So Your Kids Want to Read Science Fiction, Part 4

A few weeks ago we looked at a series of nine classic books, series, and authors that could be great starting points for new, young science fiction readers. As promised, here is a semi-regular return to this topic, with three new bits of literature worth suggesting to new science fiction readers, as well as those who haven’t yet ventured into the SF-nal light.

10) Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game

Ender's Game

Orson Scott Card’s classic novel is a famous text of science fiction, and one of the best works to come out of SF in the last 50 years. However, it is also very accessible to new and young readers. The latest edition, published in the young adult paperback size, rather than traditional mass market, also seems to have been PG-ified to an extent (one scene of a student’s displeasure over being forced to use a catheter, for example, is completely stripped from the text), which might be a positive for parents at the same time as being a negative for censorship haters world wide, although that isn’t a discussion for here. The key, simply, is that Ender’s Game is a wonderful, powerful science fiction novel featuring young characters that, at a much younger age when I first read it, this writer found very relatable and understandable. Highly recommended.

11) Jules Verne

Jules Verne

Jules Verne

The “Father of Science Fiction” and inspiration to steampunk fans everywhere, is also one of the most engaging, exciting writers of science fiction adventure the world has ever seen. Verne’s largest weakness, the occasional need to use overly detailed description, to the extent of pages of verbiage moving the plot ahead at a nearly negative rate, is something that young readers will easily blow past, as they are wrapped up in Verne’s large scale, inescapably involving stories. Verne provides both the perfect historical grounding of the field that new readers will unconsciously find useful, but a strong root system to branch out into all that is great about science fiction. Verne is a gateway into the currently popular steampunk subgenre. Most importantly, however, is that Verne infuses his science fiction adventures with the hope in the future of mankind and humanity’s ability to power through the challenges coming that so much modern SF is missing.

12) Stories From the Golden Age Series

Golden Age

Golden Age

This selection will likely be unnecessarily controversial. Galaxy Press, devoted to the fiction work of L. Ron Hubbard, has released a series of short books collection the novellas and short stories written by Hubbard for the pulp magazines. Stories From the Golden Age features science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers, mysteries, and a few other eclectic pieces, along with the original magazine illustrations. These stories occasionally feel like the early work of an author, but for the most part are a lot of fun, especially for younger readers. Collections such as The Dangerous Dimension and Greed feature fun, short, fast-paced stories that will engage young readers well. Regardless of how you feel about Hubbard’s later shift to Dianetics and Scientology, these early stories will be accessible and engaging for readers of all ages.

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