Science-Fiction for Teens--what new books are out there?

Anyone interested in science-fiction for teens should read this article--The Campaign for Shiny Futures, by Farah Mendlesohn, published (and available online here) in this month's Horn Book.

After reading this, I began to wonder what science-fiction books marketed for teens are out, or coming out, in 2009? Mendlesohn's bibliography includes one 2009 title-- Before the Storm, by Sean McMullen. I'm reading one right now-- The Rule of Clawby John Brindley. There's another Softwire book coming in April--The Softwire: Worm Hole Pirates on Orbis 3 (wild space adventure for middle grade kids and younger teens), and coming in May, there's Hunger: A Gone Novel. There's also the new Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy book, which Eoin Colfer is writing -- And Another Thing...

This is all I came up with after some brisk googling, and it's a pretty paltry list compared with the riches of forthcoming fantasy.

Trisha came up with a few others: Patrick Ness' The Ask and the Answer, sequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go, Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan, and Kenneth Oppel's Starclimber. It still seems an awfully short list...it is no wonder the Norton Award is so heavily weighted in favor of fantasy (see post above).

And I've added two more that sound more sci fi than fantasy, both by debut authors and both coming this fall--Teri Hall's The Line and Pam Bachorz's Candor.

That makes ten.


  1. I tried reading the article at work onscreen and on paper, after I printed it out, but the font was so tiny! I think I need magnifying glasses to read it without straining my eyes. Maybe I'll try reading it at home w/ Firefox instead of IE and see if that will make a difference.

    Other 2009 science fiction: Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan, Kenneth Oppel's Starclimber (I don't know if it's really sf or not, but one of the other books is on the Horn Book bibliography, so I'll mention it here), and maybe Patrick Ness' The Ask and the Answer (is this sf? I haven't read The Knife of Never Letting Go yet).

  2. I hadn't thought much about the lack of teen sci-fi but it's in sync with this blog post about adult sci-fi. [http://kashsbookcorner.blogspot.com/2009/02/self-published-man.html]

    Especially read the 4th comment...sounds like fantasy has taken over the market.

  3. Thanks for the other books, Trisha! I hope you were able to read the article.

    And thanks for the link Em! Interesting reading...

  4. This is wonderful! I just discovered this site and I'm putting it straight onto my blogroll.

    I'm another one who has to enlarge the screen in order to read text properly. Printing out is even better.

    With regard to Farah Mendlesohn's essay, I'm particularly taken with the points about why Heinlein and Norton were popular in their day, and why things have changed: the emphasis these days is on relationships. I see it now that she's pointed it out.

    The reason for my interest is because, as a parent who does volunteer work at school listening to kids read, one of my concerns is for gifted readers who are not old enough for some of the relationship themes they end up reading about. An eight year old girl was reading about a fifteen year old's burgeoning interest in romance, a similar aged boy was reading about a teenage boy's awakening interest in girls. This seems a bit hard on kids who are still at the age when they are, at best, disinterested in the opposite gender. I began to see a need for the old style books that I used to think of as a bit puritanical. Adventure, yes, and exploration and knowledge of the world and science, yes, those are good things. The relationship angle, for these kids, not so much.

    Morva Shepley

  5. Hi Morva,

    Thanks for stopping by!

    I think there are actually quite a few recent books out there that focus more on adventure and action than on the character's relationships, spurred in part by a preceived need to produce books with "boy" appeal...

    A nice long list of recent science fiction/fantasy books for middle grade kids is the long list of books nominated for the 2008 Cybils awards. Anything that's in middle grade would not raise the eyebrows!

    I have the list up here--http://charlotteslibrary.blogspot.com/2008/10/cybils-my-list-of-whats-been-nominated.html

  6. Thanks so much for mentioning my debut! But I am afraid that now THE LINE is coming out in early 2010, with the sequel (AWAY) out in 2011.

    Teri Hall
    The Line
    Dial Books for Young Readers


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