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Books For Readers Who Love Sci-Fi

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Tom Huddleston shares his sci-fi recommendations.

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.

Nicholas Fisk
Chapter book

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.

Ted Hughes
 & Chris Mould
Chapter book

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.

Alastair Chisholm
Chapter book

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.

Philip Reeve
Chapter book

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.

Tom Huddleston
Chapter book

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…

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