Why Our Children Must Quid-ditch Harry Potter for the Magic of Science

By Sir James Dyson via The Sun
To get Britain out of this current Muggle we need to turn fantasy into reality.

Engineers and scientists turn fantasy into reality – they redefine what is possible and achieve the unimaginable. These are the people our children should aspire to be. They need real-life role models, not imagined ones.

I know this makes me a killjoy but I worry that too much attention is paid to Harry Potter, Twilight and other fantastical creations – they are a distraction.

I understand the need to occasionally escape reality and recognise that children should read for enjoyment. But we need to focus their fantastic curiosity and imagination on subjects that can make a real difference.

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Vincenzo Natali Talks ‘Neuromancer’, ‘Snow Crash’ and ‘High Rise’

By Peter Hall at Sci Fi Squad
Last week Cinematical was given the opportunity to talk quite extensively to director Vincenzo Natali about his upcoming creature feature, Splice.  [W]e wanted to share all of the non-Splice projects Natali talked about. His next project is not currently locked down, but we’ve known for a few weeks now that the Canadian director is keenly interested in two adaptations of sci-fi books.

The first is Neuromancer, William Gibson’s monumentally influential cyberpunk tome from 1984. It’s one of the most important science fiction novels of the last quarter-century, I think, so I was particularly interested to hear how he would be bringing it to the big screen. I was also curious as to why he opted for Neuromancer over a similarly classic cyberpunk novel like Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. I was pleasantly surprised, then, when he told me had recently been talking about a Snow Crash film adaptation and why he doesn’t think it’s a good fit for the format.

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Alternate history: five American presidents

via Marshal Zeringue at Lit Lists
At io9, David Daw came up with a few American presidents in alternate history. One alt-president from his list:

Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip

One of the first alternate history presidencies was the satirical fascist presidency of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip in It Can’t Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis. Published in 1935, the book centers on Windrip’s presidency as he quickly rises to power after promising every American 500 dollars and then turns the US into a fascist dictatorship opposed by surprisingly few citizens.

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I understand that what Sir Dyson is saying is children need to have positive role models, but I honestly don’t understand the connection to Harry Potter. Once they reach the age where studying engineering or chemistry is actually possible, they are past the point of believe that Harry Potter is real. Harry Potter made thousands of children who had never touched a book before by choice want to read. If you want to give them role models, give them books about inventors after. It’s very upsetting to me that this man feels that children should have to choose between books they enjoy and a career, because quite frankly I don’t see the need. No one, no matter what they do for work, wants to be immersed in it all the time, and that’s why people love to read. Saying that Harry Potter is ruining children for reality is like saying all novels (and TV shows, and movies for that matter) are destructive. The Harry Potter books have never actually hurt anyone, and it drives me nuts when people lay blame on pop culture items when they should be trying to fix the real problem elsewhere.

What do you think of a Necromancer, Snow Crash, or High Rise movie? Have you read any of the alternative history books on the list?