Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Reading Material Bleg

This isn't for me.  I have quite enough books, magazines, and websites to read.

This is for Girlie Bear.  She's about to turn 12, and I want to introduce her to science fiction.  Unfortunately, my introduction to science fiction at that age was geared extremely towards things that interested me as a boy, mostly written by Terry Brooks, Robert Heinlein, and J.R.R. Tolkien.  I honestly have no idea what a young girl wants to read in the SF realm.

So I need advice from any of you ladies that started reading science fiction at a young age.  What authors and books would you recommend for a young lady who likes to read, but hasn't started reading science fiction yet?

My plan is to buy her a couple of books and just have them on her bookshelf ready for her to pick up when she wants to, so there won't be any forced reading, book reports, or testing involved in this.  If she wants to pick it up, then I want to have something that she will enjoy and will make the world of SF reachable to her without it being something that will bore her.

So, what say you?


Christina LMT said...

Dragonriders of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey maybe. Though I started by reading my older brothers' SF, so I ended up reading Heinlein anyway!

My very first SF was "Thousandstar" by Piers Anthony. I think I was your daughter's age.

Age-appropriate would most likely be the "Animorphs" series. My daughter LOVED those.

LF Velez said...

I'd go with the Harper Hall books one and two [McCaffrey, but the young adult angle on Pern]. Dragonsong and Dragonsinger have nice "talented girl comes of age and learns to fend for herself in a larger social structure" themes, and you don't get the sexual encounters that show up in Dragonflight, Dragonquest and The White Dragon.

Having said that, though, I will never forget when our local library thought that The White Dragon was the correct next book in the Harper Hall sequence, rather than Dragondrums. Boy, did _that_ book get passed around the band geeks during summer practices...

As a young teen I devoured books about Pern, Arrakis, Middle Earth, and would have plowed through the Star Trek books as well, if I'd had access.

Along the way I found "Enslaved Brains" -- old scifi that talked about what life was going to be like in 1974 -- _Three by Heinlein_, and some excellent short stories in anthologies.

I like the idea that you'll have the books as something she can discover for herself. You might also consider collecting some CDs of British radio sci-fi, like the original Hitchhiker's Guide -- the Radiophonic Workshop could really create universes of sound.

Kevin said...

Robert A. Heinlein The Menace from Earth (Give her Friday when she turns 15 or so.)

Not SciFi, but pretty damned good fantasy (maybe a bit mature for a 12 year-old - try it yourself first,) Lois McMaster Bujold's The Spirit Ring.

Also, Elizabeth Moon's The Deed of Paksenarrion.

I can't help you much on the SciFi stuff as I'm a guy and started reading "hard" SF at about the age of 12 myself. Sounds like you're doing it right, though.

KurtP said...

Yes, the 'Dragondriders of Pern'.

Thing one liked my old 'Xanth' series by Piers Anthony (think mid 80s) so you might pick them up at Half-price books.

One that hasn't been mentioned is the ...Myth (I guess) series--Mythdirections, Mythconceptions (if I remember right), which is more fantasy and lots of puns.

Christina LMT said...

Yes, Pip and Flinx!

Any book by Timothy Zahn, but especially his "Dragonback" adventures! Symbiotic reptilian alien lives on young man's skin and appears to be a tattoo. VERY cool series.
Oh, The Liaden Universe Series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller!

Christina LMT said...

Oh, and I can't forget the Vorkosigan Series by Lois McMaster Bujold!

Reece said...

My first science fiction was Hawkmistress! By Marion Zimmer Bradley. To this day it is still my absolute favorite book. It's a little rare to find in second hand book shops, but Amazon has it for 99cents to like $5. I would also recommend Tamora Pierce. The first quartet is Song of the Lioness. Both stories are more fantasy, but they're perfect for her age group. If she likes Hawkmistress there is a whole series set in the same place called the Darkover Novels.

DaddyBear said...

Thanks Guys! You've all given me some really good ideas. I'll pick up a few of these books and give them to her for her birthday later this month1

ZerCool said...

Most anything by Piers Anthony will be age-appropriate.

Asimov's "Foundation" or Herbert's "Dune" ... They might be a bit advanced, but I started on them around that age and still enjoy them now. If you get just the first book in each series then she'll have something to look forward to (or not, as the case may be).

Another couple years and some Heinlein may be appropriate for her.

Anonymous said...

OMG Kevin I love you and KurtP!!! Robert A. Heinlein is just brilliant and Piers Anthony is sublime. I still have all of their books. I put them up on my kids shelves already and not one of my kids are over 6.
Odd thing is I looked at them today and thought about pulling one down to read again. I can still vividly recall all the characters and most of the plots.
My favorite P. Anthony series were not the ones most people are familiar with: Adept, Incarnations of Immorality, and Mode.
Okay that's it I'm going in and grab one off the shelf to read, and I'm blaming it all on you Tom!!

Miz Minka said...

Definitely have to agree with the other commenters about Ann McCaffrey's The Dragonriders of Pern series, and The White Dragon was my favorite.

Also any of the novels set on Xanth by Piers Anthony. The first one is called A Spell for Chameleon. There are about a dozen more after that, all very colorful in terms of characters and story lines (and puns abound!).

One of my all time favorites: the "whodunnit" scifi-mystery novels with Lije Bailey and R. Daneel Olivaw by Isaac Asimov. The books are The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and The Robots of Dawn.

I think it's wonderful that you're going to introduce your daughter to SciFi! I can thank my mom for that, she started me reading "Perry Rhodan" periodicals (weekly SciFi series in Germany that started in the 60s, I think) by the time I was 10. To this day I'll ready any SciFi, including hard. (Dragon's Egg, anyone??)

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