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Science Fiction: Joe Breslin on the Beauty and Value of Strange Worlds

Click here to preorder “Other Minds: 13 Tales of Wonder and Sorrow”

In this week’s episode, we discuss science fiction with Mr. Joe Breslin, fifth grade teacher and soon-to-be published author of Other Minds: 13 Tales of Wonder and Sorrow. Surveying the wide umbrella of literature and film termed “sci-fi,” Mr. Breslin helps us understand what makes this genre of literature valuable, interesting, and beautiful.

As Mr. Breslin explains, science fiction done well offers a celebration of the human person, showing us in often strange ways what is possible for us as thinking beings. Moreover, by removing us from the humdrum of our ordinary lives and instilling a sense of awe as we experience another world, science fiction can provide new insights into old problems, helping us rediscover the wonder of our own everyday lives. And this is often much needed–for although our world may never be lacking in wonders, we may at times find our weary selves lacking in the wonder to see it.


  • 1:40 What is science fiction?
    • 2:20 Science fiction vs. fantasy
    • 4:30 Kinds of science fiction
      • Space opera
      • Hard sci-fi
      • Dystopia
      • Post-apocalyptic
      • Steampunk
      • Military
      • Horror
      • Classic
  • 11:30 Insights from different genres
  • 13:03 Personal favorites of Mr. Breslin
  • 16:10 Why is science fiction valuable?
    • 17:37 Perception vs. reality
    • 18:27 Anthropology through another lens
    • 19:19 Science fiction as a humanistic kind of literature
  • 22:13 Challenges of writing science fiction
  • 28:45 Mr. Breslin’s own writing
    • 30:30 A common thread: strange encounters
    • 32:32 Self-publishing
    • 34:35 Good fiction infused with Faith
  • 38:38 Why read science fiction?
    • 40:25 A caveat: the danger of focusing on man under a single aspect
    • 42:43 Literature: utility and enjoyment
  • 44:50 Learn more about Mr. Breslin’s work

Also on The Forum

Modern Literature: On Curating the Contemporary with Michael Ortiz

Guiding Our Boys through Modern Literature with Joe Breslin and Lionel Yaceczko

Exploring and Expressing the Human Condition through Literature with Michael Ortiz

Forum Reviews

Additional Resources 

Joey Breslin Writes, Mr. Breslin’s writing website

About the Guest

Joe Breslin

Fifth Grade Homeroom

The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.

-Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Joe Breslin teaches writing, and other homeroom subjects at the Heights School. In 2022, he published Other Minds: 13 Tales of Wonder and Sorrow. His next collection of speculative fiction, Hearts Uncanny, will be released late summer of 2024. Samples of his fiction and his essays can be found at

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