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SciFi stories

Set in a technological future or where science plays a major role


Absolute Power

Style: Weak → Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Unobjectionable

The New Heroes, second-generation superpowered youngsters, have to make difficult decisions when their leader Colin runs away and they are under political attack from the worldwide Trutopian organisation led, unknown to them, by their enemy Victor Cross and the mind-controlling Yvonne.

Comic-book style superhero action; mind-control; the morality of military action; morality of prison conditions; human cloning.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

Amongst the Hidden

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

Luke is a third child in a world where only two are allowed per family, because of shortages.

A sideswipe, although ambivalent, at current policies and ideas about keeping population levels down to avoid shortages. Luke's farming family are close despite the problems of keeping him hidden. Jen's richer family have also risked many things to keep her safe.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

The "Animorphs" series

Style: Weak

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Fairly Positive

Half-a-dozen youngsters witness the crash of a flying saucer and are given the power to take on the body of any animal they can touch by the Andalite pilot before he is killed by his arch enemy Visser Three of the alien Yeerks: slugs who take over other creatures' bodies.

Conventional young teenage pap. Some redeeming features based on the friendship between the children and the occasional heroism displayed by them, their allies, or on one occasion one of their enemies. Mostly though black-or- white goody-baddy stuff with sporadic moralising.

Adventure, SciFi

The Arm of the Starfish

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

17-year-old Adam Eddington is going to Europe to spend the summer working on a Portuguese island with the famous biologist Dr O'Keefe.

Accessible mild adventure story. Family closeness with faith, extending to friends. Dolphin intelligence.

Adventure, SciFi, Thought-provoking

A Bone from a Dry Sea

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care → Unobjectionable

Li, an intelligent Aquatic ape lives four million years ago on the shores of an African Sea; Vinny, now, is helping her father discover the fossilised remains of Li's tribe.

Interesting, helping the imagination discover the relationship between modern and ancient Africa; divorced parents; the birth of intelligence in mammals.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

Brother in the Land

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

One of many post-nuclear-holocaust books, this one written in 1984 details one boy's experiences following a nuclear strike on England.

Ultimately tragic and with no real surprises it is quite readable and not too harrowing.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

The Death Collector

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care → Unobjectionable

George Archer finds himself under attack from a group who want the information in a diary of which he possesses the only remaining fragment.

Some grotesque scenes involving reanimation of men and animals by mechanical means. A fraudulent séance with a serious element. Possibly lethal violence used in self-defence by the protagonists.

Adventure, Macabre, SciFi

The "Dragonriders of Pern" series

Style: Good

Attitude: Take Care

Set on a future Earth colony, settled by colonists wanting to escape the wars and pollution &c.

SciFi

Dragonsinger

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Menolly is brought by the Masterharper to the Harper Hall on the far side of Pern.

Feminist theme but without a tub-thumping style. Stylistically little more than an extension of [Dragonsong] but fitting in with the others in the series, with which it runs parallel. A nice story essentially about forging friendships.

Coping with, SciFi

Dragonsong

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Three of the books in the Pern series group together as the Harper Hall Trilogy.

Well-evoked loneliness and despair of the sensitive girl musician caught friendless in a place where little music is needed, and certainly none from a girl. The final third of the book is less engaging, although it does show the efforts of the new Harper, Elgion, to widen the outlook of the Sea Holder and his people.

Coping with, Growing-Up, SciFi

Escape From Genopolis

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Usha and Arlo meet in the gladiatorial Circus, she as a recaptured slave who must fight for her life, he as a Natural who's been raised among citizens and who is now trying to return to the Regions outside the city to find his family.

A warning story about the dangers of cloning and genetic manipulation.

Adventure, Moral Issue, SciFi, Thought-provoking

Floodland

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Zoe lives in an England that has been covered by water as a result of global warming, the city of Norwich is a small island, cut off from the part of the mainland which still remains above the water level.

Adventure, SciFi

The "Fourth World" Series

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Maggie & Bernard have discovered the Missing Link gene which gives humans the ability to reason and to speak.

Amoral genetic manipulation of human beings and animals within a family community. Origin of intelligent life. Friendship and loyalty in times of social breakdown.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

Frozen in Time

Style: Weak → Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Edifying

Ben & Rachel inadvertently wake their Great Aunt and Uncle Polly & Freddy, cryogenically frozen since the 1950s and still 12 years old.

Lightweight plot from an interesting premise. Nice juxtaposition of old and new attitudes to people and society. Bravery, courage and affection in difficult circumstances. Moderate violence in justifiable self-defence.

Adventure, SciFi, Thought-provoking, Time-Travel

The Giver

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Jonas is about to turn 12, the age when people in his futuristic community become adults and are assigned jobs.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

The Guardian of Isis

Style: Poor

Attitude: Positive

A story set some 40 years after "The Keeper of the Isis Light" when the original settlers on Isis have grown older and a new generation is growing up.

SciFi

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

The Earth is to be demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass.

Humorous, SciFi

The Homeward Bounders

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Jamie Hamilton inadvertently discovers "Them": a mysterious group controlling his world as a board game.

Adventure, Friendship, SciFi

The House of the Scorpion

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Matt, a child clone of an artificially ancient rich drug baron, has to come to terms with the way the world sees him as he grows up and discovers the truth behind his way of life.

Growing-Up, Moral Issue, SciFi

Jimmy Coates: Killer

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Jimmy Coates is an ordinary 11-year-old, fighting with his sister, grumbling over his homework, until some people turn up at his house and try to take him away.

Genetically-engineered assassin child

Adventure, Family, Friendship, SciFi, Thought-provoking

Jimmy Coates: Revenge

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Fairly Positive

Jimmy Coates, along with his family & friends, is hiding safely from the British Secret Service in New York's Chinatown until he starts to experience painful headaches leaving images in his head which he believes point to an assassination attempt against the American President.

Enjoyable action-packed adventure with a certain family warmth and a thought-provoking core. Three genetically-altered assassin-youngsters with issues of free will and responsibility. Political-military complexities between three regimes. Deceptions and subterfuges between supposed allies. The loyalty of Jimmy's family and friends in difficult situations. Brutal action sequences between the youngsters.

Adventure, Family, Friendship, SciFi, Thought-provoking

The Lake at the End of the World

Style: Weak

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Set in 2025 in a post-ecological holocaust Australia (we assume).

SciFi

The Left Hand of Darkness

Style: Average → Good

Attitude: Take Care → Positive

Genry is the envoy from "The Ekumen", a federation of human planets originating from Earth, to the world known as Winter, cold all year round and where everyone is ambisexual: sexually latent for most of the month, but able to mate for a few days when one or other sexual characteristic will dominate.

An intriguing story, suitable only for mature teenagers or adults, which explores the issues in a world where everyone is both male and female, sexually latent for most of the month, but open to mating for a few days. Contraception and other sex-related drug use along with kemmer houses for the recourse of the sexually active. Stoic bravery and endurance by the lone envoy who is committed to his cause of welcoming a new planet to the federation. Two characters taking many risks for friendship's sake. Some prophecying.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

Lion Boy

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Charlie Ashanti, the hero of the story, is able to speak Cat, which is not only the language of the domesticated variety but also that of the wild kind, such as lions.

Interesting and enjoyable. Question of animal intelligence.

Adventure, Family, Friendship, SciFi

Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Fairly Positive

The Flock splits up when Max & Fang visit Dr Martinez to have Max's chip removed and the younger ones are captured and taken back to The School, the lab they grew up in.

Disappointing conclusion to the series. Fast-paced cartoon-style violent action with some casual references to scientific killing (of unwanted clones, hybrids etc). Redemption of a hated character. Continued loyalty of the winged youngsters to each other although with some rifts over the best course of action.

Adventure, SciFi

Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Fairly Positive

When Fang is badly injured in a battle with new, fiercer Erasers, the Flock are forced to go to hospital where they are interrogated by the FBI but then taken under the wing of Anne and go to live at her home and go to normal school.

Slow-paced extension to the first book, developing little and establishing few new elements. The older children start to discover relationships with the opposite sex. Iggy finds his real family but they are only interested in the financial possibilities he offers.

Adventure, Moral Issue, SciFi, Thought-provoking

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment

Style: Average

Attitude: Positive

Max and the Flock, children with wings, have run away from the School, the lab complex where they spent the first part of their lives locked in cages and experimented on.

Grotesque and disturbing genetic and behavioural experiments on young children with commonly fatal results. Tremendous love and supportiveness between the six children. Max's efforts to make sure she and the others do the right thing. Positive reference to religion. The children's desire to know whether they have parents and who they are. Some thefts by the children in difficult circumstances. Serious violence.

Adventure, Moral Issue, SciFi, Thought-provoking

The Midwich Cuckoos

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Sets of twins are mysteriously born in a village and turn out to have strange powers.

SciFi

The Midwinter Watch

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

A hundred years ago, an inventor discovered a clock that could turn back time.

Adventure, SciFi, Spooky

The Missing Link

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Christie follows Danny his strange half-brother and Darling the starling to Dublin early one morning, where they meet Tina, the homeless teenager and Oggy the dog and set off for the north of Scotland where Danny's mother lives with other talking animals.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

Mortal Engines

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Apprentice Tom Natsworthy becomes involved with the Anti-Traction League when he tries to save his hero from attack.

Tremendously imaginative; questionable actions of some freedom guerilla fighters

SciFi

The "Mortal Engines" Quartet

Style: Good

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Edifying

Tom Natsworthy, an orphaned History apprentice on the Traction City of London, is sent in disgrace to the city’s Deep Gut after a bullying fellow-apprentice taunts him into a fight.

An engaging and uplifting story set against an imaginative future backdrop. Cyborg stalkers built around dead bodies. Romantic suicide. Christianity as a force for reconciliation.

Adventure, SciFi

Mostly Harmless

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Tricia Macmillan is taken by alien Grebulons to the 10th planet in the solar system, Ford Prefect raids the offices of the Hitch Hiker's Guide in search of a new assignment, discovers it's been taken over by Vogons, and steals the Mk II Guide, Arthur Dent hitchhikes round the galaxy a bit before settling down as The Sandwich Maker on a primitive planet, at which point Trillian turns up with their teenage daughter and leaves, the Mk II guide arrives, closely followed by Ford, whose spaceship is stolen by Arthur's daughter Random.

Humorous, SciFi

Only Human

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Bernard and Colin return from Africa with signs that the legendary Yeti of the Tibetan Himalayas may be the answer to how mankind acquired the Missing Link gene.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

Origins

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

The stone which Christie was given by the Yeti is linked to the mysterious creature which takes over the lab at Fourth World; meanwhile in some unspecified place and time, the Dogs and the Cats are in a permanent state of conflict.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

Out of the Silent Planet

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Positive

Elwin Ransome, a Cambridge don on a walking holiday, is looking for shelter for the night and chances upon two men, one of whom he knew at school, who drug him and take him with them to Mars in their spaceship.

SciFi, Thought-provoking

Predator's Gold

Style: Good

Attitude: Take Care → Unobjectionable

Chased by the Green Storm, a breakaway group from the Anti-Traction League, Tom and Hester with their passenger Pennyroyal are forced to land on Anchorage, currrently travelling across the High Ice towards its origins in the Dead Continent of America.

Adventure, SciFi

The Quantum Prophecy

Style: Weak → Average

Attitude: Take Care → Unobjectionable

10 years after all the superheroes and supervillains in the world disappeared in the wake of a titanic battle, a few youngsters start to develop superpowers, but are soon kidnapped by a mysterious organisation.

Comic-book style superhero action; moral dilemmas, some driven by visions of the future.

Growing-Up, SciFi

Sakkara

Style: Weak → Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Sakkara is a secret US base to which young superheroes Danny, Colin and Renata are taken when their identities are exposed.

Lightweight young superhero thriller with typically violent action scenes. Slightly disturbing prophetic images. Impossible moral decision leading to a character's death.

Adventure, SciFi, Thought-provoking

Sandwriter

Style: Poor

Attitude: Positive

Antia, a princess, is sent to a desert kingdom, ostensibly to be married, but with the instructions from her tutor (on whom she has a crush) to find their secret.

SciFi

Shadow Beast

Style: Average

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Meg, Jonny, Filch and Art try to connect Mr Frederick's lost cat, a sudden plague of rats, and mysterious activity down in the sewer.

Adventure, SciFi

The Shapeshifter Series

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care → Positive

In [Finding the Fox], Dax Jones discovers that he can turn into a fox and learns that he is one of the Children of Limitless Ability (COLA), to be educated in a secret government school on the Cornish coast.

Children with extraordinary powers: telekenesis, shapeshifting, healing, telepathy, illusion, dowsing and pyrokenesis. Common and sometimes comical acceptance of dialogue with the dead. All the children are motherless for plot reasons. Friendship and support among the children and between them and their teachers. Occasional plot-related brutal or vindictive behaviour including an attempt to auction the gifted children into slavery.

Adventure, SciFi, Thought-provoking

Space Trap

Style: Poor

Attitude: Positive

Valerie, Susan and Frank are caught in a matter transporter and taken as pets for entertainment of experiment.

SciFi

That Hideous Strength

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Positive

The NICE, a scientific institute, has bought up Bragdon Wood, the land around a small university, and seems to have unlimited powers and support.

Arthurian, Classic, SciFi

The Tripods

Style: Weak

Attitude: Positive

A race of aliens who move around in huge three-legged machines have enslaved the Earth.

SciFi

Viaduct Child

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Dushma lives in a society where being registered is everything, she is not registered with the authorities due to a defect during pregnancy and so she is not entitled to do anything.

Coping with, SciFi

Voyage to Venus (Perelandra)

Style: Outstanding

Attitude: Positive

Ransome is transported by the power of Malacandra, the oyarsa of Mars, to Venus (Perelandra) where intelligent life is beginning.

Classic, SciFi, Thought-provoking