I’m not sure what the news one would expect to come out of West Virginia, but it’s certainly not that a Representative would put forth a bill pushing for more science fiction to be read in schools.
Frankly, it’s not what one would expect anywhere.
The purpose of the bill basically reiterates what most science fiction fans have been saying all along, and that is:
Rep. Ray Canterbury Jr introduced the Science Fiction bill, HB 2983.
The Legislature finds that promoting interest in and appreciation for the study of math and science among students is critical to preparing students to compete in the workforce and to assure the economic well being of the state and the nation. To stimulate interest in math and science among students in the public schools of this state, the State Board of Education shall prescribe minimum standards by which samples of grade-appropriate science fiction literature are integrated into the curriculum of existing reading, literature or other required courses for middle school and high school students.
As someone who works primarily in the political sector, I can say that science fiction does a fantastic job encouraging critical thinking, and often times comes up with out of the box thinking that is applicable to the society.
Unfortunately, the complete text of the bill is not much more than what is quoted above, and fails to stipulate what sort of science fiction should be required, suggest material, and state how much science fiction must be required in a curriculum, let alone which curriculum (such as, which classes should implement these new requirements? English, Math, or Science classes). This however, should come as no surprise, as it has only been submitted as an introductory bill to a committee. Should the bill pass through there, we will likely be getting more detail at that point.
Still, one wonders, if a bill like this should pass, what will be required science fiction reading, and which subject will be the one enforcing it.
For me, Asimov should be appear on the list early, and often, though I would love to see if The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold (in all it’s timey-whimey orgies with past selves goodness), or even Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, would slip under the radar.