Take 5: Science Fiction That Actually Takes Place in (Gasp) Space (a list with apparently 10 titles on it in honor of The Hitchhiker’s “Trilogy”)
When I was reading These Broken Stars, I was a little giddy because here was a science fiction title that actually took place in space. There has been a lot of science fiction published lately, but a lot of it tends to be more Earthbound involving new tech (think the awesome BZRK series by Michael Grant) or speculating about grim post apocalyptic futures (every 3rd YA book title published in the last 5 years it seems). So I loved that These Broken Stars had a genuine in space Science Fiction setting. Here are a few other titles for you if you want to read more books that take place in space or on a planet other than Earth.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
It’s a mystery. In space. And a very good one. Check out this series.
172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad
A group of teens are selected to go to the moon for 172 and bad stuff happens. This book reminds me a lot of the vibe you get while watching The Ring or the Grudge. In other ways, it’s a little scary and tense. Which is good.
Feed by M T Anderson
They went to the moon for spring break, it turned out to suck. That is actually a paraphrase of the first line of this epic book about a future world where you connect to the Internet directly into your brain.
Helium-3 series by Homer Hickam
The author of the Rocket Boys writes this series about a mining colony on the moon, a deadly mission, and secrets that can destroy it all.
Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card
You have probably heard of this one recently. Maybe you have seen the movie ads. A boy. Space aliens attacking. Ender is our only hope. There is actually more to the story as it is the first book in a series if you want to keep reading. Card also tells the same story from a different point of view in Ender’s Shadow.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
A part of the Time Quartet, which is one of the best things ever written. Ever. Meg and crew journey through time and space to find her missing dad. There is also now a graphic novel version.
Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis
Everyone knows he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia. But did you know that C. S. Lewis wrote a space trilogy? It begins with Out of the Silent planet in which Dr. Ransom is kidnapped to be a human sacrifice on another planet but when he escapes, he finds this planet is more alike than different than our own. Not technically YA, but it is so good.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Addams
Don’t Panic! This is one of five books in this, um, trilogy? Journey around the galaxy. Meet dolphins and mice. Learn the importance of the number 42. Laugh a lot. Don’t forget to grab your towel.
The Color of Rain by Cori McCarthy
Rain boards a spaceship thinking she is set for the Edge, only to discover that the spaceship is a host for an underground slave ship.
Ever Expanding Universe by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal
In the past, they used to ship pregnant teens off to an “aunts” house until they delivered. What if we sent them to space instead? Oh and hey, what if we stole their babies to repopulate? Yeah, Elvie isn’t sure she wants to be a mother, but before she can decide she needs to find her way off this ship being attacked by aliens and her baby’s father? Book 1 in the series is Mothership, funny.
Bonus: All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury
This is my favoritest short story ever. And yes, favoritest is totally a word. A group of kids live on a planet where the sun only comes out once every so many years. One of the girls has seen the sun, she remembers what it looks like because she recently came from Earth. The other students are jealous and bully her. Then, the day the sun is supposed to come out, they doing something terrible. You can read the story here.
Add your favorites in the comments.
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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