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  1. #1
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    Good YA Science Fiction for Boys

    My 11 year old son is starting to chew through "soft" science fiction books and I was wondering if folks had any recommendations.

    He started out with Have Spacesuit Will Travel, and moved on from there. What I am noticing with a lot of YA science fiction is that the main protagonist is usually a plucky female heroine (the chosen one) and I would like to find a few books that are a little less "mushy" but still enjoyable without the science fiction totally befuddling him.

    Thanks.
    Charlie, here comes the deuce. And when you speak of me, speak well.

  2. #2
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    You wanna describe what you mean by "mushy"?

    Good luck with the Heinlein, I always had the good sense not to mention to my Mom that the books she was getting me as gifts regularly espoused polygamy and incest.

    Ender's Game is a great story for a younger child, the later Ender stories starting with Speaker for the Dead were a bit too much the first time I read them. The Bean spinoffs would also be suitable for a younger child, starting with Ender's Shadow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stu Gotz View Post
    My 11 year old son is starting to chew through "soft" science fiction books and I was wondering if folks had any recommendations.

    He started out with Have Spacesuit Will Travel, and moved on from there. What I am noticing with a lot of YA science fiction is that the main protagonist is usually a plucky female heroine (the chosen one) and I would like to find a few books that are a little less "mushy" but still enjoyable without the science fiction totally befuddling him.

    Thanks.
    I know a couple folks who do research that involves YA lit. Will see at least one of them tomorrow. Will ask.

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    My friend reently asked the same question. I believe she found Ender's Game a bit violent for her 12 y/o.

    If you wanna go Old School, The White Mountains Trilogy by John Christopher is great (at least my memories of it from my childhood still hold it in high esteem).

    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

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  5. #5
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    PS
    Lottsa interesting lists when you Google "Best Young Adult Science Fiction Books"...
    http://www.google.com/search?client=...UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by I've seen black diamonds! View Post
    I know a couple folks who do research that involves YA lit. Will see at least one of them tomorrow. Will ask.
    Many thanks for this.

    Maybe "mushy" is a bad term. But it seems as if most of the YA science fiction (and just most YA books) are written with young plucky female protagonists ("the chosen one") and I am trying to find a few with a male lead. He did read Ender's game and enjoyed it, but I thought the follow-ups would be for an older reader.

    Series that he has read. And enjoyed. (It seems that everything is a trilogy these days.)
    Claudia Grey's Defy the World and A Thousand Pieces of You Trilogies
    Ember in the Ashes series by Sahaa Tahir
    The Legend series by Megan Lu
    Chuck Wendig's Aftermath Trilogy

    Any recommendations are welcome.
    Charlie, here comes the deuce. And when you speak of me, speak well.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
    My friend reently asked the same question. I believe she found Ender's Game a bit violent for her 12 y/o.

    If you wanna go Old School, The White Mountains Trilogy by John Christopher is great (at least my memories of it from my childhood still hold it in high esteem).


    This got us started when we would read together. We both very much enjoyed the series. I was hoping for others like this.

    Edit to add - I was wondering if you would chime in with your expertise.
    Charlie, here comes the deuce. And when you speak of me, speak well.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stu Gotz View Post
    This got us started when we would read together. We both very much enjoyed the series. I was hoping for others like this.

    Edit to add - I was wondering if you would chime in with your expertise.


    Trying to recall what I read in 5th/6th grade, but all that's coming to mind is more fantasy oriented than sci-fi.

    Such as: The Hobbit; The Taran Wanderer series by Lloyd Alexander; Chronicles of Narnia; The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. LeGuin; The Wind at the Door series by Madeline L'engle; The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper...

    I do recall reading a series of books about Matthew Looney by Gerome Beatty, but I fear they are severely out-of-print.

    Would Ray Bradbury be too "heavy"? Martian Chronicles and Illustrated Man come to mind (though I just read the former this summer!).
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    I was big into Michael Crichton at that age. Maybe not totally young adult and a little bit dated now, but his books are easy to read and real page turners. My favorites at that age were Timeline and Sphere. I think I read Sphere in one sitting because I was too scared to put it down.
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  10. #10
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    From memory when I was a kid, all pretty classic so maybe not helpful:

    A Wrinkle In Time
    Fahrenheit 451
    The War of the Worlds
    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
    The Hobbit / LOTR
    Animal Farm
    Dune

    I spent 30 min trying to find the name of a trilogy I liked, but it’s not coming to me. If I find it, I’ll post again.

    I seem to remember people being into the Eragon novels and my mom tried to get me into them a few times but I never liked them.

    I also remember being really into animal adventure books at some point: Watership Down, Redwall series by Brian Jacques, Chronicles of Narnia, etc
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by wicked_sick View Post
    I was big into Michael Crichton at that age. Maybe not totally young adult and a little bit dated now, but his books are easy to read and real page turners. My favorites at that age were Timeline and Sphere. I think I read Sphere in one sitting because I was too scared to put it down.
    Thanks. Hadn’t thought about these books.
    Charlie, here comes the deuce. And when you speak of me, speak well.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post


    Trying to recall what I read in 5th/6th grade, but all that's coming to mind is more fantasy oriented than sci-fi.

    Such as: The Hobbit; The Taran Wanderer series by Lloyd Alexander; Chronicles of Narnia; The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. LeGuin; The Wind at the Door series by Madeline L'engle; The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper...

    I do recall reading a series of books about Matthew Looney by Gerome Beatty, but I fear they are severely out-of-print.

    Would Ray Bradbury be too "heavy"? Martian Chronicles and Illustrated Man come to mind (though I just read the former this summer!).
    Thank you very much.

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    More fantasy, but I loved it as a kid: “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever” (two trilogies)

  14. #14
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    If your kid is a Star Wars fan, specifically the original trilogy (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) and has seen those films, the Han Solo Trilogy by Brian Daley is really fun. I first read these when I was 12 and then re-read them this summer and they were still super entertaining (not sure why they never made them into films):
    Han Solo at Star's End
    Han Solo's Revenge
    Han Solo and the Lost Legacy


    Likewise, Brian Daley's Hobart Floyt/Alacrity Fitzhugh trilogy is incredibly entertaining :
    Requiem for a Ruler of Worlds
    Jinx on a Terran Inheritance
    Fall of the White Ship Avatar


    Daley, imho, was a great, underappreciated sci-fi writer who had an easy way with words and created great characters...all six of the aforementioned novels are teeming with vintage, pulp-styled sci-fi adventure and outer space swashbuckling.
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    A lot of Aurthur C Clark is totally appropriate for the YA set. I’d recommend the Rama books.
    But Ellen kicks ass - if she had a beard it would be much more haggard. -Jer

  16. #16
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    Lots of good recommends. Also another vote for alternate genres. James Clavell and the Bond novels were fun when I was that age.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chugachjed View Post
    A lot of Aurthur C Clark is totally appropriate for the YA set. I’d recommend the Rama books.
    this and cant recommend he Wind at the Door series by Madeline L'engle enough.
    Plucky female protagonist is likely what many others are copying but its soo much more. I basically started stealing books off my dads shelf at this age, Asimov, Niven, etc. Dune is a bit heavy as of yet but must read in adolescence.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyoverland Captive View Post
    More fantasy, but I loved it as a kid: “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever” (two trilogies)
    That stuff is way too heavy for a kid. Very adult content, with an early scene of the lead character raping a girl.

    I concur on Arthur C Clark. I also recommend Isaac Asimov. The old classic sci-fi is a good place to get started in. I think David Niven - Ring World - is also a possibility.

  19. #19
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    Many thanks for all the suggestions.
    Charlie, here comes the deuce. And when you speak of me, speak well.

  20. #20
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    Dune. Well, maybe in a couple years.
    Redwall by Brian Jaques if you wanna go the fantasy route.

  21. #21
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    Foundation series by Asimov.
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkhound Odin View Post
    I concur on Arthur C Clark. I also recommend Isaac Asimov. The old classic sci-fi is a good place to get started in. I think David Niven - Ring World - is also a possibility.
    I distinctly remember reading and loving The Integral Trees from Niven when I lived in TN so I couldnt have been more than 12

    Nivens various laws are just good to live by...



    1 Never throw shit at an armed man.
    1.a)Never stand next to someone who is throwing shit at an armed man.

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    his most famous:
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  23. #23
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    Gosh, that's such a fun age for reading! I remember reading so much pivotal stuff (for me) between 11 and 15.

    Not sci fi, but don't forget the adventure classics, too: Twain (Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer), London (White Fang, Call of the Wild, Sea Wolf -- I recall that being my favorite book in 6th grade), Dumas (3 Musketeers, Count of Monte Cristo), Stevenson (Treasure Island, Dr Jekyll Mr Hide), Louis L'Amour (his 6-volume "collected short stories" are super fun), Sherlock Holmes, etc.
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by auvgeek View Post
    From memory when I was a kid, all pretty classic so maybe not helpful:

    A Wrinkle In Time
    Maybe someone can explain why this book is such a classic. I read it to my daughter not long ago and we both thought it was pretty bad.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
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  25. #25
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    There are some great recommendations in this thread, but I can't recall enough details of any of them to know if the content is too adult.

    Among my favorites mentioned (that I know I read as a kid) are Watership Down, Earthsea series, Jack London books, Ringworld, Narnia, Foundation series (and actually, most Asimov is good, his laws of robotics are really easy to understand and think about), Lord of the Rings.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin

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