Re: Recommendations for Juvenile SF

From: Phil Osborn (
Date: Sat Sep 08 2001 - 17:51:39 MDT

Check around for SF cons in the area. They are usually good places to expose kids to not just SF and technology books but the people who like those books and even write them, and there are generally other kids who are very into ideas floating aroung. While I've been to a few cons that were complete duds, this is the fairly rare exception. The big cons, NASFC, World Con, Westercon are always dynamite, and you'll leave wishing they could go on forever (and why not? Why not organize a society so that such things are ongoing? In Orange County, for several years there actually was a weekly SF con that wasn't half bad... )

As for books, the whole Flynn near-future series, starting with FireStar, as I recall, and still being added to, is a must. A list of the virtues of this collection would go on for a long time, but it is particularly qualified to capture the mind of a really smart ten year old. FireStar begins with a vast plot to create really smart kids. A rich lady who wants to jumpstart the exploration of space has just financed a new private school system that works by taking over existing public schools and then using top-of-the-line information technology to bring kids up to their real potential. The reader will get to know those kids and that lady very, very well - better than most people you see every day - and it will be a very interesting acquaintance. Every time I discover that a new one of the series is out, I'm there, eager to know what my friends are now up to. These are ideas-in-action novels, and the action can get heart-pounding or ROFL hilarious.

However, the school system and the kids are just one of the multitude of plots and lives that weave around one another in the "Star" series, all around the central unifying theme of space exploration. (These are NOT juvies, but any smart 10 year old could handle them, I'm sure.)

There is also the "Jupiter" series of actual juvenile SF, with Charles Sheffield and Jerry Pournell contribuing novels. However, the "science" in these books is more star trekky, I'm afraid, and the plots a trifle contrived. Still make a good read, but not in a class with Flynn.

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