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Manhattan_Mom

Book suggestions in the Hard Science Fiction genre

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My 9yo is interested in "hard" science fiction, that is, science fiction that features real or realistic (not fantastic) scientific concepts and accuracy, e.g. Andy Weir's The Martian, Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park.  Anything with scientific illustrations a plus (e.g. Dinotopia although that's fantasy not hard science fiction).  

 

I'd love suggestions for hard science fiction books that do not contain mature material (sex, drugs, violence). Off-color language fine (The Martin was peppered with it!) he knows it's inappropriate and never copies it.  There are many lists on the internet of "best hard scifi books" but many contain mature themes. 

 

Thanks in advance for your suggestions. This group always has such great ones.

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Some of the juvenile Robert Heinlein books might work. Just be careful though because the ones that aren't juvenile are very very mature.

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Two Faces of Tomorrow by James P. Hogan (especially if he likes computers; it does contain violence against robots, but it is not graphic)

 

DS9 recommends the Tripod series, though it is not exactly hard SF and the first book (The White Mountains) is very slow. It's entirely age-appropriate, though, and gets quite good by the end.

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Yeah, looking back at books from the 40s-60s is probably a good idea.  Asimov, early Heinlein, maaaaybe some Arthur C Clarke, etc.

 

We loved The Martian here and it reminded me of the I, Robot stories in many ways, although DD12 will not read Asimov for all the tea in China.

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Also, Niven and Pournelle, but some may be too mature for a 9 yr old. Williamson (another physics professor/author from the 1940’s)

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Bradbury is a good suggestion. 

 

He loved Ender's Game. Ender's Shadow was a bit to fraught (early chapters feature gangs of starving children).

 

 

Edited by Manhattan_Mom

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Actually, if he can get his hands on Asimov’s best stories collections, that would probably give him a lot of authors. There are quite a few of them, and Asimov definitely had a bias towards hard sci-fi. Golden age tends to be pretty strong on the science-a lot of the authors were scientists first.

 

A few more-Hoyle, Clarke, Bova, Clement, Pohl, and some of Alan Dean Foster (more fantastic).

 

Also, Rick Cook has a series of fantasy novels that run on computer science principles (protagonist is a Software engineer transported because they needed a wizard, who discovers that magic is a programming language). Margaret Ball has Mathemagics, which is a sword and sorcery novel where math is the sorcery :). Pre-read that one, though (I love it and let DD read it about age 10, but it is definitely heavy on the “swordâ€-the protagonist is a retired mercenary from a sword and sorcery world, now living in Dallas and studying math. Lots of social commentary and humor).

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A lot of William Sleator's books would fit. Madeleine L'Engle has a lot of fantastical elements, but tends to have science (though not exactly current science) mixed in as well.

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