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POLL RESULTS: Inappropriate Young Adult Fiction?

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

Have you ever read young adult fiction containing subject matter inappropriate for young adults?


(89 total votes)

I’m not a statistician (nor do I play one on TV) but these answers look to be almost even, no?

A couple of comments this week:

“And I’ve even read adult SF as a young adult that was ‘inappropriate’. Robert Silverberg, Harlan Ellison, and many more. My parent’s were aware and had no problems. I seem to have grown up all right, other than a need to read SF Signal way too many times a day (more posts, dang it!). Parent’s need to be aware of what their kids are watching, reading, texting, etc. Don’t blame the author for ‘inappropriate material’ if you don’t take on the responsibility of getting involved with the upbringing of your offspring!” – Fred Kiesche

“I do not believe that there is such a thing as subject matter inappropriate for young adults.” – General X

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about your favorit Enterprise Captain!

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

4 Comments on POLL RESULTS: Inappropriate Young Adult Fiction?

  1. “I do not believe that there is such a thing as subject matter inappropriate for young adults.” – General X
    Ah. Weasel words. No, there probably isn’t “subject matter” out there that’s inappropriate for young adults. However, there are ways of presenting this subject matter that really are inappropriate. Glorification of various negative aspects of life and behavior, for example.

  2. General X // March 24, 2008 at 6:34 am //

    A lion and a bear are walking in the forest. The lion suddenly begins choking. He points his paw to his back, mimicking for the bear to help him. The bear slaps the lion on the back. The thing that was choking the lion flies away into distance, and the lion’s carcass strikes the ground, his back broken.
    Children are smarter than many give them credit for. Growing up means learning how to make decisions and determinations.
    If you sugarcoat the books, if you tone them down and censure them you are really doing them a bear favor.

  3. Tarl Cabot // March 24, 2008 at 1:30 pm //

    When I was young, I read softcore porn packaged as planetary adventures, written by John Norman, including such books as SLAVE GIRL OF GOR. I was too young for the material, and it seriously warped my sexual and social development. I was at an impressionable age, and these books made a deep impression which might never be erased.
    I read upward of ten books a week. There is no way my parents or anyone else could have detected much less supervised this reading material hidden among all the other SF&F littering my room, or kept in my locker at school.
    The experience was not education, but the opposite. It did not prepare me for adult activities like dating and courting, to say the least. It did not instill in me a healthy attitude toward women.
    General X merely pretends that children are the same as adults. They are not. He tells you a smug little Aesop fable about the dangers of protecting children. I tell you a real story about a real child who was harmed by exposure to a real book; and the modern YA lines have material as disturbing and graphic as this, or more graphic. Ideas have consequences, including bad ideas.
    Children have less experience than adults, and certain ideas and images — such as the idea that women are naturally submissive — can have profound, and profoundly disturbing, effects on a mind too young to develop the vomit reflex.

  4. General X // March 24, 2008 at 5:20 pm //

    When I was young I was shot at and forced away from my home. I saw dead bodies and mushroom clouds (large conventional bombs make them too).
    I can bet you that no one stooped to ask if it was appropriate for me to go through this, they were too busy shooting.
    My point is that in real life there is nothing that real children can not come in contact. No one asks if a child or a young adult is ready or capable of living through these things, they are just put through them and they live and come to terms with it, or they don’t. Literature, among other things, is a wonderful vehicle for young adults and children to put things into perspective, to grasp and understand and come to terms with a chaotic and dangerous world.
    There are authors who will do anything to sell a book, and well sex, even soft core sells. Is soft porn acceptable a subject for YA.
    The answer is yes. We live in a world where nipples are almost as prevalent as faces. Heck, hygienic products more often than not feature a fully naked woman. Sex, in all its many forms is very accessible to this demographic. By the time they are old to surf, which is very young indeed I would venture that children are fully familiar with sex. To exclude it, to cordon it off and make it a taboo is not only foolish but also irresponsible and hypocritical.
    The idea that a child might from reading YA develop dangerous ideas and dangerous preconceptions is plain stupid. It reeks of the modern litigiousness of our society. I am sure that someone will soon enough file a suit against Tor for having weird sexual kinks.
    First, you are just plainly not giving enough credit to the person. Children are far smarter than many give them credit for. When I was a child I believed that the world was black and white for a long time, and then suddenly there was the coming of color. I believed that giant mechanical birds were coming to kill us all and refused to exit the house for a full week. I used to believe that, and many other things. I do not do so now (except for the bird thing, that is real, look out). I grew out of it, grew to know better.
    Second, it is the primary responsibility of the parent to raise a child and to open a dialogue. Books are a supplement. This way the parent can explain that, yes there are people out there who have other opinions.
    In conclusion, it is hypocritical and awfully egotistic to think that any one or any one group knows what is and what is not appropriate for any other group and that includes children. A smart person once said that there is no such thing as dangerous knowledge. It is what you do with it and how you do it that makes all the difference. I for one say we let the kids decide. They are more than capable.

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