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Gateway Science Fiction Books

By John Caligiuri

The question of what the best science fiction book would be to hand a young reader to get them hooked on science fiction novels is an interesting one. Usually, I would expect that many teen readers nose around the sci fi genre after watching Fantasy movie series like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, and the classic sci fi movie series Matrix, Terminator, Star Wars and Hunger Games.

The book selection I would make for them would be one of the classic writers: Frank Herbert (Dune), Ray Bradbury (Martian Chronicles) or Isaac Asimov (I Robot, Foundation trilogy). If they really relate to the movies, I would shift to the popular YA stuff (Hunger Games, The Giver, Ender's Game)

I know a good place to start might be the big-name sci fi books like Dune or The Martian Chronicles (which are both on my recommend to-read list for everybody). However, and I say this tongue in cheek, the absolute ideal first book would be my Cocytus Sci Fi series. Outside of the fact that I wrote it what are the elements that I believe would hook a new reader:

  1. Non-stop action against an evil and seemingly invincible foe
  2. A flawed main character. One who is naïve, completely out of his element but with a will of iron.
  3. A universe that is bizarre but, at the same time, comprehensible to the reader.
  4. Unlike fantasy novels, a good sci fi book needs to be based on plausible technology.
  5. Aliens that can be seen as "real" people (Both good guys and bad guys).

Science Fiction is a fascinating genre, that can ignore boundaries that limit other forms of fiction. It can set up analogies that enable a young reader to see life from different perspectives. It could give their dreams wings and the realization that their only limitation is the breath of their imagination.






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