I love a good dystopia, but there is no denying that they don’t paint a rosy view of the future. To ring in the New Year, I’ve picked some books that imagine a future (or a present) full of robotic hijinx and alien adventures. Also, strangely enough, a lot of cats.
by Deborah Underwood, Illustrated by Meg Hunt
This is fairy tale retelling with a sci fi twist featuring alien-like fairies and robots galore. Instead of a spinning wheel’s spindle, Lex is cursed to be put to sleep on her fifteenth birthday by a paper cut. She’s devastated when they take all her books, but Lex is a self-rescuing princess. She uses research to strike back against the evil fairy who has laid the curse.
The same team of author and illustrator also offer a Cinderella retelling - Interstellar Cinderella - that’s got the same great energy.
by Vicky Fang, Illustrated by Tidawan Thaipinnarong
In this work about a machine that creates unique pets, Katie has to use problem solving to get the pet she wants. The humor, the cute animals and the colorful illustrations helped this selection enjoyable, but Katie’s use of data collection and thinking skills that put it decisively on my list.
By Ethan Young
This (mostly) wordless graphic novel tells the story of a bear astronaut and his struggles to survive on an alien planet after a crash landing. Initially his determination to complete his mission lead to some selfish choices, but he’s going to have to make some changes if he hopes to survive.
Wordless books are great for visual literacy and accessible to a variety of readers, so I am always delighted to read a new one.
Sanity and Tallulah
by Molly Brooks
Sanity Jones’s desire for a pet might have led her to dabble in some mad science - and her experiment/pet might now be endangering the entire space station. Oops.
Set on a space station on the fringe of civilization, this book has a good balance of humor, action and science fiction technological hijinks. Aside from being well drawn, well paced, funny and engaging, this authorial debut from illustrator Molly Brooks features a diverse cast with a lot of competent girls and women. There are hints of more to come as the series goes on.
By Landry Q. Walker
The first book in the Project Terra series, this book is boarding-school fantasy novel meets space age science fiction. It follows a girl named Elara on her trip to an elite terraforming academy far away from home. Her roommates are extraterrestrial, her teachers are strict, and she has a hard time fitting in, but Elara just might be the one to save the day when things go wrong.
A quick read with engaging characters. It can stand alone in my opinion, which is good because not many books in the series are out.
Klawde : Evil Alien Warlord Cat
By John Bemelmans Marciano
I admit this book might be a bit of a stretch since it seems to take place in the present and not the future but the concept of a boy adopting a cat who is actually an alien warlord in exile (from the planet Lyttyrboks) is too spectacular not to include. It had me laughing out loud the whole way through.
The narration alternates between Raj, who has just had to move to a new town and is missing his home in Brooklyn, and Klawde who is desperately trying to make it back to his home. They both have strong voices that are fun to read. A must for anyone who likes cats, aliens and is in need of a good laugh.