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5 Favourite Sci-Fi Books For Children - Tom Huddleston

My futuristic adventure story FloodWorld and its sequel DustRoad are set centuries from today, in a world reeling from the effects of climate change. I’ve always loved sci-fi stories, from intergalactic action to time-travel tales to speculative fiction about humanity’s future. Here are five of my favourites for younger readers.

Starstormers

Nicholas Fisk

I never miss an opportunity to tell readers about this amazing, underappreciated five-book series that I adored when I was young. It’s about four kids who get left behind on Earth when their parents fly off to start a new colony, and decide to build their own spaceship out of a hollow asteroid and go after them. The stories don’t always make complete sense - the bad guy is a weird alien dictator called the Octopus Emperor, who can control evil dust - but the characters are amazing: Makenzi, Vawn, Ispex and Tsu are maybe my favourite group of heroes in sci-fi.

The Iron Man

Ted Hughes & Chris Mould

As you’d expect from a former Poet Laureate, this story about a mysterious metal giant who befriends a farm boy is gorgeously written and hauntingly strange. The origins of the Iron Man are never fully explained - he just arrives one night, starts feasting on farm equipment, and after some initial misgivings is accepted into the local community. The book was retitled The Iron Giant in America (so as not to confuse the readers of Marvel comics), and was later turned into a really lovely animated film.

Orion Lost

Alastair Chisholm

This is a really new book, set on a stranded colonisation ship millions of miles out in space, far from help or rescue. There are aliens and space pirates and explosions in the engine room, all the stuff I love in blockbuster sci-fi. And Alastair Chisholm’s writing is so crisp and clear, you can really picture the story as it unfolds. I hope it’s a massive success so we get more books like this one - old-school, imaginative, exciting space opera.

Railhead

Philip Reeve

I’m always amazed by the sheer scale of Philip Reeve’s imagination. Having created giant mobile cities in the Mortal Engines books, he turned to interstellar sci-fi for this story set in a multi-planetary universe linked by the Great Network, a web of wormholes travelled by huge, hyper-intelligent trains. The plot is wildly complicated but super exciting, drawing in everything from god-like computer brains to swarms of sentient insects, and Reeve’s writing is, as always, very sharp and funny.

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams

This sci-fi comedy classic wasn’t written for kids, but I loved it at age 12. Perfectly ordinary Arthur Dent is surprised to learn that his best friend Ford Prefect isn’t from Guildford but actually from Beletegeuse, and that Earth is about to be destroyed to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. The pair flee the planet, and set off on a wild series of bizarre, hilarious adventures. Douglas Adams’s Hitch-Hiker novels are brilliant and very funny - but even as a book lover, I must admit that the absolute best version is the original BBC Radio play, which you can listen to online.

Many thanks to Tom for compiling this sci-fi booklist! We couldn't leave it there without adding Tom's own books into the mix:

FloodWorld

Tom Huddleston

A fast-paced futuristic adventure story with a cinematic feel. Imagine London in the future, when rising sea levels have submerged half of the city. Privileged citizens live in the central zone, protected by a huge wall. Meanwhile the less fortunate scrape a living in The Shanties, a squalid area of flooded tower blocks and rickety boardwalks. In this fractured world, the only thing that unites the inhabitants from inside and outside the wall is their fear of a different race: The Mariners. Shanty children Kara and Joe find themselves embroiled in a world of danger. As they struggle first to escape and then to protect their neighbourhood, they are forced to confront their prejudices and discover that the world is more complicated than they thought...

DustRoad

Tom Huddleston

The brilliant post-apocalyptic sequel to FloodWorld. This is a fast-paced adventure story set in a world ravaged by climate change. In the deserts of North America, an army is on the march. Led by a band of sinister brothers, they are determined to confront and destroy their sworn enemies - the Mariners. With the future of civilisation at stake, can Kara and Joe make it across an entire continent in time to stop the war?

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avourite Sci-Fi Books For Children - Tom Huddleston My futuristic adventure story FloodWorld and its sequel DustRoad are set centuries from today, in a world reeling from the effects of climate change. I’ve always loved sci-fi stories, from intergalactic action to time-travel tales to speculative fiction about humanity’s future. Here are five of my favourites for younger readers.  Starstormers Nicholas Fisk I never miss an opportunity to tell readers about this amazing, underappreciated five-book series that I adored when I was young. It’s about four kids who get left behind on Earth when their parents fly off to start a new colony, and decide to build their own spaceship out of a hollow asteroid and go after them. The stories don’t always make complete sense - the bad guy is a weird alien dictator called the Octopus Emperor, who can control evil dust - but the characters are amazing: Makenzi, Vawn, Ispex and Tsu are maybe my favourite group of heroes in sci-fi. Buy Online The Iron Man Ted Hughes & Chris Mould As you’d expect from a former Poet Laureate, this story about a mysterious metal giant who befriends a farm boy is gorgeously written and hauntingly strange. The origins of the Iron Man are never fully explained - he just arrives one night, starts feasting on farm equipment, and after some initial misgivings is accepted into the local community. The book was retitled The Iron Giant in America (so as not to confuse the readers of Marvel comics), and was later turned into a really lovely animated film. Buy Online Orion Lost Alastair Chisholm This is a really new book, set on a stranded colonisation ship millions of miles out in space, far from help or rescue. There are aliens and space pirates and explosions in the engine room, all the stuff I love in blockbuster sci-fi. And Alastair Chisholm’s writing is so crisp and clear, you can really picture the story as it unfolds. I hope it’s a massive success so we get more books like this one - old-school, imaginative, exciting space opera. Buy Online Railhead Philip Reeve I’m always amazed by the sheer scale of Philip Reeve’s imagination. Having created giant mobile cities in the Mortal Engines books, he turned to interstellar sci-fi for this story set in a multi-planetary universe linked by the Great Network, a web of wormholes travelled by huge, hyper-intelligent trains. The plot is wildly complicated but super exciting, drawing in everything from god-like computer brains to swarms of sentient insects, and Reeve’s writing is, as always, very sharp and funny Buy Online The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams This sci-fi comedy classic wasn’t written for kids, but I loved it at age 12. Perfectly ordinary Arthur Dent is surprised to learn that his best friend Ford Prefect isn’t from Guildford but actually from Beletegeuse, and that Earth is about to be destroyed to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. The pair flee the planet, and set off on a wild series of bizarre, hilarious adventures. Douglas Adams’s Hitch-Hiker novels are brilliant and very funny - but even as a book lover, I must admit that the absolute best version is the original BBC Radio play, which you can listen to online. Buy Online Many thanks to Tom for compiling this sci-fi booklist! We couldn't leave it there without adding Tom's own books into the mix:  Floodworld Tom Huddleston A fast-paced futuristic adventure story with a cinematic feel. Imagine London in the future, when rising sea levels have submerged half of the city. Privileged citizens live in the central zone, protected by a huge wall. Meanwhile the less fortunate scrape a living in The Shanties, a squalid area of flooded tower blocks and rickety boardwalks. In this fractured world, the only thing that unites the inhabitants from inside and outside the wall is their fear of a different race: The Mariners. Shanty children Kara and Joe find themselves embroiled in a world of danger. As they struggle first to escape and then to protect their neighbourhood, they are forced to confront their prejudices and discover that the world is more complicated than they thought...  Buy Online DustRoad Tom Huddleston The brilliant post-apocalyptic sequel to FloodWorld. This is a fast-paced adventure story set in a world ravaged by climate change. In the deserts of North America, an army is on the march. Led by a band of sinister brothers, they re determined to confront and destroy their sworn enemies - the Mariners. With the future of civilisation at stake, can Kara and Joe make it across an entire continent in time to stop the war?

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, BooksForTopics earns from qualifying purchases.  Click here to learn more. 

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