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Hbook Podcast 1.23 – YA Science Fiction (Kinda…)

Podcast the 23rd in which Roger and Siân revisit Farah Mendlesohn’s 2009 article, The Campaign for Shiny Futures, and ramble about young adult sci-fi.

Note from Siân: there are a few crackles on this recording (I still have no idea why that happens) and I did not delete/fix them because…well…I went away for the weekend y’all. Thanks for listening (and sorry for the noises)! xoxo

How Do You Like Your Science Fiction?
What Is “Hard” Science Fiction?
How To Tell If You Are In A Soft Science Fiction Novel – The Toast
Is it Science Fiction or Science Fantasy?

Books we talk about
26 Kisses by Anna Michels
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Son by Lois Lowry
Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series
Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series
Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games series (2008)
Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series
Nancy Farmer’s House of the Scorpion series
Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker series
Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle series
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
China Mieville’s New Crobuzon series
Railsea by China Mieville
Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
Feed by M. T. Anderson
Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A. S. King
The Integral Trees by Larry Niven
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz
Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
Veronica Roth’s Divergent series
James Dashner’s Maze Runner series
MARTians by Blythe Woolston
Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising series
C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

People we talk about
Betsy Bird
Jules Danielson
Shaun Tan

Things we talk about
Dark Shadows
Talks with Roger with Frances Hardinge
TV show Roger doesn’t remember: Stranger Things

Siân Gaetano About Siân Gaetano

Siân Gaetano is assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc. Follow her on Twitter @KidLitChick.



  1. Eric Carpenter says:

    Great podcast, as usual.
    Do you think Catherine Fisher’s INCARCERON and SAPPHIQUE would qualify as “hard sci-fi”?

    I would also point out the Guys Read: Other Worlds anthology, includes a mix of fantasy and science fiction short stories. Neal Shusterman’s contribution “The Dirt on Our Shoes” is a particularly great example of sci fi for middle grade readers..

  2. Siân Gaetano Siân Gaetano says:

    Thanks, Eric! From what I remember of INCARCERON (it’s a prison, right? And there’s a Big Secret about what exactly that prison is?), it has the feel of hard sci-fi–a future similar to the one that can be found in Neal Stephenson’s THE DIAMOND AGE, lots of robots, etc.–but the science isn’t what people would call “hard” science. Like James Dashner’s MAZE RUNNER. It’s very sci-fi-esque but there’s nothing that identifies the science as particularly accurate.

    And good suggestion with the Guys Read books!

  3. Sarah Flowers says:

    How about Cecil Castellucci’s Tin Star and its sequels? There’s also Janet Edwards’ Earth Girl series, but that really falls into the “it’s more about the relationships than the ideas” camp.

  4. Siân Gaetano Siân Gaetano says:

    Thanks for the suggestion, Sarah! I’ll check it out 🙂 And I wonder about this mix of relationships and ideas…I can think of novels that are very much about interpersonal relationships and greater societal concepts that feel like hard sci-fi to me. But, well, I’m not an expert. And I can’t think of them in kid lit…

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