SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

MG realistic fantasy/SF suggestions anyone?

Discussion started on

I'd like to read some MG that is science fiction but done in a somewhat realistic manner. Contemporary, not a huge amount of world building, not really a superhero/superpower theme (like Savvy) but more of an event or object that is science/technology based in a contemporary setting. Is there any such book? YA suggestions are fine too, but I'd prefer MG. Thanks!  :)
#1 - February 29, 2012, 08:24 AM

One of my favorite books that fits this description is called Barbary by Vonda McIntyre.  (It may be out of print now, but you can often find copies in SF type shops).  I would call this book MG, though it seems packaged as YA, sometimes, or even adult.

The story is a fairly simple one of an orphaned girl (age 12?) finding a new home among kind-hearted people.  The difference is that they live on a space station and are getting ready to make first contact.  But don't get me wrong--this isn't some cheesy "Little Orphan Annie in Space" book.  McIntyre seems very careful about presenting good, realistic science.  The main character finds space in reality to be very different from the movie-and-tv-and-book type space she imagined in her head before she got there.  The tone is ultimately one of hope.

The author also deliberately (I think) made most of the characters strong, independent females.  So, yay!
#2 - February 29, 2012, 09:24 AM

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region newengland
I recently read FOUND by Margaret Peterson Haddix which I think fits this description quite well: a realistic setting with a sci-fi event.


ETA: And you might also want to check out WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead.
#3 - February 29, 2012, 10:13 AM
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 10:15 AM by annastan »
www.annastan.com
Tween novel and picture book author

Holy cow! Have you seen Kate Messner's Eye of the Storm?? Gosh, it looks exciting. It's set just a bit in the future.
#4 - February 29, 2012, 12:02 PM

@ Jaina--I will look around for BARBARY. That one would be especially great for a mental reboot if I need to revise the book that's out on submission. That book is space-oriented sci-fi but also realistic and set on Earth. Thanks for the recommendation.

@ annastan--I have read WHEN YOU REACH ME. It's definitely in the ballpark of what I'm trying to read more of as I work on a new book. But I'm looking for the science aspect to be something more along the lines of Jurrasic Park or The Fly, where there is a logical but not yet real explanation for the science. I'll check out FOUND for sure. I'm looking for ideas of how authors handle the blend of the real and the not-yet-real in MG books. This is for a new book I'm writing that is more humorous/action/adventure than hard sci-fi.

@ Tamilyn--I haven't checked out EYE OF THE STORM. I'll put it on the list. This is one of my favorite parts of writing. I've got a strong start, characters I'm happy with and a general plot direction but I love reading, reading, reading and thinking, thinking, thinking while the ideas percolate. I was at the store today and got two fun ideas around the science part of the story randomly as I walked around the grocery. I love that! Thanks for the ideas.

Two or three years back, I posted that I was looking for ideas for wacky school fundraisers. The answers I got, set me in a direction that really made the story I was writing really funny. I don't think I even used any of the suggestions but the ideas generated more ideas. Thanks for the book suggestions! I will definitely check them out.
#5 - February 29, 2012, 12:18 PM

You might like Crunch by Leslie Connor... it's sort of mg dystopian, about a near future gas shortage when the parents of a family are stranded away from home and the kids have to fend for themselves. Great characters and a very plausible plot. Doesn't read science fiction-y, but certainly focuses on important environmental issues.
#6 - February 29, 2012, 02:39 PM

Thanks RuthD!
#7 - February 29, 2012, 04:34 PM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI RA
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region switzerland

@ annastan--I have read WHEN YOU REACH ME. It's definitely in the ballpark of what I'm trying to read more of as I work on a new book. But I'm looking for the science aspect to be something more along the lines of Jurrasic Park or The Fly, where there is a logical but not yet real explanation for the science. I'll check out FOUND for sure. I'm looking for ideas of how authors handle the blend of the real and the not-yet-real in MG books. This is for a new book I'm writing that is more humorous/action/adventure than hard sci-fi.


Have you read First Light, also by Rebecca Stead? The father of the protagonist is a geologist, and global warming is a theme - I would classify it as a realistic sf/fantasy

Elisabeth
#8 - March 01, 2012, 03:22 AM
I tweet: @FictionForge

The Gardener, by the BlueBoard's own S.A. Bodeen might skew a bit YA, but WHAT'S MORE FUN THAN PHOTOSYNTHETIC PEOPLE??? :clover1:
#9 - March 01, 2012, 01:00 PM

ecb

Guest
Two books come to mind. One is older (I read it in 5th grade or thereabouts)--THE GIRL WITH THE SILVER EYES by Willo Davis Roberts, which is about a group of children born with psychic birth defects as a side effect of medication their moms took (or made? They may have worked for the drug company) when they were pregnant. And trust me when I say the book makes that sound a lot more realistic than I just did! (Amazon tells me it was just reissued last March, so it must still be relevant!)

The next is actually more historical fiction about science--Ellen Klages's THE GREEN GLASS SEA, about a girl growing up at Los Alamos during the building/testing of the atomic bomb. It's very realistic, and despite taking place 70 years ago, should give you a really good take on scientists working at the forefront of cutting edge and "futuristic" technology.
#10 - March 02, 2012, 12:55 PM

@EL, Tamilyn and ecb--thanks for the continued suggestions. These are all good suggestions. I'm fine with reading YA. I like to read for ideas and I'm especially happy that none of the suggestions are similar to my idea but are close enough to give me good perspectives.
#11 - March 02, 2012, 02:06 PM

Member.
Poster Plus
This is one of my favorite parts of writing. I've got a strong start, characters I'm happy with and a general plot direction but I love reading, reading, reading and thinking, thinking, thinking while the ideas percolate. I was at the store today and got two fun ideas around the science part of the story randomly as I walked around the grocery. I love that! Thanks for the ideas.

Two or three years back, I posted that I was looking for ideas for wacky school fundraisers. The answers I got, set me in a direction that really made the story I was writing really funny. I don't think I even used any of the suggestions but the ideas generated more ideas. Thanks for the book suggestions! I will definitely check them out.

I don't have any reading suggestions. Sorry. I just wanted to react to something in your comment.

In writing longer stories, and now as I prepare to write my first novel, I tend to spend awhile reading other novels which are related to my topic. They give me new perspectives and ideas. I didn't know anyone else did that, so I liked reading your post.  :yup
#12 - March 03, 2012, 02:03 PM

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region midsouth
New!
I just finished reading the wonderful YA book "Across the Sky" ... but it is set hundreds of years in the future on board a spaceship. That being said, the opening sequence is set in modern times and is one of the craziest/most intriguing opening sequences I've read and the science is a believable continuation of modern day science.

I'm trying to think of something MG ... having a hard time ... although another Margaret Peterson Haddix suggestion is Running Out of Time.
#13 - March 15, 2012, 04:48 PM
« Last Edit: March 15, 2012, 04:51 PM by andregirl »
www.andreabrame.com  |  Twitter: http://twitter.com/Andrea_Brame  |  Instagram: @andreabrame

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.