Sci Fi Summer, need suggestions

So Im trying to hatch ideas for some summer brainwashing enlightenment of my kid and her little (soon to be) 8th grade friends. {rubs hands together wickedly} Thinking “Movie Night”? maybe? or something. Still very vague…. brainstorming phase.

Asking DharmaBums for recs, suggestions for sci-fi movies and/or books that would be age appropriate for very smart middle school kids, yet interesting, and more so … that have some redeemable underlying message. I’ve heard good things about the Dune movie but I’m not sure if my daughter and her friends would enjoy it. I’m also thinking about movies like Avatar and Star Trek. There are so many to choose from!

A few for starters below the hump.


Here’s one I found just in a little search, I know nothing about it: Moon (2009).

I would like to have them watch 2001 A Space Odyssey for the kick off. lol.


And I will take this opportunity to encourage all of you to read our favorite from last summer:  Hunger Games, first of a trilogy, the second of which (buy both at once) is Catching Fire. The third and last, Mockingjay, is set to release in August. I can’t tell you enough how much I loved these books. devilstower liked it too, had a comment, but I’d have to hunt that down…. found it. I can recommend it enough, it’s an intense “can’t put it down” type book.

Hurry up and read it before they ruin it with a movie. lol.

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games.” The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat’s sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

At this point, I still have to work on convincing Kid this is a great idea. She’s not too sure it’s hip enough I guess. Hopefully her tres cool new “BF” will tip it for me. LOL.

So… whatchoo got?


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  1. DH also suggested Fahrenheit 451…lol.

  2. … anything by Octavia Butler and Ursula LeGuin (her “Earthsea Trilogy” is great for young and old).

    Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy.

    Anne McCaffrey’s books about the planet Pern and dragons are all addictive.

    I’ve been an SF addict since I was 13.  These are the first that come to mind, but there are so many wonderful books.

    Movies … Blade Runner, Time Bandits, The Illustrated Man with Rod Steiger.

  3. Well as far as books go, I personally could not imagine putting together a reading list for smart teens that did not include the immensely witty  Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. There was a movie that is not nearly as good, but that sort of thing is a matter of taste I suppose.

    More obscure but also humorous and fun that I enjoyed as a teen is They’re Made Out of Meat by Terry Bison. It is just a short story but it did have a video adaptation available.

    I would second the Foundation Trilogy and Blade Runner for more serious works of science fiction.

    I will think on it, I would hate to recommend something ill suited for younger reader/audience.

  4. Very, very analog as far as special effects, but a good flick.

    • RiaD on May 18, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    where to start….

    i agree w/NPK.. Earthsea Trilogy & Pern are both fascinating & addictive…

    Time Bandits is fantastic movie… fabulous cast, great scenery… written by michael palin & terry gilliam

    it is on you-tube

    any of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld are fantastic… they are tongue-in-cheek funny, set in another world but yet deal with the problems of this world.

    one of these discworlds is now a movie (& pratchett has a bit part!) the colour of magic this is available from netflix. be sure to get the british version (coloUr of magic) it is better.

    one of Pratchett’s i think EVERYone should read is Nation. this is not a discworld novel. it is labeled as grades 7-10 & it explores many ideas that i think teenagers especially should think about.

    from an editorial review at amazon

    Worlds are destroyed and cultures collide when a tsunami hits islands in a vast ocean much like the Pacific. Mau, a boy on his way back home from his initiation period and ready for the ritual that will make him a man, is the only one of his people, the Nation, to survive. Ermintrude, a girl from somewhere like Britain in a time like the 19th century, is on her way to meet her father, the governor of the Mothering Sunday islands. She is the sole survivor of her ship (or so she thinks), which is wrecked on Mau’s island. She reinvents herself as Daphne, and uses her wits and practical sense to help the straggling refugees from nearby islands who start arriving. When raiders land on the island, they are led by a mutineer from the wrecked ship, and Mau must use all of his ingenuity to outsmart him. Then, just as readers are settling in to thinking that all will be well in the new world that Daphne and Mau are helping to build, Pratchett turns the story on its head.

    C.J.Cherryh’s Merovingen Nights series deals with pollution & alternate solutions. (& lots of other stuff)

    all except the first one are written by many different authors with Cherryh weaving the tales into a cohesive book.

    part of a review found at amazon

    Like all of her books, C.J. Cherryh starts small, with a character we think of as normal and a daily event. Altair Jones, the main female character, rescues a man who is tossed into one of the canals. This is normal – bodies are always being tossed in by gangs. But he lived and happens to be a high-born. He also happens to be in the middle of something that seems to get bigger and bigger as the story moves along. By saving him Altair might have also gotten herself involved with a mess that could end up with HER in the canals.

    The dangers increase as the knots in this plot are untied and we get close to the truth about what is going on and why. C.J. Cherryh is an artist, crafting the story carefully from start to finish, she never wastes a page, a word or a letter.  

    these are one of my favorite series but may be a bit advanced for your girls….

    hope this helps. if i think of anything else i’ll let you know.

  5. Books

    Dark Mission by Richard Hoagland


    Richard Dolan-long time UFO researcher

    Michael Schratt-research about military classified planes


    Exopolitics-the politics of ETs

    For a more positive outlook though Divine Cosmos may provide a counter to the current future dystopia.

  6. not hard sci-fi (and you have some great recommends there) but I would recommend the Paksenarrion series by Elizabeth Moon.


  7. Silent Running comes to mind….

  8. I cant believe DH just found this, its on TMC… lol.

  9. …. and the stuff by George RR Martin.

    I know it’s a goofy movie, but you might want to try “Waterworld” with Kevin Costner.

    More fun campiness is the Planet of the Apes series.  

    How about the Deep Space 9 Star Trek series, if you could find it.  Or the Serenity movie by Joss Whedon.  

  10. Let them read PK Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, and then watch it’s Hollywood recreation, “Blade Runner”.

    • asqv on May 19, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    The Xanth series and Incarnations of Immortality.

    These are fantasy rather than science fiction but the latter in particular would be excellent for discussion .  

    • Pen on May 21, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    When season 3 rolls around and the humans are strapping bombs to themselves to go on suicide runs against the occupying Cylon robots, I think your political message will be sent.

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