Librarians Love: Non-Dystopian Sci-Fi

by Flickr user Scott Cresswell
by Flickr user Scott Cresswell

YALSA-bk is a listserv with lively discussions among librarians, educators, and beyond about all things YA lit. Sometimes one listserv member will ask for help finding books around a certain theme or readalikes for a particular title. This post is a compilation of responses for one such request.

The original request
I have a patron here looking for some good teen science fiction that is NOT set on a future dystopian Earth. She wants space travel and adventure, exploring new planets, aliens, etc. I’ve pulled a few but my current science fiction list seems to be pretty heavily slanted towards the dystopian stuff that came out after [The] Hunger Games. Does anyone have any good suggestions for her?

Suggested titles

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams
  • Avalon By Mindee Arnett
  • Losers in Space by John Barnes
  • The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
  • A Matter of Profit by Hilari Bell
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci
  • Rama series by Arthur C. Clarke
  • Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill
  • Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman
  • The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1 by P.J. Haarsma
  • Dangerous by Shannon Hale
  • 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad
  • Klaatu Diskos trilogy by Pete Hautman
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Crater series by Homer Hickam
  • Keeper of Isis by Monica Hughes
  • Living Hell by Catherine Jinks
  • These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
  • Alienated by Melissa Landers
  • Pendragon series by DJ MacHale
  • Planesrunner series by Ian McDonald
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness
  • A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix
  • Starglass and Starbreak by Phoebe North
  • Temeraire series by Naomi Novik
  • For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  • Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
  • Zoe’s Tale and Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
  • Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon
  • Life on Mars: Tales from the New Frontier, edited by Jonathan Strahan
  • Comet’s Curse series by Dom Testa
  • Dragon and Thief by Timothy Zahn
  • Any of the Star Wars or Doctor Who adventure books

Suggested graphic novels

  • Doug TenNapel’s sci-fi graphic novels
  • Forager by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
  • Star Trek and Star Wars novels and graphic novels

Suggested authors

  • Poul Anderson
  • Isaac Asimov
  • James Blish
  • Ray Bradbury
  • Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Gordon R. Dickson
  • Robert A. Heinlein
  • C.M. Kornbluth
  • Anne McCaffrey
  • Elizabeth Moon
  • Larry Niven
  • Andre Norton
  • H. Beam Piper
  • Frederik Pohl
  • Jerry Pournelle
  • James Schmitz
  • Theodore Sturgeon
  • A.E. Van Vogt
  • David Weber

Have more titles you think should belong on these lists? Add them on the YALSA wiki or leave a comment! Looking for more compiled booklists? Check out the YALSA wiki or other booklists here at The Hub.

— Gretchen Kolderup, currently reading Where Do Camels Belong? by Ken Thompson

2 thoughts on “Librarians Love: Non-Dystopian Sci-Fi”

  1. Oh I love Avalon by Mindee Arnett! That’s such a great space opera!

    False Memory by Dan Krokos is science fiction and not dystopian.

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