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Science Fiction Stories for Teenage Girls? 161

Sooner Boomer asks: "Not having met 'Mrs. Boomer' yet, I'm buying Christmas gifts for my nieces and nephews. Whether genetics or just good luck, almost all of the young 'uns are girls. I've been slowly introducing them to the classics of science fiction: Heinlein ('Podkayne of Mars', _'Starship Troopers', etc.), Asimov short stories, Ann McAffrey (the Dragonrider books), Alan Dean Foster (the Flynx books and others), Douglas Adams and Terry Prachett, some Neil Gaiman (Stardust, Good Omens), as well as the mandatory Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. This is just a partial list, but what would Slashdot consider to be good (or even essential) science fiction for teen and pre-teen girls?"
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Science Fiction Stories for Teenage Girls?

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  • Nicholas Fisk (Score:4, Informative)

    by Joel Rowbottom ( 89350 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @07:53PM (#14142828) Homepage
    Anything by Nicholas Fisk is good for that age bracket, but especially 'Highway Home' and 'Trillions'. Very accessible sci-fi for kids, although if you've already educated them in Pratchett and Heinlein you're probably way ahead of this.
    • Re:Nicholas Fisk (Score:5, Informative)

      by B'Trey ( 111263 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @08:20PM (#14143040)
      You asked about Sci-Fi but I'm also throwing in a few fantasy recommendations:

      • A Wrinkle in Time
      Madeleine L'Engle

      Any of a few score books by Andre Norton.

      Anything by Patricia A McKillip, but particularly the "Riddlemaster of Hed" series.

      Earthsea series by Ursula K LeGuin

      • Ender's Game
      by Orson Scott Card. The rest of the series is good as well (as is pretty much anything by Card) but may not appeal as much to your target audience.

      • I'd 2nd, 4rd, and 4th "A Wrinkle in Time", as well as the sequals that come after it.

        There's also another series I thought was wonderful, but I can't remember the exact titles. I think they were:
        - The White Mountains
        - The City of Gold and Lead
        - The Pool of Fire.

        It's about Earth after aliens have taken over and people are "capped" at 13 or so, and immediately start behaving differently. (Capping includes getting a wire-mesh gadget put over their skull.)

        If they're young enough, or don't mind something for a
        • I'd second the Tripod trilogy by John Christopher (White Mountains, City of Gold and Lead and Pool of Fire).

          Great stuff.
        • Ooh, thanks for reminding me about the Tripod trilogy -- I read it when I was a kid and loved it. Ought to re-read it ASAP!
          • Christopher (Score:2, Informative)

            There is also a prequel called "When the Tripods Came" (I think).

            Other essential John Christopher:

            * Empty World
            * Guardians

            Anyone who enjoys those should also like:

            * The Chrysalids (John Wyndham)
            * Futuretrack 5 (Robert Westall)
      • Re:Nicholas Fisk (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Somegeek ( 624100 )
        Here's a second vote for the Riddlemaster of Hed series. Can't believe it's not more well known.
      • Re:Nicholas Fisk (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Seumas ( 6865 )
        However, if their family is religious, you probably want to avoid a Wrinkle In Time. The religious kooks go crazy over that like they do Harry Potter.
    • I've never read Frisk, I'll have to check him out. You say that he is appropriate for "that age bracket," when this depends on what "that age bracket" means. "Teens" is a a very broad range, and in the pre-teen group you can have precocious readers.

      I dislike Foster, so I wouldn't recommend him to anyone. Likewise Piers Anthony, unless you want them to be scraping the bottom of the barrel, fiction-wise. Children don't have to read tripe just because their tastes haven't (theoretically) matured. Think of
  • by woobieman29 ( 593880 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @07:53PM (#14142832)
    What the hell do we know about girls??
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @07:54PM (#14142839) Homepage Journal []

    Regina is a relatively new science fiction writer- this is her first novel, released just this year, self-published through Lulu press. It was originally written as a romance- and thus has a good deal of appeal for the female sex. But I found it equally interesting as science fiction. It's likely to end up the first book of a series; and thus would give you additional purchases in the future. But best of all, it's available cheap ($5.00) as a PDF e-book; which would allow you to give it as a present to people on your list that you won't neccessarily be seeing for Christmas.
  • by danaris ( 525051 ) <danaris@m[ ]com ['ac.' in gap]> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @07:58PM (#14142863) Homepage

    Lackey [], who wrote the Heralds of Valdemar series, is about as perfect as you can get for a teenage girl--for one thing, three of the first books, Arrows of the Queen, Arrow's Flight, and Arrow's Fall have a teenage girl as the main character. All of them are fun to read, and most of them are at least pretty good books. Light fantasy.

    Bujold [] is the author of the Miles Vorkosigan series, which has something of everything, as well as the Chalion series and a few other books. They're also excellent. The former are usually termed "space opera" (I'd call them "light SF"), and the latter are rather deep fantasy.

    Dan Aris

    • I thought his name was not to be spoken.
      • Someone's been reading too much about Hogwarts.

        On the same line, when I went to see the latest HP movie, I saw a bumbersticker, "Republicans for Voldemort." I'm sure you can turn it into a partisan attack if you feel the need, but I would have found it just as funny if it were "Democrats for Voldemort."
    • Err. You might want to watch the Mercedes Lackey titles though, depending on the girls age. The Arrow series is really good, but some of the later books she has written are definatly not for children. Most of them have fairly strong sexual themes.

      For fantasy, you might try Elizabeth Moon's The Deed of Paksenarrion. It's a really good novel with a teenage female main character. In fact, it's an omnibum of three novels, (Over 1000 pages) and can be picked up cheap on

      I'm coming up blank on Sci
    • Oh wow. Another Bujold fan. My fave scifi author is Larry Niven, but man, Lois McMaster Bujold is a very close second. "borders of Infinity" was on sale for $1.99 about 6-7 years ago in a Barnes and Noble, and so I picked it up. If it sucked, I was only out 2 bucks, which is less than a Starbucks in the B&N stores. I was instantly hooked. I bought every other book published at that time, and read them all in 9 days. IIRC that was 13 or so books. I got NO work done that week. I haven't touched "The Spiri
    • My wife turned me on to Bujold, and she'd been attempting to get me interested in Lackey, but the latter isn't really my thing.

      However, I've managed to get her interested in a female SF author who writes strong female characters, which I'm rather proud of: Kay Kenyon []. Some of her stuff may be a little too strong for pre-teens, but any teenager, male or female, who's in to relatively intelligent ass-kickemups should enjoy it.

    • If you recommend Mercedes Lackey, you might want to take a look at one of her big influences: James Schmitz. He wrote a bunch of very nice stories; I was almost named after one of his characters. And for some reason most of his protagonists are female.
  • Foundation (Score:5, Informative)

    by OldManAndTheC++ ( 723450 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @08:02PM (#14142901)
    It's about makeup, right? :)

    Seriously though, don't miss Le Guin's "Earthsea" books, and the old Andre Norton stuff - the "Witch World" stories are good.

  • David Webber (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nhstar ( 452291 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @08:03PM (#14142905)
    I'd have to recommend the Honor Harrington Series. It's easy enough reading to be entertaining, and the story's compelling enough to bring you back for more. There's a good number of books in the series (On Basilisk Station being the first) and the main character through all but the latest is a very strong female lead.

    The books tend to be a little formulaic, but still very enjoyable.
  • by thepropain ( 851312 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @08:03PM (#14142908) Homepage
    A girl I was infatuated with got me hooked on Piers Anthony, specifically his Adept series. Good blend of sci-fi and "girly stuff" (unicorns, chivalry, etc.).
    • The PUNS, though.

      They drive me insane, I just can't read Pier's work.
      • Puns are mostly contained in the Xanth series...

        Which... Even with the puns is a fairly good series. And best of all... you can read until you want to stop :}

        He's at almost 30 books in the series. Another hint is... The earlier the book the less the puns... "A Spell for Chameleon" has very few compared to "The Color of Her Panties" and such...
    • Don't just grab anything written by Anthony, though. The Adept series is both good and fairly tame. The Xanth books are as dirty as your imagination (heavy on very vague innuendo). Anthony has some other stuff, though, that is absolutely X-rated. The title of "Pornucopia" says it all, and his "Bio of a Space Tyrant" series is very adult. I've also read some other books and short stories he wrote whose titles I don't recall, but they're probably not what you want to give to a pre-teen girl.

      • The Adept series has quite a bit more sex, especially more explicit sex, than at least the first sixteen books in the Xanth series.
      • Fourth is pretty bad, and is where I stopped (according to Amazon, there are at least seven in the series). At one point in #4, IIRC, the main woman was mid-morph between human and horse (or something), and, well, let's just say that she had to plead with the main character to "service" her, lest she have to avail herself of a nearby stallion.

        One quick (and somewhat enviable) spell later, our hero was able to accomodate her. I don't recall it being very explicit, but it's still probably not something I wo
    • Mmmmm Unicorns.
  • Recommendations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meara ( 236388 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @08:08PM (#14142945)
    Speaking as a former teenage girl...

    The Meri by Maya Bohnhoff

    Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy (start with The Crystal Cave)

    Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series (start with Magic's Pawn or Arrows of the Queen)

    David Eddings's Belgariad and Mallorean (start with Pawn of Prophecy)

    Mary Herbert's Dark Horse trilogy (start with Dark Horse)

    Trudi Canavan's Black Magician Trilogy (start with Magician's Guild)

    Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality Series (start with On a Pale Horse)

    Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept Series (start with Split Infinity)
  • Oh, yeah, one I forgot: Garth Nix []'s Sabriel series. It's really, really good. Main characters are 2 teenage girls (well, one grows up, then the other one's the main character). High and deep fantasy.

    Dan Aris

    • I read Sabriel. I really don't get what's supposed to be all that good about it. I'm sure the entire book was simply a contrivance to set up a scene in a girl's school where a bunch of people with machine guns mow down hordes of attacking zombies. (They're not called 'zombies' of course, that would give the game away, but a zombie by any other name would smell the same.) That was an entertaining scene, but really not good enough to justify reading an entire book. I suggest reading something a bit more liter
      • Well, if you'd read the 2 sequels, you'd see that there's a LOT more to it...Nix has created a very deep world, with a lot of backstory and a fascinating system of magic and Death. You'd probably see pretty much the same thing if you read Sabriel itself with an open mind, 'cause the end scene with the Ancelstierre army trying to hold back the Dead with the guns is in no way the goal of the book. There is, of course, a possibility that it was somewhat the inspiration for it, but I've had weirder inspiratio

        • I might read the sequels at some point. The machine gun scene was so like a scene from Doom it made me laugh, but otherwise I felt that Sabriel was just a passive character. But I could definitely see potential for interesting further development and Sabriel is still better than most of the fantasy out there.
  • >> Science Fiction Stories for Teenage Girls?

    If it's your first time, you can't get pregnant.
  • Seeing how you mentioned Stardust, Good Omens and a bunch of other fantasy stuff I take it you don't mean science fiction but rather books that geeks/nerds like. I'm not saying that individually these books aren't interesting but as a whole it leaves a very stunted impression of what fiction is about.

    So give them some Harry Potter. They can read some pretty good fantasy and there won't be any social stigma attached to it.

    The problem with books in general for young people is that you have to know what things
    • AFAIK most of the Big-Extended-Foundation-Saga heroes are girls. Including the girl-robot-Hari-Seldon-wife (R. Dors Venabili)
      • Brief summary of the Foundation series:

        Foundation - various dudes in space.
        Foundation and Empire - dude and his girlfriend unknowingly take the enemy of the foundation on a trip in space
        Second Foundation - Young girl travels in space looking for the second foundation
        Foundation's Edge - Two dudes try to find Earth. They pick up some chicks on the way.
        Foundation and Earth - The dudes find Earth as well as a robot.
        Prelude to Foundation - A dude meets a chick and a kid and has adventures on Trantor
        Forward the F
        • It's all the Foundation series (unless it doesn't fit).
          Since Susan Calvin until the Second Foundation.
          Susan Calvin -- amongst other stuff, creates mentalic-powers robot for the first time (Liar!) and destroys it.
          Jessie Baley was a fundamentalist.
          The Solarian woman (Gladia Delmarre) that was a murder suspect. Her Nemesis, Vasilia Aliena, super-roboticist, created R. Giskard Reventlov.
          Valona (the girl that saves the Earthman's ass) in the Currents of Space.
          You mentioned Arkady Darrell and R. Dors Venabili, bu
  • some suggestions (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @08:26PM (#14143077)
    Perhaps not all of the Dragonrider books are going to be good, but certainly the Harper Hall trilogy, about Menolly, would be better, I think. Lessa is, well, annoying, really, though admirable. Nerilka's Story and Moreta's Ride are good stories, too. And lots of other McCaffrey stories are good. The Pegasus books, the Rowan books are all good stuff. I'd avoid the most recent Pern books, but that's just me. Up to around Dolphins of Pern is a good collection, though.

    The Telzey books by Schmitz (Schmidt?) would likely be good. The classic Witches of Karres has been reprinted, I think, and I believe there's also a sequel (written by another author, of course), though I could be wrong about that.

    I see someone else has already suggested Mercedes Lackey's Arrows of the Queen books. Those are great, and much easier for a younger person to get through than the other Valdemar novels.

    You might also look at some stuff by Patricia Wrede, the Enchanted Forest books are great fun, and not just for younger folks, either. Talking to Dragons is my favourite of the series.

    Books by Tamora Pierce would be really good stuff. Multiple series by her - lots of good stuff.

    If you want more of the science fiction, then space opera is always easier for younger kids to get into.

    Scott Westerfeld is a newish author who has written some stuff that may work well. I especially liked Peeps.

    If you're into Heinlein, then I can always suggest the Moon is a Harsh Mistress. That'll always get them thinking, though ya gotta be careful - many people mistake this story as an endorsement of Libertarianism. Still - ya gotta love Professor de la Paz's philosophy, Rational Anarchy. And Manny is a funny guy. Certainly reading the novel Starship Troopers will give a whole new perspective on things that the movie 'based on' the bok didn't. :)

    The Honor Harrington novels by David Weber could certainly be appreciated by younger folks, as long as they're prepared to wade through all the 'technical' details. It's the same way you have to read Tom Clancy. Just let your eyes glaze over until you get to the story, which is always good stuff. I wish these two had editors with balls of steel and an eagerness to snip, but oh well - it's generally not wise to mess with success, and they are both very successful, indeed.

    There's always the Xanth novels by Piers Anthony (Xanthony), though that series has gone on _waaaay_ too long.

    There's the Myth Adventures books by Robert Aspirin, at least the first several; another series that's long since outlived its entertainment value.

    The Belgariad/Mallorean books by David Eddings is good high fantasy, and has fantastic characters.

    Okay, this is harder to do off the top of my head than I would've thought.

    The various "Ship Who Sang" series - written by Anne McCaffrey and others.

    Elizabeth Moon has some good military-oriented space opera. Much like Weber, but without the extraneous technical details.

    Space Angel by John Maddox Roberts
    Healer by F. Paul Wilson
    Eridahn by Robert F. Young


    I'm sure I'll think of several dozen other things on the way home from work. Maybe I'll post more later. Always a favourite topic.
    • Re:some suggestions (Score:3, Informative)

      by BDZ ( 632292 )
      Thought I'd tack my own recommendations onto this post as I whole heartedly agree with the list the poster gave.

      First, I'd like to say that I highly, highly recommend a series by Philip Pullman "His Dark Materials" the first book of which is "The Golden Compass". It's definitely more fantasy than SF, but since you mentioned Tolkien and such I thought it would be a good recommendation. Though this series is not at all Tolkienesque aside from the fact that I found the process of reading this series in my 2
    • I'll second (&etc) the recommendation for Anne McCaffrey, pretty much everything I've read by her will work. Her writing is certainly G or PG rated, and is (obviously) written from the female point of view.
    • As a former teenage girl, I strongly second the Tamora Pierce recommendation. The Song of the Lioness Quartet was my favorite series in junior high. Also strongly seconded: Mercedes Lackey (she doesn't hold up well, but my friends and I all loved the Valdemar books in high school) and Patricia C. Wrede.

      I strongly recommend Connie Willis. She's a fantastic author, and she shouldn't be over their heads, although I would suggest starting with something like Bellwether, which is both hilarious and romantic, ins
  • More Heinlein (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hakubi_Washu ( 594267 ) <> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @08:35PM (#14143137)
    Under all circumstances, more Heinlein: You can add the other "juveniles" first, the gradually increase the amount of "adult situations" over the years. Heinlein gives a few excellent examples of societies built upon different social systems and moral ideas (My own views were heavily influenced by his depictions of relationships in "Time enough for love", which I read first at the age of 13, I think. Don't if you don't want them to end up like Lapis & Lazuli, personality-wise, though :-P )

    If you want you can try leaving a few copies of John Norman's Gor around when they're teenaged, they helped me discover and understand my BDSM side (Bugger if they don't have any or aren't bright enough to differentiate fantasy from reality!). This advice is not for the faint of heart, though (Still, I'm thankful for my father having these on his library board, where I was free to read since aged about 12).

    Later again I can recommend the RGB-Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson, which offers a few great examples of scientific thinking along with idealism vs. realism, but the reading is quite dry, so wait till they're 16 or so.

    From the top of my head I can also think of these (Don't consider them "recommended", though. They were simply the ones I read...), that I liked quite well then (but then, I am male, though I doubt reading preferences are much more than behavior adopted from the surrounding society): The "Riverworld" series by Philip Jose Farmer, "The ragged astronauts" series ("Wooden spaceships" & "The Fugitive Worlds" are the other two, I believe) by Bob Shaw, the "Omega 2" books by Bo Anders (were particularly intersting when I was younger still (8,9?), so you might want to check them out. The author is german, so they might be difficult to find), "Hellstroms Hive" by Frank Herbert (A lot easier to comprehend than "Dune", but grizzly nonetheless) and finally "House of stairs" by William Sleator (Rather easy to read as well, certainly a "juvenile")
    • The older of my two daughters loves to read. Being a big Heinlein fan, I thought I'd entice her with Podkayne of Mars (mentioned by the OP), but she wasn't that into it, and never got through it. She read Have Space Suit - Will Travel, however, and loved it. Well, the plain truth is that Have Space Suit is a much better story. Maybe the moral is that a good story is a good story, regardless of the reader's sex or the protagonist's sex. I'm currently reading Red Planet aloud to both my kids. I hadn't known i
  • William Sleator (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ParticleGirl ( 197721 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {lriGelcitraPtodhsalS}> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @08:43PM (#14143189) Journal
    When I was a preteen girl I loved books by William Sleator []. It was only years later that I realized how technologically/scientifically advanced they were-- at the time I just loved the stories. My favorites were The Boy Who Reversed Himself [] (which to this day shapes how I think about 4+ dimensional geometry) and House of Stairs [] (which I forgot about completely until I was in Psych 101 and then had to track it down and reread it), though they were all good; great plots and characters and cool SciFi. I can't vouch for anything written after about 1990.
    • As a completely off-topic aside, his brother Daniel Sleator is a CS prof who re-wrote the internet chess server code, morphing it into what is now the internet chess club [].
      I'm always serious, never more so than when I'm being flippant. -- Cr. Ziller
  • Xenogenesis by Octavia E. Butler is a compilation of 3 of her books Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago. They are in my opinion some of the best science fiction I have ever read.
  • Wrinkle in Time... Wind in the Door... Many waters...

    Quite good books that appeal heavily to both genders. Edges a bit more into the fantasy than Sci-Fi... but great stories all the same.
  • by trs9000 ( 73898 ) <trs9000@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @08:50PM (#14143243)
    Have they asked for science fiction? (Disregard if so). Or shown any interest in reading it, in the least? It seems clear you are into it, and that's pretty awesome. But maybe you should aim to buy something that your nieces and nephews really enjoy. Something you know they will enjoy, based on their tastes, not yours. Not something that will collect dust on their shelves. You don't want to be the weird uncle (I'm assuming you're male due to the nature of your question) who always gives dopy books none of them like.

    Probabilistically, what are the odds that they are all interested in sci-fi/fantasy? Nothing is "essential" as you put it, it's all a matter of taste. I read some growing up, but disliked a lot of it. So even if they are studious or like to read (an assumption right there, maybe a CD is what they would really appreciate) the topics could be as far ranging as biography, architecture, 18th century literature.

    Giving the same genre across the board doesn't speak to any of them personally, and showcases what you think they should be interested in, not what they actually seek out themselves.

    And, I believe, the season of giving is about selflessness and doing for others. Perhaps, rethink your strategy?

    And if not, all these other suggestions here are good too.
    • One of the things that 'giving a gift' can represent is giving someone else something that you like in hopes that they may like it as well. It's a concept called 'sharing.'
    • How is a child supposed to know what they like and dislike if they aren't exposed to a wide range of options?

      They might hate it, in which case, when the next present giving celebration comes round, get them something else.

      They might love it, in which case, you can choose different authors, representing different arms of scifi, safe in the knowledge they'll love it.

      Pandering to their immature whims at the expense of broadening horizons and life experience is exactly what has lead to the stereotypical spoilt
    • Read the ask slashdot.

      He clearly states that he has already introduced them to sci fi books. Either they like them and he's giving them more (he's doing the rightish thing), or they don't like them and haven't told him (can't really blame him), or they don't like them, told him, and he's still pushing them on them (he's a jerk).

      No matter which case you have, really, it seems clear to me that delivering recommendations that the girls are more likely to enjoy is in their best interest. ;-)
  • by XoXus ( 12014 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @08:53PM (#14143254)
    Why would this automatically be different to SciFi stories for Teenage Boys?
    • by daeley ( 126313 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @09:47PM (#14143553) Homepage
      Why would this automatically be different to SciFi stories for Teenage Boys?

      Didn't your school have the Special Assemblies where the girls and boys were separated and watched the different films? Well, the girls watched The Abyss and the Boys watched Predator. ;D
    • Because boys are different to girls?

      (There are some websites around that will allow you to verify this visually, I've heard)
  • My twelve-year-old is a huge HP fan (all of my kids are) but she also enjoyed the Narnia series, Ender's Game, and Wrinkle in Time. She read the Hobbit, but said it was hard to finish (it does kinda drag in the middle). Another consideration in this age bracket is Accelerated Reader. If the lids you're buying for have Accelerated Reader at school, then you get bonus points for any book that's on the AR list.
    • Well this shows how totally out of touch I am with books these days. When you said your daughter was a huge HP fan, my first thought was Lovecraft and not Rowling.Cthulu for kids, what a concept, although I did notice at Barnes and Noble that they have a "Edgar Allan Poe for Children".
  • by dreamer-of-rules ( 794070 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @09:06PM (#14143341)
    The Deed of Paksenarrion - by Elizabeth Moon

    It is in the Tolkein genre, but more personal, less "grand armies crashing". It's more accessible than Tolkein, but still grand. The hero is an -ine, which makes it a little more appropriate for the nieces. Everyone I have introduced to the book has loved it, including my in-the-Marines brother. And all of my sisters.

    If they are in the Christian-way, I can also recommend the Stephan R Lawhead books: The Dragon King trilogy and the Empyrion saga.

    My other favorites are more mainstream, and have probably already been mentioned.

    One more book to consider is The Count of Monte Cristo. Long, but oh so good. I first read it when I was in sixth grade with a five-day flu, and it has been on my top 5 list ever since.

    • Yes, it's not Sci Fi, but it's *quite* a good book - I've re-read it several times already, and I don't even own a copy.

      It's a bit dark, but more...realistic then most fantasy is, and it's quite refreshing to read.

      I find some of her other stuff a little silly, but not the Deed of Paksennarion.

      Highly, highly recommended.

  • A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, IMO, is a good book to give to young girls as covers a lot of things which may be useful later in their lives. It's not easy to find, but definitely worth it.
    • The parent is of course referring to a fictional "book" and its author, both presented in "The Diamond Age or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" by Neal Stephenson. A very good read, though not exactly for preteens, I'd say. It's esier if you already understand nano-technology and turing-machines :-)
  • Philip Pullman (Score:3, Informative)

    by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @09:29PM (#14143469) Homepage
    I would highly reccommend anything in the "His Dark Materials" series by Philip Pullman []. It's age-appropriate, both genders appreciate it, and the story is absolutely beautiful and really unlike anything else in the genre.

    That said, I think you're going in the right direction with Pratchett and Gaiman.

    Tolkien's always worthwhile as well, but i'm sure you already know that. If you have any relations you particularly dislike or want to intimidate, you can always give them the Silmirillion.
  • I don't mean to troll the "Ask Slashdot" deal here, but this bugs me. It's the holiday season, where you're buying gifts for loved ones - it seems to me that you're gifting them with stuff that YOU want, not giving them stuff that THEY want. I know that getting them a Barnes & Noble gift card (or $localbookstore gift card, whatever) is a bit impersonal, but they're teenagers - let them choose stuff that they'll like. And if you want to recommend sci-fi books to them, then by all means, do so, but don
    • Ah, but the problem is, there is such a HUGE bredth of literature out there, and books have become so expensive, that it is easy to get stuck in one genre and never come out. I mean, if you buy a book and don't like it, you are out up to $20.00 for a hardback. A lot of people just stick to their known authors and series. They don't venture out until something shows up on the bestseller list or Oprah's book club.

      Introducing someone to a wonderful new experience is going to be a much more memorable christm
  • by doug ( 926 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @09:49PM (#14143556)
    The sci-fi/fantasy genre is pretty large, so you should get your hints from the reader, not from the peanut gallery. Blasters vs. unicorns, dragons vs. starships. Space Opera, satire, philosophy: the scope is just too large.

    When I was in college I tried to get various people hooked on the genre and I had the most luck with the Hobart Floyt and Alacrity Fitzhugh trillogy by Daley. The first one (Requiem for a Ruler of Worlds) did the trick. And for some reason, Moorcock's Elric never had much success. Go figure.

    Although you do mention Pratchett in your queston, I have to bring up _Wee Free Men_. It was a fun read, the protagonist was a girl "coming of age", and was targetted to the pre-adult reader. And to agree with many of the earlier posts, LeGuin's Earthsea Trilogy was another excellent choice.

    - doug
  • Taflak Lysandra and Brightsuit McBear are a couple of his works that are written expressly for the young reader. You will likely have to get them from AbeBooks. I can also recommend his Lando Calrisian trilogy, it's quite readable and in a known "universe". an=l+neil+smith&y=6&x=48 [] an=l+neil+smith&y=0&tn=brightsuit&x=0 [] an=l+neil+smith&y []
  • _Treason_ is my first choice when recommending scifi to somone who hasn't yet explored the medium. It would be a good book for teenage girls. Unfortunately it is out of print and is difficult to find in used bookstores.
  • by doc modulo ( 568776 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:06PM (#14143908)
    An information overview page []

    Review of the first DVD []

    A general review. []
  • Science Fiction and fantasy aren't the only sort of mind-expanding literature. Mysteries are good for the mind, also. Therefore the classic Nancy Drew books are equally worthy.
  • There have been many good suggestions. However a warning is important: go for the early stuff the authors wrote, not what they write after they quit their day job. A few (Andre Norton comes to mind) managed to continuously write quality books. However many authors do not. (Mercedes Lackey) Those latter authors often get worse and worse over time.

    I wish publishers had the nerve to stand up to established authors and tell them that this garbage would never have been printed if they were new, so why

  • Here's an idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by poopdeville ( 841677 )
    I know I'll be modded a troll or off-topic, but I'm being sincere. Why focus on science fiction? These are those girl's formative years. Why not give them a novel that will help them form a realistic conception of themselves and their relationship to the rest of the world? "Nausea" by Sarte and most of Camus' corpus is all terrific. "The Trial" by Kafka is another great book, and ends with a surreal chapter that leaves you breathless.
  • I was never a teenage girl (and I don't play one on TV), but you might consider something by Marion Zimmer Bradley. In particular, I was thinking of The Firebrand. It's a heavily fictionalized (can a myth be fictionalized?) retelling the story of Troy, from the perspective of a young Kassandra. Might be too long for a preteen, but an older child would probably enjoy it. The novel has some great strong female characters.
    • I wasn't sure if I should mod this up or comment, so I'll prepend a comment with "Mod Parent Up"
      Marion Zimmer Bradley is a great choice for young women- or anyone. Along with The Firebrand, I would recommend The Mists of Avalon- which is based on the story of King Arthur and Avalon, though Mograine is the main character, instead of King Arthur (TNT did a very good movie adaption of this which is available on DVD too).
      You might also look into the Harry Potter books, which are quite good and quite popular.
    • Note sometimes the fantasy and science fiction overlap
      For fantasy

      Marion Zimmer Bradley, sword and sorceress series, and her darkover series.
      MZB taught Mercedes Lackey (who I recommend too - though she can get a bit too much into child abuse issues for my taste)

      Anne McAffrey - does they like dragons, and mental telepathy?

      For Science fiction
      I second:
      Lois McMaster Bujold - especially Cordelia's Honour and the Warrior's Apprentice series - a lot of these have been "omnibussed" ie two novels in one, so check wha
  • Anything by Kim Wilkins [], Freda Warrington [], Storm Constantine [] or even Starhawk [] should be fairly interesting to anyone who's interested in depth to their characters. The genre is (mostly) "Dark Fantasy".
  • I'm surprised nobody has mentioned "Rite of Passage" by Alexei Panshin. It's a great story for any preteen, but especially girls. Heck, it's a good read for adults, too.
  • My vote is for the "The People" series of short stories by Zenna Henderson []. It's usually regarded as fantasy, but I've always considered it firmly in the sci-fi camp.

    The backdrop of the stories is a spaceship of human-looking aliens ("The People") that crash-lands in the American Southwest, scattering individuals and groups over a large area. The aliens have certain abilities not usually seen in the Southwest (telekinesis, etc.), but have to try to blend in with the local population nevertheless. Not onl
  • Redwall Series (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Faizdog ( 243703 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @09:00AM (#14146092)
    This is more fantasy, not Sci Fi, but the Redwall Series were fascinating when I was younger. Written very well, in depth, detailed and very interesting to all sorts of teens. Start with Redwall, and if they like it, the series has like 10 books now I think.
  • Did a quick find and didn't see her [] name, but she's a fantastic author. She's written more sci-fi that I enjoy than all the other female scifi authors I've found so far put together. I suggest starting with the Chanur cycle, which is four books long (the first three are available in one volume.) Also quite excellent is the Morgaine cycle, which is also sci-fi, and also four books IIRC. She's one of my favorite authors and has been since I was in Junior High or so.
  • There have been a LOT of good suggestions in this thread. I don't think I've seen anyone mention C.J. Cherryh, but she was one of my top-notch favorite authors from 5th grade through mid-highschool. She focuses a lot on alien cultures in her different series, and as far as I can recall, they are very 'clean'.

    Some of the suggested authors have varying levels of 'clean'ness. McAffrey was typically quite clean in her earlier Pern novels, with the exception of a reference to the unf-unfing in the very fi
  • As the father of two daughters, the younger still technically a teenager at 19, I have a couple of recommendations. First, Frank Baum's Oz books. There are many more than the well-known Wizard of Oz. You can probably find a good boxed set of paperbacks for a reasonable price. My daughters loved them. Second, Watership Down. Third,The Wind In the Willows. These last two are not really SF but fantasy/talking animal books.

    A great thing you can do that will be remembered by them later is to read to t
  • It's not science fiction, but since you mention CS Lewis, I thought I'd recommend Till we have Faces []. It's not as well known as some of his other books (the space trilogy, Chronicles of Narnia, etc...) but is very good. It is a retelling of the story of Psyche and Cupid [] from greek mythology, from the point of view of Psyche's sister.
  • it's hard for me to say what might be appealing to a girl specifically. But relative to age range, I would suggest some stuff like:

    1. the Madeline L'Engle "Wrinkle in Time" books

    2. The Chronicles of Narnia

    3. Some of the more sci-fi'ish "Choose Your Own Adventure" [] books

    4. Any of the Tom Swift / Tom Swift Jr. adventures []

    5. The Mad Scientists Club []

    6. Any of the Doctor Who novelisations.

    7. and while not exactly sci-fi, how about some of the "The Three Investigators" [] stories?
    • Oh, and...

      8. A good anthology of H.P. Lovecraft stories. Closer to horror than sci-fi, but probably good stuff for teens to read.. I wish I'd discovered Lovecraft sooner.

      9. 1984 by George Orwell. May result in the reader developing an aversion to statism and government, but hey..

      10. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

      11. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card. I would recommend this *extra* highly if the would be recipient has been identified in his/her school system as "advanced" or "gifted" in any way and esp
  • is a Cylon! She's currently locked up in the improvised brig, so that might be why you can't find her.
  • His books are scaled and plotted for kids, but without talking down to them. Highly recommended. He's written some adult stuff too, which is also very good, but he's worth checking out for his teen books.

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