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Old 06-30-2002, 06:02 PM
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Juvenile Science Fiction


This isn't a criticism of current fantasy and sf. I am looking for contemporary juvenile science fiction. I grew up with Asimov's Lucky Star series, and the Heinlein books geared for young adults were wonderful. What new stuff is out there written for the under 18 set?
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Old 06-30-2002, 07:35 PM
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There's the Asimovs' (Isaac and Janet's) series about Norby the mixed-up robot, which are reasonably good (though I never got excited about them). Some of Diana Wynne Jones' stuff might be described as SF if you stretch a bit.

On second thought, I guess neither of these are really "new."
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Old 06-30-2002, 08:08 PM
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There were the Jupiter Novels from Tor books in the mid to late 90s. They were written by people like Jerry Pournelle and Charles Sheffield in the same style as Heinlein's juveniles. A couple of titles are The Billion Dollar Boy by Sheffield and Higher Education by Sheffield and Pournelle. Pretty good stuff.
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Old 06-30-2002, 08:56 PM
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There's an absoultely wonderful three part series by David Gerrold. Jumping off the Planet, Bouncing off the Moon and (something...Climbing?) to the Stars.

Utterly fantastic, the best damned Heinlein Juvies I've ever read that he didn't write (in terms of quality).

The Tor books by Pournelle and Sheffield were nice tries, but just didn't click with me. They were trying too hard, IMO. The Gerrold hits everything Heinlein did right, and improves on a few things Heinlein couldn't do in his day (there's a very healthy gay relationship that's dealt with in a manner absolutely appropriate to a juvie.)

I can't recommend 'em enough. My only caveat is that all the characters start out as assholes. MAJOR assholes. I'm gonna spoil one tiny bit when I say that the whole point of the series is to get 'em to grow up and stop being so annoying.

Fenris
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Old 06-30-2002, 09:13 PM
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Thanks, Fenris. Believe it or not, at about the same time you posted this, a guy by the name of Alex over on the Harlan Ellison board gave me the exact same series to look into, for pretty much the same reasons. I wil definitely put them on my A list.
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Old 06-30-2002, 10:40 PM
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I started reading the Animorphs books to my kids, at bedtime. Soon got to be our favorite time of day, and I could even use it as motivation:"Hey, if we get ready for bed early, we can read a couple of chapters."

I was surprised by how much Science Fiction was in the series (more Fic than Sci), and surprised that my kids weren't grossed out by aliens "spreading their sluglike bodies into the crevices of the brain" to take someone over.
Kids and I also learned a lot about animals, environment, politics, tactics, etc.

Anyhow, we got most of the books read, at which point I kept going and finished the series. Yeah, hooked by my kids' books.

My kids still love'em -- son (10) has picked them up again, skipping ahead to the last two (fun seeing how the characters end up), and his sister (13) is catching up on ones she missed before she reads the end.

Anyhow, good SciFi, solid premises, lots of action, and great (believable and consistent) characters.



[but what did I read when I was my son's age? Nothing but Grown-up SciFi -- mostly Bradbury and Asimov]
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Old 07-01-2002, 12:28 AM
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Althought they're not marketed as juveniles, both Jumper and Wildside by Steven Gould are books that teenagers will probably enjoy.
Jumper in particular is reminiscent of a Heinlein juvenile - the protagonsit is an abused teenager who discovers one day that he can teleport. The book does contain mention of premarital sex, though (although it's not graphic), so it's probably not suited for the preteen crowd.
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Old 07-01-2002, 01:46 AM
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I've always been partial to John Christopher's Tripods Trilogy myself. The books (The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, and The Pool of Fire) were written in the 1960s, but I've seen recent printings as well.

And they're not really "Science Fiction," but if you can find any copies of Bertrand R. Brinley's The Mad Scientists' Club or it's sequels, you're in for a treat. I hear the (late) author's son is trying to get them published again.

Great books, all. I'd keep my copies in my safe, If I had the room.


Ranchoth
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Old 07-01-2002, 04:42 AM
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His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. It's really one big book usually published as a trilogy, like LotR. It's not SF but fantasy, and it's one of the most thought-provoking, engaging books I've ever read.
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Old 07-01-2002, 05:39 AM
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When I was a youngster I read and loved the 6 part Amtrak Wars by Patrick Tilley. Really good post apocalyptic fiction.
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Old 07-01-2002, 09:25 AM
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Sorry, all my recommendations are older because -- well, obviously it's been a long time since I went looking for sci-fi/fantasy geared towards a younger reader.

Seconding Ranchoth's vote for John Christopher's Tripod trilogy, as well as another post-apocalyptic trilogy: The Prince in Waiting, Beyond the Burning Lands and The Sword of the Spirits. These may still be in print.

For adolescent readers, there is Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea trilogy, which was originally conceived for a young-adult audience. Another trilogy I enjoyed in middle school/high school was Joyce Ballou Gregorian's The Broken Citadel, which features a twelve year-old girl who finds her way into a fantasy world. To my best recollection, it is "suitable" for teens and pre-teens. It was completed as a trilogy (with the girl as college age) with Castledown and The Great Wheel. These are out of print but a quick query at Barnes & Noble's Rare/Out-of-Print service indicates that they're easily found.

I also started reading Katherine Kurtz's early books (Deryni Rising, Deryni Checkmate, High Deryni) in eighth grade. These are more approachable for young readers than her later works because the level of cultural details and nuances aren't quite as rich or elaborate as her later works.

Elizabeth Lynn's Chronicles of Tornor: Watchtower, The Dancers of Arun, The Northern Girl. These are approachable for teen readers, but IIRC do contain sexual references, including homosexual references, which some parents may not find suitable. I think these works are coming back into print.

Anne McCaffrey's [i]Harper Hall[i] trilogy is another possibility.
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Old 07-01-2002, 12:18 PM
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Don't whether you'd classify these as science fiction or fantasy, but Diane Duane's So You Want to be a Wizard is a great series (actually, I think the name of the series is Young Wizards...SYWTBAW is the first book). Also, Edward Eager's terrific books are back in print.
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Old 07-01-2002, 12:26 PM
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SciFi/Fantasy- Terry Pratchett's Johnny Maxwell books, "Only You Can Save Mankind" "Johnny and the Dead" and "Johnny and the Bomb"
and the Bromeliad trilogy "Truckers" "Diggers" and "Wings"

Also "The Carpet People" and "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents"

These are all written more for teens, but highly entertaining for adults too.
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Old 07-01-2002, 05:55 PM
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned some of Andre Norton's stuff: Check out the Solar Queen series (Sargasso of Space, Plague Ship, Voodoo Planet, and Postmarked the Stars), Star Man's Son 2250 AD, Catseye and others.
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Old 07-01-2002, 08:47 PM
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I have to second the mention of the Animorphs series here. I started reading them at the end of 7th grade, when they first came out, and kept on reading until the series ended last year (incidentally, when I graduated high school and turned 18). They gave me a good 5 years of entertainment. Additionally, they were what got me to start thinking seriously about writing.

There are a few books that are skippable in the grand scheme of the series, though...24, 39, and 42 stand out in my mind, for example. Otherwise, though, I love the series. Hell, I met my first boyfriend and three of my best friends through the series.

Yes, I am pathetic.
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