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Why are there no sci-fi series for young adults?

Discussion in 'Books' started by Mojo, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. Mojo

    Mojo Rocket Ranger

    Jul 29, 2008
    In the fantasy realm, you have Harry Potter and the Narnia series. In horror, you have Goosebumps. Mystery has The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Yet science-fiction doesn't have an equivalent "entry" program for young readers. There are individual works that are brilliant -- A Wrinkle In Time and some of Ray Bradbury's shorts -- but I can't think of one children's series that could be legitimately thought of as science-fiction.

    Why is that?
  2. Kevin

    Kevin Code Monkey Staff Abductee

    Mar 20, 2004
    HHHhhmm.... I was reading Asimov, Clarke, & Bradbury in elementary school but I don't recall a "series" of books either that were aimed specifically at kids.

    There has to be something out there...

    Tim, Skwirl... you guys have kids -- any series you can think of?
  3. Tim

    Tim Creative Writer

    Jan 16, 2005
    There are loads of series out there, but I fear the HP situation is probably guiding more fantasy than scifi ones to the top of the pile. The rest need more advertising space obviously.

    No definitive ones I can think of I'm afraid.
  4. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Dec 6, 2004
    Gulf Coast
  5. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Dec 6, 2004
    Gulf Coast
    In case you don't click the link...

    Hitchhiker's Guide
    to the Galaxy
    Douglas Adams
    *The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
    The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980)
    Life, the Universe and Everything (1982)
    So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish (1984)
    Mostly Harmless (1992)
    Isaac Asimov (et al)

    Prelude to Foundation (1988)
    Foundation's Fear (1997) by Gregory Benford
    Foundation and Chaos (1998) by Greg Bear
    Foundation's Triumph (1999) by David Brin
    Forward the Foundation (1991)
    Foundation (1951)
    *Foundation and Empire (1952)
    *Second Foundation (1953)
    *Foundation's Edge (1982)
    Foundation and Earth (1986)

    The Culture
    Iain M Banks
    Consider Phlebas (1987)
    *The Player of Games (1988)
    [C] The State of the Art (1989)
    *Use of Weapons (1990)
    Excession (1996)
    Inversions (1998)
    Look to Windward (2000)

    Cities in Flight
    James Blish
    They Shall Have Stars (1957)
    A Life for the Stars (1962)
    *Earthman Come Home (1955)
    A Clash of Cymbals (1959)

    Uplift Series
    David Brin
    Sundiver (1980)
    *Startide Rising (1983)
    *The Uplift War (1987)
    Brightness Reef (1995)
    Infinity's Shore (1996)
    Heaven's Reach (1998)

    Vorkosigan Saga
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    Falling Free (1988)
    Shards of Honor (1986)
    *Barrayar (1991)
    The Warrior's Apprentice (1986)
    The Vor Game (1990)
    Cetaganda (1995)
    Ethan of Athos (1986)
    [C] Borders of Infinity (1989)
    Brothers in Arms (1989)
    Mirror Dance (1994)
    *Memory (1996)
    Komarr (1998)
    *A Civil Campaign (2000)
    Diplomatic Immunity (2002)

    Barsoom Series
    Edgar Rice Burroughs
    *A Princess of Mars (1912)
    The Gods of Mars (1914)
    The Warlord of Mars (1918)
    Thuvia, Maid of Mars (1920)
    The Chessmen of Mars (1922)
    The Master Mind of Mars (1928)
    A Fighting Man of Mars (1931)
    Swords of Mars (1936)
    Synthetic Men of Mars (1940)
    John Carter and the Giants of Mars (1940)
    Skeleton Men of Jupiter (1942)
    Llana of Gathol (1948)

    Octavia Butler
    *Dawn (1987)
    Adulthood Rites (1988)
    Imago (1989)

    Parable Series
    Octavia Butler
    *Parable of the Sower (1993)
    Parable of the Talents (1998)
    Parable of the Trickster (not yet published)

    The Ender Saga
    Orson Scott Card
    *Ender's Game (1985)
    *Speaker for the Dead (1986)
    Xenocide (1991)
    Children of the Mind (1996)
    [C] First Meetings (2002)

    The Shadow Series
    Orson Scott Card
    *Ender's Shadow (1999)
    Shadow of the Hegemon (2001)
    Shadow Puppets (2002)
    Shadow of the Giant (2005)

    The Tripods
    John Christopher
    When the Tripods Came (1988)
    *The White Mountains (1967)
    The City of Gold and Lead (1967)
    The Pool of Fire (1968)

    Rama Series
    Arthur C Clarke (& Gentry Lee)
    *Rendezvous with Rama (1973)
    Rama II (1989) [with Gentry Lee]
    The Garden of Rama (1991) [with Gentry Lee]
    Rama Revealed (1993) [with Gentry Lee]

    Night's Dawn Trilogy
    Peter F Hamilton
    *The Reality Dysfunction (1996)
    The Neutronium Alchemist (1997)
    The Naked God (1999)

    Dune (Original Series)
    Frank Herbert
    *Dune (1965)
    Dune Messiah (1970)
    Children of Dune (1976)
    God Emperor of Dune (1981)
    Heretics of Dune (1984)
    Chapterhouse: Dune (1985)

    The Space Trilogy
    C S Lewis
    *Out of the Silent Planet (1938)
    Perelandra (1943)
    That Hideous Strength (1946)

    The Kovacs Series
    Richard Morgan
    *Altered Carbon (2002)
    Broken Angels (2003)
    Woken Furies (2005)

    The Heechee Saga
    Frederik Pohl
    *Gateway (1976)
    Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (1980)
    Heechee Rendezvous (1985)
    Annals of the Heechee (1987)
    The Gateway Trip (1990)
    The Boy Who Would Live Forever (2004)

    Revelation Space
    Alastair Reynolds
    *Revelation Space (2000)
    Chasm City (2001)
    Redemption Ark (2002)
    Absolution Gap (2003)
    [C] Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days (2003)

    Mars Trilogy
    Kim Stanley Robinson
    *Red Mars (1992)
    Green Mars (1993)
    Blue Mars (1996)
    [C] The Martians (1999)

    The Neanderthal Parallax
    Robert J Sawyer
    *Hominids (2002)
    Humans (2003)
    Hybrids (2003)

    Hyperion Cantos
    Dan Simmons
    *Hyperion (1989)
    The Fall of Hyperion (1990)
    Endymion (1996)
    The Rise of Endymion (1997)

    Lensman Series
    E E 'Doc' Smith
    Triplanetary (1948)
    First Lensman (1950)
    Galactic Patrol (1950)
    *Gray Lensman (1951)
    Second-Stage Lensmen (1953)
    Children of the Lens (1954)

    Deep Sequence
    Vernor Vinge
    A Deepness in the Sky (1999)
    *A Fire Upon the Deep (1992)

    Honor Harrington
    David Weber
    *On Basilisk Station (1993)
    The Honor of the Queen (1993)
    The Short Victorious War (1994)
    Field of Dishonor (1994)
    Flag in Exile (1995)
    Honor Among Enemies (1996)
    In Enemy Hands (1997)
    Echoes of Honor (1998)
    Ashes of Victory (2000)
    War of Honor (2002)
    At All Costs (2005)

    Book of the New Sun
    Gene Wolfe
    *The Shadow of the Torturer (1980)
    The Claw of the Conciliator (1981)
    The Sword of the Lictor (1982)
    The Citadel of the Autarch (1983
  6. Tim

    Tim Creative Writer

    Jan 16, 2005
    Isn't there a kids version of the Star Wars series? I seem to remember now getting my kids a comic series that had a book on the front of each one. Bought the job lot on ebay. Unsure if they read them though.
  7. Mojo

    Mojo Rocket Ranger

    Jul 29, 2008
    Yeah, my kids got into Star Wars through the Lego game on XBox, and then we watched the series together. They have read some of the books... but I don't think that it's really popular. And besides... that's a case of the kids liking the game and the movie, and then moving on to the books. In all the other examples, the books came first.

    Sure, there are lots of series out there... maybe even too many series... and some of them are indeed iconic. (The Foundation series was my first "hard" sci-fi read, and I read Dune and Ender's Game when I was a teenager. But these are definitely not children's books, which is my point.
  8. AlexM

    AlexM Captain

    Jul 10, 2008
    Brooklyn NYC
    i didnt know O. Butlers 'Dawn' was part of a larger series. I read like thirty pages of it, i like it.
  9. AlexM

    AlexM Captain

    Jul 10, 2008
    Brooklyn NYC
    not speaking to series, the teen and child aimed works of Gaiman and Barker are great.
    I read 'The Thief of Always' by Clive Barker when I was thirteen and again like 10 years later and as reading it as an adult it lost nothing in depth etc.
    Gaiman just did 'interworld' co-wrote w/ someone else i cant recall, supossed to be good. And stardust(bad film not withstanding)
  10. Mojo

    Mojo Rocket Ranger

    Jul 29, 2008
    I actually quite liked Stardust, although I've heard that it was radically changed from the book version.

    Still, my original question remains -- why isn't there a young adult series for science-fiction that has captured the imagination of kids like the Harry Potter series???
  11. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Dec 6, 2004
    Gulf Coast
    I read the most SciFi as pre and early teen.
    Most of my earlier reading was comic books, Amazing Stories and other scifi monthlies.
    This was back in the 60's and early 70's. Star Trek TOS was on primetime tv as well as Lost in Space.
    I believe they are out there and probably very well known but we as adults don't think of them as scifi for young adults and children. BTW, I know a quite a few people with children in the 8 - 12 yo age that don't read anything let alone Harry Potter. But they know of Harry Potter, Star Trek and Star Wars.
    Give the kids a break - They are smarter than you think and quite capeable of digesting the great scifi sagas that we all enjoyed. If they read anything at all.
  12. Mojo

    Mojo Rocket Ranger

    Jul 29, 2008
    I have two kids, 8 and 9, and they love[/i] the Harry Potter series. They've read some of the Star Wars books, but nothing really grabbed their attention. And they know nothing of Star Trek.

    I'm just thinking of a gateway series. Because my kids love Harry Potter, I could probably easily introduce them to other fantasy novels as they get older. But I can't help but think that sci-fi would be a tougher sell.
  13. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Dec 6, 2004
    Gulf Coast
    It might help if they were interested in science.

    See if you can dig up some Carl Sagan books or something from Michu Kaku.

    If they are not interested in science they probably wn't take to scifi.

    Perhaps you could offer them Saberhagen's Swords series then see if they are interested in the Berserker series.
  14. Mojo

    Mojo Rocket Ranger

    Jul 29, 2008
    They're... interested in science. Not sure how interested they are in space exploration in general.

    (Then again, they didn't have to show an interest in spellcraft and house-elves to enjoy the Harry Potter series...)

    You know what would help? A kid's sci-fi series that had a movie/video game tie in. That's how my kids got interested in Harry Potter, through the XBox games.
  15. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Dec 6, 2004
    Gulf Coast
    Science Fiction Reading List for Grades 2-4

    Calhoun, B. B. On the Right Track*. W. H. Freeman, 1994.
    Coville, Bruce. Space Brat. Pocket, 1993.
    Coville, Bruce. Space Brat 3: The Wrath of Squat. Pocket, 1994.
    Coville, Bruce. The Dinosaur That Followed Me Home. Pocket, 1992.
    Coville, Bruce. How I Survived My Summer Vacation. Pocket, 1991.
    Coville, Bruce. Some of My Best Friends Are Monsters. Pocket, 1991.
    Curtis, Phillip. Invasion of the Brain Sharpeners. Random House, 1981.
    Curtis, Phillip. Invasion of the Comet People*. Random House, 1983.
    Dadey, Debbie and Jones, Marcia Thorton. Aliens Don't Wear Braces. Scholastic, 1993.
    Slobodkin, Louis. Space Ship Under the Apple Tree. Macmillian, 1952.
    Slobodkin, Louis. The Space Ship Returns to the Apple Tree. Macmillian, 1981.

    Just found this in my clipstream. Thought you might find it interesting.
    Go to the clip and click on the source to go to the actual website...never mind... clipped from: www.goldenduck.org

  16. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Dec 6, 2004
    Gulf Coast
    From the golden duck website

    Golden Duck Awards

    The Golden Duck Awards, which are designed to encourage science fiction literature for children, are presented every year at Worldcon. There are several awards given each year, most carrying a small cash stipend. Super-Con-Duck-Tivity, the parent organization that presents the Golden Duck Awards, is a non-profit organization under 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Super-Con-Duck-Tivity holds an annual general interest science fiction convention called DucKon as a fundraiser.
    Picture Book

    Given for books written for very young children.
    Eleanor Cameron Award for Middle Grades

    Given for books written for grades 2 to 6.
    Hal Clement Award for Young Adult

    Given for books written for grades 6 to 12.
    Special Awards

    Given to acknowledge a book, author, illustrator or publisher not fitting in one of the other catagories. This award is created on an as-needed basis.
    Current Award Winners

    Picture Book:

    Mars Needs Moms by Berkeley Breathed.
    Eleanor Cameron Award for Middle Grades:

    Shanghaied to the Moon by Michael J. Daley, and
    Gravity Buster: Journal #2 of a Cardboard Genius by Frank Asch.
    Hal Clement Award for Young Adult:

    Sky Horizon by David Brin (author) and Scott Hampton (illustrator).
    Special Award:

    Stone Arch Books for quality science fiction graphic novels to attract young SF fans.
  17. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Dec 6, 2004
    Gulf Coast
    The following are recommended reading suggestions for children's science fiction.
    Recommended Picture Books

    • It Came From Outer Space by Tony Bradman.
    • Dogs in Space by Nancy Coffelt.
    • Solar System SOS by Arlen Cohn.
    • Here Come The Aliens! by Colin McNaughton.
    • Space Case by James Marshall.
    • Merry Christmas, Space Case by James Marshall.
    • Star Wars: Incredible Cross Sections by David West Reynolds.
    • Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary by David West Reynolds.
    • Alastair and the Alien Invasion by Marilyn Sadler.
    • Alastair's Time Machine by Marilyn Sadler.
    • Alastair in Outer Space by Marilyn Sadler.
    • Commander Toad and the Big Black Hole by Jane Yolan.
    • Commander Toad and the Dis-asteroid by Jane Yolan.
    • Commander Toad and the Intergalactic Spy by Jane Yolan.
    • Commander Toad and the Planet of the Grapes by Jane Yolan.
    • Commander Toad and the Space Pirates by Jane Yolan.
    • Commander Toad in Space by Jane Yolan.
    Recommended Books for Grades 2 - 4

    • On the Right Track by B.B. Calhoun.
    • Space Brat by Bruce Coville.
    • Space Brat 3: The Wrath of Squat by Bruce Coville.
    • The Dinosaur That Followed Me Home by Bruce Coville.
    • How I Survived My Summer Vacation by Bruce Coville.
    • Some of My Best Friends are Monsters by Bruce Coville.
    • Invasion of the Brain Sharpeners by Phillip Curtis.
    • Invasion of the Comet People by Phillip Curtis.
    • Aliens Don't Wear Braces by Debbie Jones and Marcia Thorton.
    • Space Ship Under the Apple Tree by Louis Slobodkin.
    • The Space Ship Returns to the Apple Tree by Louis Slobodkin.
    Recommended Books for Grades 5 - 6

    • Anna to the Infinite Power by Mildred Ames.
    • The Brain on Quartz Mountain by Margaret J. Anderson.
    • Alien (Animorph) by K.A. Applegate.
    • Andalite's Gift (Animorph) by K.A. Applegate.
    • Android (Animorph) by K.A. Applegate.
    • Capture (Animorph) by K.A. Applegate.
    • Encounter (Animorph) by K.A. Applegate.
    • Forgotten (Animorph) by K.A. Applegate.
    • Invasion (Animorph) by K.A. Applegate.
    • Message (Animorph) by K.A. Applegate.
    • Pretender (Animorph) by K.A. Applegate.
    • Secret (Animorph) by K.A. Applegate.
    • Stranger (Animorph) by K.A. Applegate.
    • Visitor (Animorph) by K.A. Applegate.
    • Mutants by Isaac Asimov.
    • Young Mutants by Isaac Asimov & Martin Greenberg, edited by Charles Waugh.
    • The Secret Oceans by Betty Ballantine.
    • The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth.
    • The Computer Nut by Betsy Byars.
    • Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron.
    • Time and Mr. Bass by Eleanor Cameron.
    • Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron.
    • White Mountains by John Christopher.
    • Margaret and the Rats of NIMH by Jane Conly & R-T Leslie.
    • The Deadly Hoax by Scott Corbett.
    • My Teacher Glows in the Dark by Bruce Coville.
    • I Left My Sneakers in Dimension X by Bruce Coville.
    • My Teacher is an Alien by Bruce Coville.
    • My Teacher Fried My Brains by Bruce Coville.
    • Aliens Ate My Homework by Bruce Coville.
    • My Teacher Flunked the Planet by Bruce Coville.
    • Worf's First Adventure by Peter David.
    • Line of Fire by Peter David.
    • Black Suits from Outer Space by Gene DeWeese.
    • The Brave Little Toaster by Thomas M. Disch.
    • The Pet by John Gilden.
    • Jason and the Escape from the Bat Planet by Gery Greer and Bob Ruddick.
    • Burton's Zoom Zoom Va-room Machine by Dorothy Haas.
    • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O'Brien.
    • The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts.
    • Stinker from Space by Pamela Service.
    • Stinker's Return by Pamela Service.
    • Weirdoes of the Universe, Unite! by Pamela Service.
    • The Three-Seated Spaceship by Louis Slobodkin.
    • The Star Ghost by Bruce Strickland.
    • Stowaways by Bruce Strickland.
    • Capture the Flag by John Vornholt.
    Recommended Books for Grades 6 - 10

    • City of Darkness by Ben Bova.
    • Exiled from Earth by Ben Bova.
    • End of Exile by Ben Bova.
    • R is for Rocket by Ray Bradbury.
    • S is for Space by Ray Bradbury.
    • Snows of Jasper by Mary Caraker.
    • Beyond the Burning Lands by John Christopher.
    • The Prince is Waiting by John Christopher.
    • The Sword of the Spirits by John Christopher.
    • The White Mountains by John Christopher.
    • City of Lead and Gold by John Christopher.
    • Pool of Fire by John Christopher.
    • Dolphin Island by Arthur C. Clark.
    • This Place Has No Atmosphere by Paula Danziger.
    • Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene DuBois.
    • Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl.
    • This Star Shall Abide by Sylvia Louise Engdahl.
    • Between Planets by Robert Heinlein.
    • Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert Heinlein.
    • Farmer in the Sky by Robert Heinlein.
    • Have Space Suit -- Will Travel by Robert Heinlein.
    • Red Planet by Robert Heinlein.
    • Rocketship Galileo by Robert Heinlein.
    • The Rolling Stones by Robert Heinlein.
    • Space Cadet by Robert Heinlein.
    • The Star Beast by Robert Heinlein.
    • Starman Jones by Robert Heinlein.
    • Time for Stars by Robert Heinlein.
    • Tunnel in the Sky by Robert Heinlein.
    • Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes.
    • The Crystal Drop by Monica Hughes.
    • The Guardian of Isis by Monica Hughes.
    • The Bell Tree by H.M. Hoover.
    • The Rains of Eridan by H.M. Hoover.
    • The Shepard Moon by H.M. Hoover.
    • But We Are Not of Earth by Jean Karl.
    • Alien Secrets by Klause.
    • Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle.
    • Wind in the Door by Madeline L'Engle.
    • A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeline L'Engle.
    • Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L'Engle.
    • The Giver by Lois Lowrey.
    • Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey.
    • Dragondrums by Anne McCaffrey.
    • Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey.
    • Forerunner by Andre Norton.
    • Moon of Three Rings by Andre Norton.
    • The Zero Stone by Andre Norton.
    • Z for Zachariah by Robert O'Brien.
    • Dead Water Zone by Kenneth Oppel.
    • My Sister Sif by Ruth Park.
    • Experiment in Terror by Bernal C. Payne.
    • Lizard Music by Daniel M. Pinkwater.
    • Space Demons by Gillian Rubinstein.
    • Skymaze by Gillian Rubinstein.
    • Interstellar Pig by William Sleator.
    • House of Stairs by William Sleator.
    • Clone Catcher by Alfed Slote.
    • My Robot Buddy by Alfed Slote.
    • My Trip to Alpha I. by Alfed Slote.
    • C.O.L.A.R.: A Tale of Outer Space by Alfed Slote.
    • Omega Station by Alfed Slote.
    • River Rats by Caroline Stevermer.
    • Sweetwater by Lawrence Yep.
    Recommended Books for Young Adults

    • Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
    • Earthmans Burden by Poul Anderson.
    • Guardians of Time by Poul Anderson.
    • The High Crusade by Poul Anderson.
    • The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov.
    • Nightfall and Other Stories by Isaac Asimov.
    • Foundation by Isaac Asimov.
    • Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov.
    • Foundation's Edge by Isaac Asimov.
    • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.
    • Pride of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh.
    • Red Sands of Mars by Arthur C. Clark.
    • Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement.
    • Dune by Frank Herbert.
    • The Lensman Series by E.E. Smith.
    • The Skylark Series by E.E. Smith.
    • Loch Ness Monster by Sheila Williams.
    • Slan by A.E. Van Vogt.
    • The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells.
    • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.
    • The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.
    • Encounter Near Venus by Leonard Wibberly.
    • The Legion of Space by Jack Williamson.
    • The Legion of Time by Jack Williamson.
    • The Moon Children by Jack Williamson.
  18. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Dec 6, 2004
    Gulf Coast
    Space Art in children's books 50's & 60's

    Dreams of Space

    "It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow" Robert Goddard, 1927. ​
    "The younger generation of rocket engineers is just beginning. They are of the new generation to which space travel is not going to be a dream of the future but an everyday job with everyday worries in which they will be engaged" Willy Ley, 1951.​
    "The staircase leading to space is built of books" John Glenn, 1963.​
    "The visions we offer our children shape the future. It matters what those visions are. Often they become self-fulfilling prophecies. Dreams are maps" Carl Sagan, 1994.​
    "Soon there will be no one who remembers when spaceflight was still a dream, the reverie of reclusive boys and the vision of a handful of men" Wyn Wachhorst, 1995.​

    You will go to the Moon

    With the discoveries by Robert Goddard and Hermann Oberth of liquid-fueled rockets in the 1930's and the use of V-2 rockets in the 1940's, rocket travel went from science fiction to science fact in the public's mind. In post-World War II America anything seemed possible, even going to the Moon! There appeared in 1949, a book The Conquest of Space , which led to a new trend in children's books. These books outlined the future the children of the "baby boom" would grow up in, the world of space (example). The illustrations in these books show facts (as they were known) mixed in with the fantasy of space flight and led many of the readers of these books to "dream of space".

    IMAGINATION 1883-1948
    Before the 1950's there were dreams but much more scattered and certainly only thought by a few people as anything but science fiction. Here are a few selections from these earlier adult and childrens' book illustrations.

    Go to 1949-1953

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