Once Upon an If Competition

Novum: (Darko Suvin, 1979)

‘…that element which is new and distinguishes the imagined world from our own.’ Once Upon an If, page 7.

It can be science or magic that brings the novum about.

Science: ‘What if human beings develop a technology that enables them to read each other’s thoughts?’

Magic: What if there is a magic hat (or hats) that enables people to read each other’s thoughts?

Write a Twitter What if…? Novum (140 characters or less) to create a bank of nova for teachers and children so that they can use them for writing exercises (children) or stories for thinking (teachers). The nova that can be used will be collected together and made available for free on The Philosophy Foundation website. The best one will win a copy of Once Upon an If.

Use #OnceUponanIf  to enter your novum into the Bloomsbury competition, or post it here. Competition closes on launch day: Friday 31st January.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Once Upon an If Competition

  1. What if we never asked what if?

  2. What if there was a magic pill that made animals talk?

  3. Amy

    What if no one had the ability to lie?

  4. What if all adults understood children through the hearts and minds of holistic educators? (Think of Maria Montessori and/or Rudolph Steiner.)

  5. The winning entry of the OnceUponanIf novum competition is… Amy’s (from the Blog): ‘What if no one had the ability to lie?’ I liked this one because it inspired all sorts of variations and possibilities for stories and scenarios in the classroom that seemed to shoot off in different directions. So, ‘What if you (and only you) suddenly lost the ability to lie?’ ‘What if you wouldn’t lie but only when you voluntarily wore a magic ring?’ ‘What if, one day, suddenly, no one could lie?’ or ‘What if you were the only person who could lie?’ and I could imagine enjoying constructing scenarios for each of these questions to be tested against. I also liked its simplicity and its freedom of a rhetorical ring that some of the other entries had, inviting exploration rather than moralisation or wishful thinking. There were some other really good ones such as (runners up) Rob Torrington’s ‘What if you knew all the consequences of each of your actions?’ and Christina Majoinen’s ‘What if every time you imagined something it became real?’ and I have to mention one that got two mentions from Richard Baron and Rob Torrington: ‘What if we never asked what if?’ See all the entries at #OnceUponanIf. Thank you to all the entrants who took part. A copy of Once Upon an If will be making its way to Amy very soon.

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