also...horrible writer to boot) when the Church of all Worlds from Stranger was suggested as a real religion Heinlein laughed it off and distanced himself from it, although a group of people did create a literal CaW based on his book in the 70s which still exists.

CaW unlike Scientology is a pretty passive religion similar to Wicca.

Probably the reason for the banning of the book is when humans try to explain the concept of God to Smith and Smith suddenly has the epiphany, "Thou art God." and all that "groks" is God.

If you do believe in a higher power then this isn't as blasphemous as it might seem at first glance. God created everything right? So essentially we're all a part of God.
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby Edd on Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:48 pm

Pastalogist wrote:Probably the reason for the banning of the book is when humans try to explain the concept of God to Smith and Smith suddenly has the epiphany, "Thou art God." and all that "groks" is God.


Ummm, I think the book's endorsement of nudity, casual sex, and, in some situations, cannibalism had more to do with it's banning.
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby Pastalogist on Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:41 pm

Edd wrote:
Pastalogist wrote:Probably the reason for the banning of the book is when humans try to explain the concept of God to Smith and Smith suddenly has the epiphany, "Thou art God." and all that "groks" is God.


Ummm, I think the book's endorsement of nudity, casual sex, and, in some situations, cannibalism had more to do with it's banning.


Nudity and casual sex? Are you kidding? Those were the best parts! I read that book when I was 13 or 14. We didn't have the Spice Channel (not in my house anyway) or streaming porn on the internet. I had a box full of trashy sci-fi novels I got from one of my Dad's friends.

And I think the way they presented the parts on "cannibalism" were quite...ahem..."tasteful". :P
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Re: 10 science fiction novels that have been banned

Postby Arkaeon on Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:02 am

I read 1984, Slaughterhouse 5, Farenheit 451, and Brave New World as english/literature class assignments at various grades. I think I was lucky in having some cynical teachers. My high school librarian turned me on to Stranger in a Strange Land, as well as to Frank Herbert’s books. (Frank Herbert would have gotten banned if more people could have understood him.)

Regarding the 1984 discussion, I would point out that some concepts of the book are still very relevant. I’ve seen tons of people engaging in the “5-minute Hate” as consolation and confirmation for their beliefs. Watch yourself closely and see if you do it, too. Watch people around you; it’s hilarious. Controlling people through fear of foreigners, the unknown, or the future, is a still a common tactic in politics and commerce. The “fear-factor” of television ads is like having a load of bricks dumped on your head. If you recognize major corporations as essentially nation-states of their own, the continued relevance of 1984 gets really obvious.

Regarding Clockwork Orange: saw the movie. There’s no way I’d wade through a novel-length of that kind of incoherent slang to get such a simple premise, that good and evil are products of the same kinds of emotions and perceptions.

Other things banned in USA:

Christmas was banned in Boston (also banned in England 1657-1660)
Eating peanuts in a church is banned in Massachusetts
"The Moon is Blue" a movie, was banned in the 1950's. G-rated-type film but included the word "virgin" in dialogue
Giraffes are banned from being in home bathtubs in New York City
...it never ends.
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