Intergalactic stories for aspiring astronauts
Published on: 23 January 2020 Author: Ross Welford
The Kid Who Came From Space author Ross Welford shares his pick of the best extraterrestrial-themed stories for budding space invaders and alien enthusiasts...
Having written The Kid Who Came From Space, I have emerged with a new-found respect for writers who dare to tackle the massive – indeed, infinite – subjects of space, time and the possibility of alien life.
I was concerned before I started writing it that 'alien-comes-to-earth' was a cliché, but as it turns out, space is so big that there’s plenty of room for new stories. Here are some that I encountered before and after writing my own.
The Infinite Lives Of Maisie Day by Christopher Edge
Chris Edge has carved himself a successful niche as a writer of well-informed and very imaginative middle-grade sci-fi and this, I think, is my favourite. Maisie awakens on her birthday as a black hole is engulfing her house. It is brilliantly ambitious and super-scary with Edge’s characteristic dash of sheer bonkers-ness.
Sputnik’s Guide To Life On Earth by Frank Cottrell-Boyce
This is Cottrell-Boyce’s hilarious take on the alien-comes-to-earth trope, and he pulls it off with his customary brio. Teaming up with a boy called Prez, the alien – Sputnik – must finish writing his book about Earth before it is destroyed. Wonderful ideas and some proper slapstick moments make this book stand out.
The Space Race: The Journey To The Moon And Beyond by Sarah Cruddas
Cruddas is a journalist with a knack for engaging writing for young people. This non-fiction book about man’s quest to explore the universe is a wonderful introduction to the subject for children of all ages. It’s colourful with great illustrations by Eileen Collins.
My Gym Teacher Is An Alien Overlord by David Solomons
When it comes to aliens, sometime Dr Who writer David Solomons knows his stuff. This entry in Solomons’ very funny My Brother Is A Superhero series won the Lollies Award in 2017. The story involves aliens disguised as gym teachers in a bid to take over the world and is as funny as it sounds.
Nowhere On Earth by Nick Lake
This young-adult thriller by the ever-inventive Nick Lake has a teenage girl, Emily, pursued by sinister armed men in a race-and-chase across the snowy plains of Alaska. She is accompanied by her young brother, Aidan, who has mysterious psychic abilities. To say more veers into spoiler territory, but there is a space connection and Aidan is definitely not what he seems…
Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort
The funny illustrations and the bouncy, rhyming text of this picture book are a perfect combination and it remained popular in our house long after our children were 'too old' for it. (Maybe I just liked reading it aloud!) There are now – inevitably – eight books in the series and they’re all great, but none has improved on the original.