There has been plenty of good YA fantasy in recent years, thanks to the Harry Potter phenomenon, but good new science fiction for preteens seems to be in short supply. So I'm always on the lookout for interesting new entries in the genre.
- The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1 looks like it might be a good one. According to the description, it's an outer-space adventure about an down on his luck orphan who has the ability to enter computers with his mind. The Softwire is due out in September from Candlewick Press.
- At first glance, The Lighthouse Land looks like fantasy, with the Celtic symbol and mist-shrouded lighthouse on the cover. But on closer examination, it appears that this book really is science fiction. Whatever it is, it looks like an interesting read: a teen descended from Irish kings hasn't spoken since he lost his arm to cancer. He travels from New York to Ireland and eventually to a world many light years away, where he is revered as a hero but finds that his problems are far from over. This is the first YA novel from an author, Adrian McKinty, who is known for his hard-boiled adult crime novels; according to the publisher this book is "as gritty and true as any of his crime novels." The Lighthouse Land will be published in October by Amulet Books.
- The cover of Larklight declares that this is "A Rousing Tale of Intrepid Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space." I'm not sure where this book fits on the science fiction/fantasy continuum, but I put it here because of the outer space connection. According to the publisher, this is "A fantastically original Victorian tale set in an outer space world that might have come from the imaginations of Jules Verne or L. Frank Baum, but has a unique gravitational pull all its own." The book is written by Philip Reeve, author of The Hungry City Chronicles, and illustrated by David Wyatt. This looks to be a funny book that doesn't take itself too seriously, and with chapter titles like, "Chapter Three: In Which We Make Good Our Escape, but Find Ourselves Cast Adrift upon the Uncaring Aether," I assume that the book is a victorian parody of sorts. Larklight is due in October.