Monday, April 4, 2011

Teaching The Sparrow

Well, that was fun. 

In case you wondered where I disappeared to for the last week, I was getting ready for tonight.  I just got back from guest teaching a class about The Sparrow.  Aside from the few people who never said anything (probably hated it), everyone seemed engaged with it on some level, though a few people didn't really get it.

"Such hubris!  Those Jesuits . . ."
"Um, I don't think we can just pin this on Jesuits."
"Oh, I know; it's all missionaries!"
"Um, no, I think it's all humans."

That was the most frustrating misunderstanding, and it came at the end in a flurry of discussion, so I couldn't redirect the reader's attention.  :(  This isn't (just) a book about Jesuits in space.  It's about people and how we, with the best of intentions, sometimes get really terrible results, even if/though God exists.  (The book allows for either.)  Yes, science fiction with subtext!  (And how.) 

This book had super-high reread value.  Nothing was wasted; everything had meaning (the theme was on every page in every conversation).  It was so painful . . .  I started crying around page 179.  I didn't even bother with tissues; I didn't want my nose to be peeling off when I tried to teach the class.

It's nice to talk about a great book with bright people.  There were so many things we didn't get to talk about.  I want to do it again.  :)

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