It’s Banned Book Week, in case you didn’t know, and the American Library Association invites us all to read a banned book. Probably everyone knows that a host of classics by writes like Mark Twain have been banned or challenged in the past, but here are some banned sci-fi/fantasy titles from the ALA’s banned books resources:
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier / Alan Moore.
(Challenged as sexually explict at Jessamine County Public Library in Nicolasville, Ky. (2009) The graphic novel eventually got two employees fired for breaching library policies, the library director was threatened with physical harm.)
The Lord of the Rings / JRR Tolkien.
(Burned in Alamagordo, NM (2001) outside Christ Community Church along with other Tolkien novels as satanic.)
A Clockwork Orange / Anthony Burgess.
(1973: a book seller in Orem, UT was arrested to selling the novel. Removed from Aurora, CO high school (1976) due to “objectionable” language and from high school classrooms in Westport, MA (1977) because of “objectionable” language. Removed from two Anniston, AL High school libraries (1982), but later reinstated on a restricted basis.
Animal Farm / George Orwell.
Challenged or banned since the 1960s by anti-communists (!) in the U.S., by the communist USSR, and most recently in the United Arab Emirates.
Brave New World / Aldous Huxley.
Banned in Ireland in 1932, and consistently challenged for use in schools up to the present due to drugs ands sex.
The Day After Tomorrow / Robert A. Heinlein.
2008: Removed from a school library in Beardstown, Ill. for reasons not clearly stated.
Grendel / John C. Gardner.
Challenged in 2008 in the Sherwood, Oreg., School District because of violence.
The Golden Compass / Phillip Pullman.
Challenged throughout the 2000’s for anti-religious sentiment.
Almost everything written by Kurt Vonnegut and Stephen King.
A great many young adult and children’s books are banned or challenged every year, and I am not familiar enough with that literature to single out the fantasty/sci-fi titles and series. But a few I can recognize are:
The Witches / Roald Dahl.
Harry Potter (series) / J.K. Rowling.
A Wrinkle in Time / Madeline L’Engle.
Goosbumps (series) / R.L. Stine.
Various titles by Jonathan Stroud.
(All challenged because of occult themes.)
I suppose the only reason more fantasy and science fiction is not challenged in public libraries and school libraries is that it is so obscure, and more importantly because so little of it is recognized as great literature to begin with and so does not make it onto school reading lists!
Here are a couple more lists of banned sci-fi I just found.