5 science fiction stories that are perfect for children

Published on: 23 November 2018 Author: Lindsay Galvin

Author Lindsay Galvin talks us through some books that fit into the science fiction genre, but in an appropriate way for kids. Let your child's imagination soar...

Science is real-world magic. I love a story that makes me question what is on the edge of possible, and explores how believable characters react when faced with the extraordinary.

Here are five of my favourite accessible science fiction novels for older children...

Prepare to believe!

The Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen

Based on the concept of a chilling classic, The Day of The Triffids by John Wyndham, The Boy in The Tower takes the idea of a world colonised by killer plants and sets it in a modern-day city tower block community. The character portraits and unlikely friendships in this book are sublime and the portrayal of Ade’s mother’s post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression is particularly well drawn. The terrifying plants are not the most terrifying part of this story and it left me shaken in the very best way.

Read our book review of The Boy in the Tower

The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge

You would never think quantum physics could be this accessible. This story explores theories such as Schrödinger's cat and Many-Worlds Interpretation through the voice of the indomitable Albie Bright, who travels to parallel universes where his mum is still alive in order to come to terms with her death. Heart-wrenching at times, this is an adventure as bright as its main character.

Read our book review of The Many Worlds of Albie Bright

Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall

We can’t talk science fiction without a trip to space. In Mars Evacuees, Alice Dare gets sent to a newly colonised Mars and ends up in a fast-paced voyage of peril, genuine friendship, and fun, accompanied by a truly original robot. This is also a first-contact story and I enjoyed the complex reactions when humans are faced with aliens. This and the sequel, Space Hostages, really took me out of this world.

Read our book review of Mars Evacuees

Phoenix by SF Said

Back to space again for a dream-scape of a story, somehow contained within a taut and humorous plot. This book is so difficult to describe! Read Lucky and Bixa’s space adventure and prepare to question our place in the universe as you are immersed in S F Said’s expert storytelling, and bathe in Dave McClean’s trance-like illustrations.

Read our book review of Phoenix

Strange Star by Emma Carroll

I had to include Emma Carroll’s gothic tale in this list as not only is it an masterpiece in tension and atmosphere, it’s a fresh take on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which is often called the first science fiction novel and is a firm favorite of mine. Strange Star explores the boundaries between life and death, and what scientists can achieve compared to what they should. It’s thrilling and just scary enough to introduce younger readers to the concepts of the classic question – who are the real monsters?

THE SECRET DEEP by Lindsay Galvin out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)

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