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Female Students and Science Fiction

NB: English Online has published the introduction only. If you would like to purchase the entire report, please email the author: cdgoodyear@hotmail.com

CHRISTOPHER GOODYEAR

IDENTIFYING THE REASONS WHY FEMALE HIGH-SCHOOL STUDENTS DO NOT LIKE READING SCIENCE-FICTION BOOKS.

ABSTRACT

According to previous studies of high-school students' fiction book genre preferences, female students have ranked science-fiction books very low. As a qualified high-school teacher of English, the researcher investigated, through a survey, the reasons why female students ranked science-fiction this way. After the reasons were identified, suggestions were then made as to how the genre could be presented and taught differently so that the female students might want to read it. Simultaneously, the reasons why the male students were interested in science-fiction books were also identified, through a survey, so that suggestions could be made as to what types of science-fiction books both male and female students could be interested in reading together. The researcher established that female students were disinterested in science-fiction mainly because they were either bored by or did not understand the scientific and technological words, ideas, and concepts that were in the stories. The researcher recommended strategies for making the scientific content more appealing and understandable to the female students, and showed that these would not affect the male enjoyment of the stories. The researcher also established that the main reason why the male students were interested in science-fiction books was because of the action elements in the stories. The researcher showed that the male interest in the action elements could be focused on without seriously affecting the female enjoyment of the stories.

ABRIDGED TABLE OF CONTENTS

How can fiction books help to improve high-school students' knowledge and educational abilities?

What fiction books should high-school students expected to be reading?

Are high-school students actually reading these widely, as is expected of them?

What ways are there to get high-school students interested in reading more?

What fiction genres do high-school students like reading the least?

What areas of reading disinterest can be addressed here?

Concluding Remarks

SELECTIONS FROM THE APPENDIX

Preferred reading materials: Fiction
From Elley & Tolley (1972: 23)

Breakdown of popularity of fiction genres among forms 3-6 students
From Goodyear (1998: 15-16).

A checklist of science-fiction novels with female protagonists.

INTRODUCTION

How can fiction books help to improve high-school students' knowledge and educational abilities?
Teachers and educators, everywhere, are trying to increase their charges' knowledge of the world, both general and factual, and personal and intimate. However, there are certain obstacles to this happening to the desired extent wanted for the students and children. A direct physical encounter and experience is often difficult or impossible for a person to achieve, through separation be it cognitive, historical or physical. Ways need to be found for people, and young people in particular, to bridge this separation and understand how other human beings behave and interact with the world so that a store of affinitive, emotional, communicative, cultural, historic, and linguistic expertise to draw from can be developed.

It is very difficult, for example, to expect a young Pakeha high school student in the inner suburbs of 1990's Auckland to understand the experiences of an American infantry soldier in the Vietnam War in the 1960's. The student could watch the motion pictures Platoon (Kopelson & Stone, 1986) or Hamburger Hill (Spriggs & Carabatsos, 1987), or listen to the audiocassette series Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam (Edelman, 1985), and gain beneficial skills and information from both format types, such as the awareness of strong visual images and well-placed dialogue. A well written book about this topic, though, and a fiction book in particular, such as The Things They Carried (O'Brien, 1986), offers these same skills and information but also extra rewards. 'As compared to movies, [and] radio, and television, reading has certain unique advantages. Instead of having to choose from a limited variety made available to him... from the currently available pictures, the reader can... read at a place and time chosen for his own convenience... He can read when, where, and how he pleases. This flexibility ensures the continuing value of reading both for education and for entertainment' (Bamberger, 1975, cited in Bardsley, 1991: ii).

Also, the greater the students' reading volume and breadth of fiction books then the greater the contribution this makes to their reading achievement and performance (Cipielewski & Stanovich, 1992, cited in Wigfield & Guthrie 1997: 420; Stanovich & Cunningham, 1992). Reading fiction books also improves the students' skills in learning other strands of the English curriculum. Jane Mollier, teacher/librarian of Long Bay College, Auckland (Kara, 1999: 5), says 'that when high school students read a wide range of fiction books then they [the students] expand their creative and imaginative minds. Their vocabulary range expands, and their writing skills improve'. The more fiction books that the students read then the more skilled they become in understanding and expressing their language.

The reading of fiction books (and non-fiction books) also assists in developing personal skills in readers. Reading increases their knowledge of the world, and how the people in it behave and interact with the environment (Wigfield & Guthrie, 1997). It develops the students' ability to distinguish between various religious, political, and cultural beliefs (Stanovich & Cunningham, 1993, cited in Wigfield & Guthrie, 1997: 420). It develops the excellent ability of being able to complete the reading of a book, in this the most individual of disciplines, and increases their capability and capacity for introspective thought and contemplation of the book's themes, issues and language.

Individuals who read frequently will also become more involved in their communities. Guthrie, Schafer and Hutchinson (1991, cited in Wigfield & Guthrie 1997: 420), using a national database, found that 'amount of reading predicted participation in community organisations, after home background and level of schooling were controlled'. As Breakwell and Hammond say (1994: i), 'fiction books provide the reader with a temporary escape from humdrum workaday life into an exciting world of make-believe but they also lift the reader out of self-centred introspection to a heightened awareness of the world around them. However private and intimate a reader's contact with books might be, the book makes a remarkable connection with the social world of that reader'. Every fiction book that a student reads adds to the confidence and social skills of the reader.

In combination, all of these benefits allow the reader to build up a level of knowledge and expertise, allowing them to reflect on the world and what part they might play in it. With such a wide range of gains on offer, teachers, educators, and care-givers have a responsibility for, and a crucial role in, encouraging the students' reading to be carried over into their free time and out-of-school activities. This is extremely important; it cannot be overestimated. Reading should be seen as a high enjoyment activity and become habitual. Students need to be encouraged to immerse themselves in as wide a range of fiction book genres as possible.

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What fiction books should students be expected to be reading?
This expectation for students to be reading a wide range of fiction book genres is not just a passing fad espoused by teachers and educators, it is set in New Zealand's education policy. In the English curriculum document, English in the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 1994a), it states that students, from new entrants to Form 7, are expected to satisfy the achievement objectives of 'Personal Reading,' otherwise known as 'Wide Reading'1. Form 3-7 high-school students work to the 'Personal Reading' achievement objectives under the levels four to eight, respectively. These are detailed in Appendix Item 1. These five levels all have in common an expectation that the students will read a range, and often a wide range, of genres.

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Are students actually reading widely, as is expected of them?
However, adds Jane Mollier (Kara, 1999), while the need for students to read is clear, many students, of both sexes, still do not read a great enough amount, or a wide enough range, of fiction books, and many students do not read at all. These students will miss out on these benefits that have been described here and their level of education will be poorer for it. This is a trend that is recognised by teaching staff and educators throughout New Zealand (Kara, 1999). To illustrate this, Bardsley (1991) reported that 21.9% of the Form 4 and 6 high school students in her North Island study were reluctant readers and read less than one book per month. Similarly, Cleghorn (1998) reported only 8% of the books issued in 1998 from the North Shore Public Library system in Auckland, New Zealand were to students in the 13-18 age group.

This is not a new problem, or a local problem, either. Data has been collected over many years, and from other countries, too, that is similar to that from New Zealand. In Ireland, Greaney (1980) reported that 44% of the Irish middle-school-age children he studied did not read from a book on any of the three days in the study. In Bathurst, Australia, Jack Thomson (1987, cited in Bardsley, 1991: 25) reported that 32.25% of the 5092 students aged 12 and over in his study read no books over the study's length of one month. A range of American studies have also been presented to show that United States' high school children do not read much, either. Walberg and Tsai (1984) reported that 44% of the students in the study reported not reading from a book on the particular day of the survey. Anderson, Wilson & Fielding (1988) reported that the students in the 50-percentile group of reading volume read less than 4.6 minutes per day from books. Neumann (1994) showed in her studies, from data collected by the National Assessment of Educational Progress in eight states, that only 35% of 13-year-olds and just 33% of 17-year-olds read daily for pleasure in their free time. All of these studies reported pre-teen children reading considerably more.

If you interpret these figures to show that as students enter their teenage years they are reading little in their free time, it is alarming because teenagers are not reading the required volume for it to include a wide genre mix. Students' school days are too filled with other curriculums and events for them to be expected to be reading a lot, and a wide range, solely in the classroom, so students need to be encouraged to be habitually reading in periods of their free time, too. Pro-active strategies need to be formed and implemented for getting students interested in reading a wide range of fiction genres. Every educational institution is responsible for getting students interested in books, whether the authority is school-based or not.

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What ways are there to get students interested in reading more?
Researchers have shown that when students are both interested in what is being taught and have access to materials that interest them, then learning, motivation, effort, and attitudes improve (Hidi, 1991, cited in Worthy, Moorman & Turner, 1999: 12; Schiefele, 1991, cited in Worthy, Moorman & Turner, 1999: 12). Personal interest in a subject motivates and facilitates the learner to go beyond surface level information to a deeper level of processing (Worthy, Moorman, & Turner, 1999). With many students, this interest in fiction books just does not happen automatically. There cannot be any interest and learning unless a person is willing to invest attention. It is no longer sufficient or advisable to just denigrate the activities that students are doing instead of reading, such as socialising with friends, playing sport, playing computer games, and watching television. In small doses, and not to excess, all of these activities are of benefit to students. Neumann (1988), for example, provides research showing that small daily periods of television viewing do not adversely affect the quality of teenagers' reading performance. But students need to be devoting more time to fiction books, and strategies need to be formed by schools and 'care-givers' to get the students more interested in reading fiction books.

One such strategy is to determine the popularity of various fiction genres. This has two spin-offs. The most popular genres must be looked for, as by knowing this then the teachers will be able to do at least three things better to maintain the students' current interest. They will be able to choose books for 'Close Reading'2 activities that data shows most or all of the students will enjoy. They will be able to focus deeper in a genre and recommend individual books to students from particular definable groups. The data will also give departmental buyers confidence to back up their spending decisions.

The least popular genres need to be identified, as well, so that the reasons for their lack of popularity can be ascertained and addressed. Once these are identified then recommendations can be made to writers and publishers for changing the texts, or to teachers and educators on how they are taught and promoted, so as to make them more appealing for that particular group, or groups, that does not like them. Through a process of several steps, a three-part-goal is defined for this dissertation.
1) To identify (from previous literature) an unpopular fiction book genre;
2) Then identify (through survey) the reasons why the particular group does not like it;
3) Before, finally, making suggestions (from the survey data) as to how the genre can be improved so that the particular group might want to read it.

If the faults that students perceive lie within the unpopular texts can be corrected then it is reasonable to expect that the students will become more interested in reading them.

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What fiction genres do students like reading the least?
The question needs to be asked, though, 'What do New Zealand high school students have in fiction genre preferences?' Unfortunately, very few studies have been conducted to determine these preferences. Elley and Tolley (1972) undertook one such study. Like the studies of Bardsley (1991) and Goodyear (1998) described below, Elley and Tolley located their findings with respect to gender preferences within different high-school form levels. The male and female students were asked the question: If you were given three story books as a gift, what would you like them to be about? Their results are in Appendix Item 2.

These figures show that young girls at the Form 4 (usually 14-years-old) level of high school are predominantly interested in genres about people and relationships, with a preference for stories about personal, home and family life. Only the boyish interest in mystery and detection stories upsets this pattern. Girls may also read boys' novels but boys apparently won't admit to reading girls'. To capture the interest of boys, then action, fighting, mystery and excitement are necessary; to please girls, then books about human relationships, romance, humour, mystery, and personal stories over different periods of time, would be popular (Elley & Tolley, 1972).

Elley and Tolley's study (1972) will not be accepted as the definitive study of New Zealand high school students' fiction genre preferences for the purposes of further investigation in this dissertation into the reasons for the unpopularity of a particular genre. There were many reasons for it not being used. Only one of the five high school form levels was studied (Form 4). The study is also over twenty-five years old and therefore cannot take into account current trends and societal beliefs (such as the 'deglamorisation' of war). There are further concerns over the genres surveyed. For example, 'funniness' is an element of some genres, not a genre in itself. Cowboys and westerns is extremely rare as a genre in late twentieth-century fiction, and one must wonder what popular genres of today were not held in such prominence in 1972 and were not surveyed on their popularity. It is also hard to know why stories about horses need to be differentiated from stories about other animals, as Elley and Tolley have done. Therefore, this dissertation is aimed to locate a more current, thorough, and sound study.

Bardsley (1991) conducted a more relevant study in terms of identifying an unpopular genre with a particular gender. Her results are listed in full in Appendix Item 3. She surveyed boys and girls of Forms 4 and 6. Her study showed that adventure, mystery, science-fiction, sports, and war stories were the highest-ranking genres among the boys, yet they were much less popular with the girls. The study also showed that teenage (or 'coming-of-age'), love, and modern social stories were among the most popular among the girls, but they were mid-to-low in ranking with the boys. This confirmed Elley and Tolley's findings that boys and girls can have distinct preferences and that boys prefer stories with an action base and that girls prefer stories that are based in characters and human relationships.

However, Bardsley's study also had limitations that precluded it from being used as this dissertation's definitive data source for the investigation into the reasons for the unpopularity of a particular genre. It is conceded that Bardsley's is a much more recent study than that by Elley and Tolley, but there is no data for the reading preferences of Form 3, Form 5, and Form 7, boys and girls, which makes a mockery of her table title. Second, she just identified genre preferences without also identifying the students' reasons for their preferences. Third, it can be argued that humour and stories about New Zealand are not actual genres; they are elements of stories found within the context of other genres. This argument should also exclude careers as a genre from future studies. Horror stories do exist as actual genres but they should also be excluded as their social and educational benefits for high school readers have yet to have be outlined, explained, or justified in research literature. Fourth, to break down the results into preferences along racial lines among the students, as she has done, is problematic for many reasons. A New Zealand student is often a mixture of different ethnic groups. A teacher cannot be expected to teach seven particular books simultaneously to seven racial groups in his or her class. And, ways should be found for all genres to appeal to all races. Finally, being New Zealand's largest city, with nearly one-third of the country's population contained within its boundaries, a survey of high school students' fiction genre preferences should be conducted in Auckland, which Bardsley's was not. These were the motivations for the study undertaken by Goodyear (1998).

Goodyear (1998) attempted to try to fill this gap by surveying Form 3-6 (13-16 year olds) students at a coeducational high school in Auckland. The school in question was chosen as it satisfied a list of important criteria. The school had a wide range of ethnicities represented among its student roll. Also, its English curriculum teaching staff attempted to instil in the students an interest in books from their general demeanour and enthusiasm, their modelling and demonstration of reading in front of the students, and from the diverse reading logs that each student completed as part of their coursework. Students from the final year of high school in New Zealand (Form 7) were not surveyed, not because their reading interests were unimportant but because the texts usually studied in Form 7 English curriculum classes are almost always dictated by the requirements of the end of year Bursary examination.

A list of fiction book genres was compiled, and then surveyed on their popularity, in Goodyear's study (1998). The genres needed to satisfy a set of criteria in order to be selected. Genres are works of art distributed into classes (Rabkin, 1976). One might define genre by its structure, such as poetry, novels, films, plays, and paintings. Genres could also be further defined, such as dividing novels into their genre types, as this dissertation has done. While novel genres could be defined in various ways, such as their political content or their religious content, this study has chosen to divide them into genres by way of their most predominant topic type, such as adventure stories or war stories.

There are certain cautions to be aware of when classifying books into particular genres. For example, if a student professes to enjoy reading fantasy books, he or she can be recommended a fantasy book because it is similar to that genre of novels known as fantasy books. That should be relatively straightforward. However, that would be markedly different than classifying books into a genre known as the fantastic, as detective stories, mystery stories, science-fiction stories, fairy tales, and fantasy stories all have elements of the fantastic yet they are significantly different to each other in other aspects. Therefore, in a study of novel genre types such as this, one must be careful not to 'lump' genres with others when in fact they should be standing alone.

In order to be part of a particular genre, a text must also conform within the constraints of its content, positioning, and form of the established texts within that genre (Swales, 1990). For example, for a book to be called a mystery book it would have certain constraints. It would need to fit within the conventions of a novel, such as having a structured plot, complete with things such as sentences, being written in a decipherable language, and with characters. It would also need to fit within the conventions of a mystery story, such as having suspenseful action and dialogue, and not making the reasons for the plot initially clear.

A genre was selected not just through its popularity with students, as this could possibly include perverse books of the horror and pornographic types. Therefore, a genre needed to have sensible and positive, and educational and moral, benefit in it being read by a high school student. There also needed to be plenty of published and available exemplar texts of a fiction genre for students to read. Also, genres were chosen for the list if they constituted actual genres, not elements of other stories, such as Elley and Tolley (1972) and Bardsley (1991) who mistakenly included careers and New Zealand stories.

A genre was also chosen if it was a class of narrative, that it reflected life by telling a story about some sort of outcome to a situation. As Neale (1980: 20) says, 'Narrative is always a process of transformation of the balance of elements that constitute its pretext: the interruption of an initial equilibrium and the tracing of the dispersal and refiguration of its components.' To be included in the list, a genre also needed to be a communicative event, in which language played both a significant and an indispensable role in the story being told (Swales, 1990). The genre also needed to have a communicative purpose or goal (Swales, 1990). For example, one of the purposes of a love story would be, through actions and dialogue, to communicate the elements of a romantic relationship.

These genres (in Figure 1) were selected by Goodyear (1998) to be surveyed as to their popularity among high school students in Auckland. A story was one of these genres when it was the major part of the book, not a minor or a supplementary one. There was possibly a fault in this list with the exclusion of Gothic novels, but Gothicism could possibly be an element of other types of stories, such as love stories and adventure stories. The genres were presented to the students on the survey form in alphabetical order.

FIGURE 1
FICTION BOOK GENRES USED IN POPULARITY SURVEY

From Appendix Item B, Survey Form, in Goodyear (1998: 17).

Goodyear (1998) had 474 high-school student subjects in his survey population, with the gender and form level splits listed in Appendix Item 4. The results (in Appendix Item 5) showed various patterns. For example, across Forms 3-6 (13-16-years-old) the genres of fantasy, science-fiction, war, adventure, and sports were the most popular with the boys, while, with the girls, teenage stories, fantasy stories, mystery stories, adventure stories, and love stories rated the most popular. This repeated the findings of Elley and Tolley (1972) and Bardsley (1991) with boys and girls often having distinctly different preferences in reading interests, and with boys and girls preferring stories with an action base and a character base, respectively.

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What areas of reading disinterest can be addressed here?
Girls generally show a positive motivation for reading (Wigfield & Guthrie, 1997) so it is important that teachers, educators, and parents at least maintain their current motivation levels and then increase them to embrace as many genres as possible. Boys' have a lower positive motivation for reading (Wigfield & Guthrie, 1997), which needs to be explored and explained and addressed, too, in other research. But, this dissertation will look at girls' attitudes to a particular genre. Though, should female high school students be expected to find their unpopular genres more interesting than they do? In the New Zealand government's curriculum document for English, English: In the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 1994a: 33), the answer is 'yes.' They say 'Students should be encouraged to read widely...' No gender distinction is made between expectations of male and female students. All high school students are expected to be reading a wide range of fiction texts.

A qualification needs to be made here. No one should want the less popular genres to go to the top of any ranking lists, as this would push the genres previously at the top back down the list, which would leave us in the same position that we started in. What we do want, though, is for female high-school students to retain their current enthusiasm for their most popular genres, such as teenage stories, and still read them vociferously but yet also help them address the dislikes they hold about their least popular genres and read them, too.

In the New Zealand parent document of all the individual curriculum documents, The New Zealand Curriculum Framework (Ministry of Education, 1994b: 7), 'the school curriculum will recognise, respect, and respond to the educational needs, experiences, interests, and values of all students: both female and male students'. However, while it is important to acknowledge boys' and girls' 'educational needs and experiences' equally, they surely must need to actually have equal educational experiences first. Through analysing the language of a range of fiction texts, female students will be able to find out what they say and reveal about attitudes and events, and how they were constructed (Ministry of Education, 1994a). By not reading this range of fiction texts, then female (and male) students will miss out on all of these benefits. This is not 'equality in educational needs and experiences'. In fact, one could not imagine anything more tragic than so many people missing out on so much. This only serves to emphasise the importance of providing research about why genders prefer some genres to other genres.

The fiction genres of sports stories, war stories, and science-fiction stories were much less popular with the girls than with the boys, and were either at or near the bottom of the rankings. While the unpopularity of all of these three genres with females must be investigated, the genre of science-fiction has social and educational benefits for its readers such that its unpopularity with female high school readers will be the specific focus of this dissertation. These social and educational benefits will be discussed.

There are many studies showing significant differences between boys and girls in preferring science-fiction. As well as the aforementioned New Zealand-based studies of Elley and Tolley (1972), Bardsley (1991), and Goodyear (1998), the American researchers Thomason (1983) and Link (1984) have also presented surveys showing that their country's female high school students prefer science-fiction books much less than their male counterparts. As genre preference studies have been presented showing both American and New Zealand female high school students do not generally like science-fiction books then both American and New Zealand research literature is discussed in this dissertation.

This study will primarily deal with science-fiction books, as opposed to cinema. This is because reading science-fiction books is a more individual and intellectual experience, emphasising thought and reflection, while watching science-fiction movies is a 'more visceral and shared experience' (Thomas R. Atkins, 1976: 6, cited in Lichtenstein, 1983: 47).

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CONCLUDING REMARKS

In conclusion, this study has shown that, like previous studies (e.g., Bardsley, 1991; Elley and Tolley, 1972; Goodyear, 1998; Link, 1984; Thomason, 1983), a majority of female high-school students are disinterested in reading science-fiction books, while a majority of their male peers are very interested in reading these books. This study has also shown that while the female students do not like to read this genre they are also clear in the reasons why they do not like them. The results show that scientific and technological words, ideas, and concepts bore and intimidate female students. However, if teachers and educators implement strategies to help female students overcome these concerns then they can feel confident that they will have success in helping female readers become enthusiastic readers of this genre. Teachers and educators should not limit themselves to just the strategies suggested in this dissertation, though; they should also consult with their students to see which ways would be most comfortable in facilitating student acceptance and understanding of the scientific content in the stories.

This study has also shown that an interest in scientific and technological explanation is a major reason for the male students' high level of interest in the genre. If the teachers and educators can implement the advice given in this dissertation and help their female students see the positive aspects behind the stories' scientific explanation then it shows that both male and female students could like science-fiction stories for the same reasons. It would go a long way to finding particular science-fiction stories that males and females would like to read together.

The other interesting point about the male attitudes to science-fiction is that they predominantly liked to read science-fiction because of the action element they found in many of the stories. This should not be seen as an obstacle to them reading the same stories as their female peers because the action element in the stories was not a frequently noted reason for female students not liking to read science-fiction books.

That this study has managed to identify the reasons why female students do not like the genre, and has suggested ways for the female and male students to like reading the same types of stories as each other, shows that this study has succeeded in its objectives. It would have been better if results could have been obtained for students from Forms 6 and 7 (ages sixteen and seventeen), and this would be an excellent follow up study, but this study has succeeded in finding the results for the younger forms. However, this study would only be a complete success if, after the teachers took on board all the instructional advice, the female students become enthusiastic readers of science-fiction. It would be absolutely outstanding if a whole new genre and world were opened to female readers. Young readers deserve such an opportunity.

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APPENDIX ITEM 2
PREFERRED READING MATERIALS: FICTION

Boys
Form 4

Ranking order Points Genre
1st 16 Mystery and detective
2nd 15 War stories
3rd 14 Science-fiction
4th 8 Others
5th 8 Sports stories
6th 7 Funny stories
7th 6 Love and romance
8th 6 Stories about space and flying
9th 5 Dogs and other animals
10th 4 Myths and legends
11th 4 Stories of long ago (Historical stories)
12th 3 Cowboys and westerns
13th 1 Home and family life
14th 1 School stories
15th 1 Stories about nurses & other careers
16th 1 Horses
17th 0 Fairy tales, magic and make-believe

From Table 3, in Children's Reading Interests, by W.B. Elley and C.W. Tolley (1972:23) Note: Students were asked to give 3 points to their favourite genre, 2 points to their second- most-favourite genre, and 1 point to their third-most-favourite-genre.

Girls
Form 4

Ranking order Points Genre
1st 24 Love and romance
2nd 18 Mystery and detective
3rd 9 Stories of long ago (Historical stories)
4th 7 Home and family life
5th 6 Science-fiction
6th 6 Funny stories
7th 5 Dogs and other animals
8th 5 Stories about nurses & other careers
9th 5 War stories
10th 4 Horses
11th 3 Myths and legends
12th 3 School stories
13th 3 Others
14th 2 Sports stories
15th 1 Cowboys and westerns
16th 0 Fairy tales, magic and make-believe
17th 0 Stories about space and flying

From Table 3, in Children's Reading Interests, by W.B. Elley and C.W. Tolley (1972:23) Note: Students were asked to give 3 points to their favourite genre, 2 points to their second- most-favourite genre, and 1 point to their third-most-favourite-genre.

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APPENDIX ITEM 5
BREAKDOWN OF POPULARITY OF FICTION GENRES AMONG FORMS 3-6 STUDENTS.

Form 3 Boys

Girls

1st Adventure stories Teenage stories
2nd Science-fiction stories Adventure stories
3rd Mystery stories Mystery stories
4th Fantasy stories Love stories
5th Sports stories Fantasy stories
6th War stories Animals stories
7th Stories of Modern Prolbems Stories of Modern Problems
8th Teenage stories Stories of Discrimination
9th Classics Sports stories
10th Animals stories Classics
11th Stories of Discrimination Science-fiction stories
12th Historical stories Historical stories
13th Love stories War stories

Form 4 Boys Girls
1st Adventure stories Teenage stories
2nd Science-fiction stories Mystery stories
3rd Mystery stories Love stories
4th War stories Adventure stories
5th Fantasy stories Fantasy stories
6th Sports stories Stories of Modern Problems
7th Teenage stories Stories of Discrimination
8th Stories of Modern Problems Classics
9th Stories of Discrimination Science-fiction stories
10th Classics Sports stories
11th Animals stories War stories
12th Historical stories Historical stories
13th Love stories Animals stories

Form 5 Boys Girls
1st Adventure stories Teenage stories
2nd Science-fiction stories Adventure stories
3rd Fantasy stories Mystery stories
4th War stories Fantasy stories
5th Mystery stories Love stories
6th Animals stories Stories of Modern Problems
7th Teenage stories Stories of Discrimination
8th Sports stories Science-fiction stories
9th Stories of Modern Problems War stories
10th Stories of Discrimination Animals stories
11th Classics Classics
12th Historical stories Historical stories
13th Love stories Sports stories

Form 6 Boys Girls
1st Adventure stories Mystery stories
2nd Science-fiction stories Adventure stories
3rd Mystery stories Love stories
4th War stories Stories of Modern Problems
5th Fantasy stories Teenage stories
6th Sports stories Fantasy stories
7th Stories of Modern Problems Stories of Discrimination
8th Classics Historical stories
9th Teenage stories Classics
10th Historical stories Animals stories
11th Stories of Discrimination Science-fiction stories
12th Animals stories War stories
13th Love stories Sports stories

From Appendix Item C: Raw data, in Popularity of Various Fiction Book Genres Among High School Students In Auckland, Goodyear, (1998: 15-16) Note: Teenage stories should be regarded as 'coming-of-age' stories, where the main plot of the story concerns an event causing a teenager's move to maturity, such as the death of a parent and looking after siblings.

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APPENDIX ITEM 11
A CHECKLIST OF SCIENCE-FICTION NOVELS WITH FEMALE PROTAGONISTS

Unless otherwise noted, resources are directly quoted from Fergus (1976), 20-27.

Arnason, Eleanor. (1993). Ring of Swords. Tor: New York.
Story about lesbian-gay discrimination of heterosexuality.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Ashwell, Pauline. (date not listed in reference). Unwillingly to Earth.
Publisher's details not listed in reference. Possibly Tor: New York.
Cited in Herald, D.T. (1995). pp.229-230.

Benford, Gregory. (1987). Great Sky River. Simon: New York.
Shows women's experiences in our culture, and their different emphases to men, in a future society where women are in the roles that males traditionally have filled.
Cited in Donawerth, J. (1990).

Boyd, John. (1969). The Pollinators of Eden. Weybright & Talley: New York.
Biologist Dr. Freda Caron participates in the discovery of extraterrestrial plants that are intelligent and heterosexual. She makes love to one of them and gives birth to a seed.

Bradley, Marion Zimmer. (1976). The Shattered Chain. Daw Books: New York.
Tales of three of the enigmatic Free Amazons of the planet Darkover.

Brown, Rosel George. (1966). Sibyl Sue Blue. Doubleday and Company: Garden City, New York.
Police sergeant deals with drugs, murders and aliens from Alpha Centauri, while on the way to the planet Radix to search for her missing husband.

Brown, Rosel George. (1970). The Waters of Centaurus. Doubleday and Company: Garden City, New York.
Sequel to above.

Brunner, John. (1966). A Planet of Your Own. Ace Books: New York.
Physicist Kynance Foy uses her training in engineering and commercial law to stop a monopolistic corporation's swindling and exploitation of the natural resources of the planet Zygra.

Butler, Octavia. (1984). 'Blood child' and other stories. Four Walls, Eight Windows: New York.
Explores the themes of racism and imperialism.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Butler, Octavia. (1987-89). 'Xenogenesis' trilogy: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, Imago. Gollancz: London.
Explores the themes of racism and imperialism.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Butler, Octavia. (1993). Parable of the Sower. Four Walls, Eight Windows: New York.
Cited in Herald, D.T. (1995). pp.229-230.

Cherryh, C.J. (1981). The Pride of Chanur. Phantasia Press: West Bloomfield, Michigan.
Reverse gender discrimination.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Coney, Michael G. (1973). The Hero of Downways. Daw Books: New York.
Fearless young Shirl, in a post-holocaust world of barbarians and mutants living in underground tunnels, teaches the community's new Hero how to slay the Daggertooth.

Delany, Samuel R. (1966, 1973). Babel-17. Ace Books: New York.
Linguist and poet Rydra Wong tries to find a way to understand the mysterious Invaders by deciphering their language, which reveals their disturbing, alien way of thinking.

Elgin, Suzette Haden. (1970). The Communipaths. Ace Books: New York.
Young Tessa tells the story of fellow commune member Anne-Charlotte, who is trying to keep her telepathic baby from Tri-Galactic Federation agents, Tzana Kai and Coyote Jones, who have been assigned to take it away to be trained as a link in the Federation's interplanetary communications web.

Elgin, Suzette Hayden. (1984). Native Tongue. Women's Press: London.
Critique of patriarchal society.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Emshwiller, Carol. (1990). Carmen Dog. Mercury House: San Fransisco.
Critique of patriarchal society.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Felice, Cynthia. (1986). Double Nocturne. Publisher details are unknown.
Story about reverse gender discrimination.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Gearheart, Sally M. (1979). The Wanderground: stories of the hill women. Women's Press: London.
Feminist utopian tale.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Gotlieb, Phyllis. (1964). Sunburst. Fawcett Publications: Greenwich, Connecticut.
Young Shandy Johnson is one of the mutant children with psychic powers born after the explosion of a nuclear power station that the government is still concealing from the public at large by maintaining martial law.

Goulart, Ron. (1975-76). "Vampirella" Series: Bloodstalk, On Alien Wings, Deadwalk, Blood Wedding, Deathgame. Warner Books: New York.
Last surviving member of a race of near-human aliens, brought here from her native planet Drakulon by a secret Earth space probe, Vampirella must drink blood to survive.

Harness, Charles L. (1969). The Rose. Berkley Publishing Corporation: New York.
Composer and psychiatrist Anna van Tuyl becomes involved in a deadly confrontation between science and art.

Heinlein, R.A. (c1963). Podkayne of Mars. Putnam Books: New York.
Cited in Herald, D.T. (1995). pp.229-230.

Henderson, Z. (1961-). The People. Publisher details are unknown.
Story about reformed realism through utopian gender relations.

Holland, Cecilia. (1976). Floating Worlds. Alfred A. Knopf: New York.
Anarchist Paula Mendoza becomes a powerful figure in negotiations among the various political functions in the solar system.

Hughes, M. (1984). The Keeper of the Isis Light. Publisher unknown.
A story about prejudices from physical differences, the ethics of surgery and medical technology, and the definition of identity. A sixteen-year-old orphaned girl, raised by a robot, must aid a ship of settlers arriving on her planet.
Cited in Donawerth, J. (1990).

Irwin, Ines H. (1914). Angel Island. Publisher details are unknown, possibly Grosset & Dunlap: New York.
Feminist utopian story of alien women held captive on a deserted island.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Kagan, Janet. (1988). Hellspark. Publisher details are unknown, possibly Chivers Press: Path.
Combination of feminist science-fiction story with an adventure story.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Leiber, Fritz. (1961, 1975). The Big Time. Ace Books: New York.
Party girl Greta Forzane ministers to combatants from the Change War in a rest station outside of time.

Le Guin, U.K. (1973). The Left Hand of Darkness. Panther: St. Albans.
Feminist utopian tale.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Le Guin, Ursula K. (1974). The Dispossessed. Grafton Books: New York.
Feminist utopian tale.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Le Guin, U.K. (c1978, 1983). The Eye of the Heron. Harper & Row: New York.
Discusses questions about world revolutions, where teenaged girl deserts her family to lead the young people of her adopted town into the wilderness and away from danger.
Cited in Donawerth, J. (1990).

Lightner, Alice M. (1969). The Day of the Drones. W.W. Norton: New York.
Student historian Amhara takes part in the first expedition from the black civilisation of Africa to a Europe which was devastated by nuclear war 500 years before.

Maxwell, Ann. (1975). Change. Popular Library: New York.
Selena Christian, one of the exiled Paranormals, goes to the planet Change, to learn the secrets of psychic power from its grotesque inhabitants.

McCaffrey, Anne. (1976). The Ship Who Sang. Ballantine Books: New York.
Crippled Helva, whose brain has been transplanted as the control centre of a spaceship, interacts with her various passengers.

McIntyre, Vonda N. (1976). The Exile Waiting. Fawcett Publications: Connecticut.
Young Mischa uses her mutant psychic powers to try to convince an alien spaceship captain to help her escape the repressive society of the only city on Earth that has survived a nuclear war.

McIntyre, Vonda N. (1988). Barbary. Houghton Mifflin: Boston.
About the adolescent feelings of being an outsider. It holds up intelligence, empathy and communication as the means of resolving their problems, over aggression and rebellion.
Cited in Donawerth, J. (1990).

Merril, J. (1948). That Only A Mother. Publisher details are unknown.
Explores the effects of atomic weapons on the lives of women.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Merril, J. (1950). The Shadow on the Hearth. Publisher details are unknown.
A novel about an atomic bombing of New York, exploring explicit racism and a white heroine who is too feminine to take action.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Merwin, Sam. (1951). The House of Many Worlds. Garden City: New York.
Journalist Elspeth Marriner is recruited to join a group of sideways time- travellers who meddle in the affairs of the various parallel worlds in order to guide them toward peace and progress.

Mitchison, Naomi. (1973). Memoirs of a Spacewoman. Berkley Publishing Corporation: 1973.
The problems of communications with various alien beings throughout the galaxy.

Moore, C.L. (1944). No Woman Born. Publisher details are unknown.
Update of the Frankenstein myth, making the monster a woman.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Neeper, C. (1975). A Place Beyond Man. Charles Scriber's Sons: New York.
Microbiologist, her daughter, and a hermit make first contact with two alien races who have finally decided to intervene in affairs on Earth in order to keep the human race from destroying itself.

Neville, K. (1970). Bettyann. Tower Publications: New York.
Young adoptee Bettyann Seldon discovers that she is not really human when beings from the stars come to take her "home."

Norton, Andre. (1963). Witch World. Publisher details are unknown.
One of the first science-fiction stories to feature an empathic female hero.

Park, Severna. (1992). Speaking Dreams. Publisher details are unknown, possibly Avon: New York.
Combination of lesbian/feminist science-fiction story with an adventure story.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Piercy, Marge. (1976). Woman on the Edge of Time. Knopf: New York.
Feminist utopian tale.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Piserchia, Doris. (1975). Star Rider. Bantam Books: New York.
Young Jade and her mount teleport from planet to planet in the disorganised galaxy of the far future.

Russ, Joanna. (1972). When It Changed. Publisher details are unknown, possibly Bantam Books: New York.
Feminist utopian tale.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Russ, Joanna. (1975). The Female Man. Bantam Books: New York.
Women from several different parallel worlds discuss their experiences, including both a law-enforcer from a future Earth where all men died off long ago in a plague and a trained killer from an Earth where men and women have split into separate, warring factions.

Sargent, P. (c1986). The Shore of Women. Chatto & Windus: London.
Cited in Herald, D.T. (1995). pp.229-230.

Schmitz, J.H. (1964). Telzey Series. Publisher details not listed in reference.
Cited in Herald, D.T. (1995). pp.229-230.

Scott, Melissa. (1987). The Kindly Ones. Publisher details are unknown, possibly Baen Publishing: New York.
Combination of feminist science-fiction story with an adventure story.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Slonczewski, J. (1986). A Door into Ocean. Arbor House: New York.
Utopian tale.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Tepper, Sheri, S. (c1988). The Gate to Women's Country. The Bantam Press: London.
Cited in Herald, D.T. (1995). pp.229-230.

Tiptree, Jnr., James (1973). The Women Men Don't See. Publisher details are unknown, possibly Eyre Methuen: New York.
Feminist science-fiction tale that critiques dytopian patriarchies.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Tiptree, Jnr., James (1978). Up the Walls of the World. Publisher details are unknown, possibly Eyre Methuen: New York.
Feminist utopian tale.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

Van Scyoc, Sydney J. (1975). Starmother. G.P. Putnam's Sons: New York.
Interstellar peace corps cadet Jahna Swiss, helping to care for mutant children on the radioactive planet Nelding, comes to symbolise a new way of life for the colonists.

White, Jane. (1975). Comet. Harper and Row: New York.
Ruth and her companions try to survive in a future where energy scarcity has caused our technological society to collapse.

Wren, M.K. (1990). A Gift upon the Shore. Ballantine Books: New York.
Cited in Herald, D.T. (1995). pp.229-230.

Wyndham, John. (1969). Trouble with Lichen. Ballantine Books: New York.
Biochemist Diana Brackley discovers that an anti-aging drug can be made from a rare species of Chinese lichen, but fears that it will be suppressed by the government when it is found that the available quantity is insufficient to treat more than a few people.

Zoline, P. (1967). The Heat Death of the Universe. Publisher details are unknown, possibly Women's Press: London.
Feminist science-fiction tale that critiques dytopian patriarchies.
Cited by J. Donawerth in Davidson & Wagner-Martin, 1995: 780-781.

There are also a number of other women writers of science fiction. They include Hilary Bailey, Margot Bennett, Christine Brooke-Rose, Doris P. Buck, Hortense Calisher, Angela Carter, Suzy McKee Charmas, Midred Clingerman, Susan Cooper, Juanita Coulson, Cristabel, Miriam Allen DeFord, Sonya Dorman, Madelaine Duke, Sylvia Engdahl, Gertrude Friedberg, Jane Gaskell, Phyllis Gotlier, Shirley Jackson, Marie Jakober, Katherine Jurtz, Jane Lane, Tanith Lee, Doris Lessing, Rose McAulay, Katherine MacLean, Naomi Mitchison, Doris Piserchia, Margaret St. Clair, Josephine Saxton, Ella Scrymsour, Evelyn E. Smith, Emma Tennant, Lisa Tuttle, Phyllis Wadsworth, and Kate Wilhelm (cited in Nicholls, 1979).

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NB: English Online has published the introduction only. If you would like to purchase the entire report, please email the author: cdgoodyear@hotmail.com