Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Media Class

Today I spoke to two sections of a mass-communications class at the University of South Florida, a total of about 450 students. They had all read my novel Nothing Human, which gave me a chance to deliver my usual speech about how their generation will be the one making important decisions about genetic engineering: how much we do, to whom, for what, and under what regulation. They seemed interested, but both during the Q&A and afterward, when I was signing books, many of them said that no one had ever spoken to them about this topic before.

Why not? These are (mostly) freshmen, but shouldn't this sort of question come up in high school biology classes? Genetic engineering -- of crops, of animals, of people -- is important. It may change our future. It already has changed our present, through the development of genemod crops and of bacteria engineered for (to cite only one example) the production of insulin. It seems to me that we should be preparing our young people to consider the issues involved. And by "we" I mean more than just SF writers.

On the other hand, it was lovely to hear how many students said to me, "I never read any science fiction before Dr. Wilber assigned your book, but now I want to read more!" That can only be good :)


Pinpon said...

I was one of those students in class today at USF and I have to say that I was absolutly impressed by Nancy and all I learned in those 50 minutes. "Nothing Human" was also my first SF book ever and I feel like I wanna read all of Nancy Kress' books now, I will.

Bob Batchelor said...

Hello Nancy,

We were lucky to host you. Thanks again for your wisdom and insight. Our students benefited from your appearance.

Good luck in Germany!

Bob Batchelor