Stephanie’s Top 5 Sci-Fi Reads
I was never a big science fiction reader until college. I thought that it was dorky and that I wouldn’t like any of it. In college, however, I took this excellent class taught by Dr. Minor (RIP) and from that moment on, I am forever a sci-fi fan.
wonder what is real in the world and really start to ponder reality. I love books like this! In the end, PDK somehow solves all the dilemmas leaving this as one of my favorite books of all time. And as a sidenote, if you work with teens, NEVER just say “Have you read any Dick?”. Doesn’t go over well. Always introduce him as Philip K. Dick. TRUST ME.
Welcome to the age of sci fi written as a futuristic history, and sometimes even actually history, of the Cold War. This book, written in 1958, takes place after the Soviets kidnap a top physicist, Dr. Lucas Martino, during an attack and explosion at an Allied research facility. Several months later, the Soviets hand over Dr. Martino but he has received such extensive surgeries that he no longer has his arm, replaced by a never-before-seen mechanical arm, and his face is completely covered by a metal mask. Upon further investigation, many of his internal organs are completely replaced by artificial organs and the Allies have no way to find out if Martino is really who he says he is or just a spy for the Soviets. This begins a long line of interrogation by Shawn Rogers and the entire novel is centered around this quest to discover who this man really is. The kicker? They never find out. It’s super creepy. I loved every minute of it.
Much newer than the previous three, this novel immediately became one of my all time favorites. It’s hard to call this straight science fiction because it’s more of a pop culture infused novel but if you were a hard core nerd in the 80s and fell in love with The Last Starfigher, this book is for you. And guess what..my teens LOVED this book.
Last but not least and one of the reasons why I wanted to write these posts, Human.4. Previously published in the UK as Point 4, Human.4 made its stateside debut in March of 2011. I didn’t see much about this book and just happened upon it in Overdrive one day while looking for something to browse and wanted to pull a ‘Tom Cruise on Oprah’s couch’ when I was done! It was everything that the science fiction novels I had read in college had to pull me into the genre and it was spooky…it actually scared the mess out of me and that takes a lot to do. The book’s amazing format is what makes this a dead set winner for me. Presented as an edited transcript from the cassette tape recordings of teenager Kyle Straker, we start to hear the chilling and amazing story of Straker himself and what he witnessed during a community talent show where he was ‘hypnotized’ by his friend. Calling into question the reality of the world around him, Human.4 is science fiction for teens at its absolute finest and a perfect introduction into the world of science fiction for a teen audience who will only want more after reading this novel. Thankfully, The Future We Left Behind, a companion novel to Human.4 just came out this week.
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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