Wednesday, May 23, 2007

CSFF Blog Tour- The Sword Review- "ME Control"

Today is the last day of the CSFF Blog Tour of The Sword Review and I finally have an opportunity to post! :)

The Sword Review is an online magazine of Christian speculative fiction, poetry, and essays. They have some really good reading material there. The site also includes a forum where readers can discuss what they've read. I've been browsing The Sword Review in preparation for the CSFF Blog Tour, and the piece that I enjoyed the most was a Science Fiction short story called "ME Control" by G.K. Werner. The description the magazine provides for "ME Control" is: "Today, the politically incorrect claim students are responsible for learning—teachers for teaching. But what if tomorrow’s educational technology equipped schools with complete behavior-control? What excuse would teachers have for not being 100% accountable?"

In "ME Control," teachers have the ability to control everything their students do. The students cannot raise their hands without their teacher allowing it. They can't even move their heads. The only thing the students are left in control of are their eyes. The teacher plants the answers in the students' minds and then allows them to speak the answer.

"ME Control" explores the issues of responsibility, power, and public schools. It's an interesting picture of where our world could be heading someday if we don't change our thinking. Students are responsible for how they behave and how much they learn. And if the teacher simply implants the answers into their minds, are they really learning? Learning, to me, is the journey, not just knowing the answering.

The author of this story, G.K. Werner, does a good job of portraying things from the perspective of a teacher involved in this futuristic classroom. You feel his pleasure in the control he has over his students and what they learn, his nervousness as he is being evaluated, and his fear of what the students might do if given too much freedom. Good job, G.K. Werner! Excellent work!

"ME Control" also brings up this scary idea: if the teacher is in total control of the students, and the government is in total control of the teacher, then the students will learn, or basically be brainwashed into believing, whatever the government wants them to learn. It's a clear warning to us about the path our educational system may be heading down.

Overall, "ME Control" is a well-written, thought-provoking piece. In fact, you should go check it out! You'll find it on the main page of The Sword Review, along with many other great stories, poems, and essays, such as: "Modesty," "While the Wyverns Watch," and "Polar Daughter."

And while you're at it, why don't you go exploring and discover others' opinions on The Sword Review and its contents! Here are the links you can find them at:

Jim Black
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Frank Creed
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
April Erwin
Kameron M. Franklin
Linda Gilmore
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Heather R. Hunt
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Dawn King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 - The Compendium
Terri Main
Rachel Marks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Robin Parrish
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika Schultz
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Daniel I. Weaver
Russell Griffith
Jason Waguespac
Brandon Barr

Have fun exploring!

Becca Johnson


Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

First of all, great post, Becca. I love the way that you've interacted with the story. You certainly have me curious.

Now I want to play the foil. (That was foIl - "a person or thing that contrasts with and so emphasizes and enhances the qualities of another" - not fool !! ;-)

You said, "Learning, to me, is the journey, not just knowing the answering." So what do you make of this definition: "the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice, or study, or by being taught"?

Notice the key words--the acquisition of knowledge. Doesn't that imply the getting of answers?

I have a reason for my maddness here. I think our culture has put out this idea that what matters isn't the achieving, it's the process. And it sounds nice, fits the self-esteem advocates. After all, not everyone can win, but surely everyone can try hard. So as long as you're trying hard, you're a winner.

But what about in spiritual matters? Does trying hard satisfy our spiritual needs? Don't we really need an Answer?

And if this is true in matters of the spirit, isn't it possible that there realy are more answers than we realize, that it does matter if we get it right?

As I look at it, all of life is spiritual. What causes the "not getting it right" is sin. The satisfaction with a journey instead of an answer seems to me to be an accomodation for it.

OK, foil's down. ;-)


Becca Johnson said...

I totally agree with you, Becky. I guess I didn't say what I meant very clearly. :( ;)

Let me try again. :)

I said: "Learning, to me, is the journey, not just knowing the answering."
What I meant was: Is it truly learning if someone just plops the answer in our heads? We didn't actually learn, we were just told. To learn something, you have to work for it. You have to spend time learning it. It's not like The Matrix where we can just instantly download how to fly a helicopter and away we go. When you have truly learned something, you have some understanding of it as well, not just repeat it back to the person who told you that's the way it is.

Am I making sense? Tell me if I'm not, and I'll try again. LOL. :P

Becca Johnson

Anonymous said...

I love the way Jesus handles this issue. He doesn't say, "Come to me and I will show you the answer." He doesn't say, "I know the rules you should follow. I know the way."

He says, "I AM the Answer."

It's a relationship, not a guidebook. I'm with you, Becca.