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Discussion Starter #1
I know we've got: http://www.metalguitarist.org/forum/art-movies-books-tv-and-media/7143-mg-reading-list.html and: http://www.metalguitarist.org/forum/art-movies-books-tv-and-media/51438-mg-goodreads.html but I'm looking for some specific recommendations.

The oldest girl is close to finishing Marissa Meyer's "The Lunar Chronicles", so we're looking for the next series. The big problem is that many of the books that are "on topic" theme/plot-wise are too adult socially.

She's read all the typical "young adult" series already: Rich Riordan's Percy Jackson novels & the Greek spin-offs, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Spirit Animals, The Warriors (the one with the cats), etc.

She'll love Dune, when she's older, but concubines, sexually hedonistic Harkonnens, selective breeding Bene Gesseritt (we won't even talk about the Honored Matres yet), are not the way to go yet.

I looked at the Heinlein juveniles, but many haven't aged well. Podkayne of Mars isn't bad, until it ends in an essentially "She should have stuck with the boy" ending (unless I can find a copy with the original "valiant hero dies" ending. The Menace from Earth has it good parts, but there still too much focus on "gotta get the boy"/female rivalry. And the later stuff, that does better with the female characters, is definitely too adult. Friday will be good, just not for about a decade.

I know these themes are "realistic", but we don't need to focus on that crap now, and, most importantly, she doesn't want to either. Her comment about Divergent/Insurgent was, "It's like Hunger Games, but with romance and kissing. It's for kids that like Twilight."

I thought "Clockwork Angles" would be great -- it's spot on theme/plot-wise (finding a happy medium between enjoying the now vs. planning for later, excess-order vs. self-serviing-anarchism, embracing the suck for something you want down the road, etc.), but there was still two "she took him to her tent and made him a man" segments that were inappropriate.

We want the as much organization as needed, but no more, self-reliance, self-determination, dream-big, multi-curturalism, proud of your heritage, but work as part of a mutually-beneficial-group, take care of things yourself, but don't be afraid to ask for help, etc. themes from a lot of Heinlein's works, but none of the fetishist, pre-Oedipal, examples of sexual freedom, females still need a man to truly fix things, etc. that exists in a lot of his later works.

Maybe it is time for "Tunnel in the Sky", 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". At least in the latter one, they realize that the self-aware computer system is really female :shrug:

Of course, anything with cyborgs, robots, engineering, fixing problems that nobody in charge sees, etc. are pluses.
 

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You're talking about a very adult sliver of sci-fi, it's going to be hard to find something for an 11 year old that isn't in the Divergent vein.
 

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Ender's Game? I read that in 6th grade. Also, the Expanse series is great space opera (at least the ones I've read) and pretty readable with a minimum of explicit content, good readability and language, and a lot of "stick it to the man"-style rebelling.
 

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Ender's Game? I read that in 6th grade. Also, the Expanse series is great space opera (at least the ones I've read) and pretty readable with a minimum of explicit content, good readability and language, and a lot of "stick it to the man"-style rebelling.
That was the first thing that came to mind, too. There are some troubling things about the book too - the main premise, that it's possible to attack something with such viciousness that you can defeat the other side's will to fight - is certainly troubling, but if you can get past that you're probably ok.

Maybe some of the classics? Lord of the Flies? 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or Journey to the Center of the Earth? I read the later two as a kid and if there was anything "adult" there, I totally missed it. Also, think you could make the jump from that into something more fantasy? The Hobbit is fucking awesome, I think, and I read The Lord of the Rings at about that age.
 

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That was the first thing that came to mind, too. There are some troubling things about the book too - the main premise, that it's possible to attack something with such viciousness that you can defeat the other side's will to fight - is certainly troubling, but if you can get past that you're probably ok.
There's also the part where Ender commits genocide and the moral of the book ends up being "mass murder takes its toll on the killers too, in a way." That always struck me as kind of...off. Doesn't help that Card turned out to be a far right lunatic.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You're talking about a very adult sliver of sci-fi, it's going to be hard to find something for an 11 year old that isn't in the Divergent vein.
I've been digging, re-reading some of the stuff I read as a kid, etc.

Some of the Heinlein Juveniles haven't aged well, others are better than I thought. "Tunnel in the Sky" and "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress." seem like they'll work. If those go over well, and I can find a copy of "Podkayne of Mars" with the "valiant hero dies" ending and not the replaced "see, you should have listened to the boy" ending, that might be another one.

Ender's Game? I read that in 6th grade. Also, the Expanse series is great space opera (at least the ones I've read) and pretty readable with a minimum of explicit content, good readability and language, and a lot of "stick it to the man"-style rebelling.
Ender's game is tough. We've seen the DVD*. The general story is good. The details in the book has it's got it's pluses. Personally, she needs a bit of the "don't be a victim, do what you need to do to get the job done" and the overall leadership parables are good. The bad is that OSC is unfortunately on my boycott list because he's a anti-LGBTQ bigot that has ranted and threatened one too many times. The OSC boycott is tough, because he's written some great stuff. At his best, he can write a story about folks planning a BBQ, only tell the parts up to them going shopping, getting home and lighting the grill, never getting to the actual BBQ and you're enthralled the whole time.

The Genocide aspect is better understood after reading "Speaker for the Dead" and the "Shadow ..." series.

She hasn't wanted to read the book, so we're OK for now.

*We did see Ender's Game in a "no money added to his pocket" fashion.

Brandon Sanderson (who rules) has a whole bunch of YA books that are awesome. Try this:

The Rithmatist | Brandon Sanderson | Macmillan
I'll show this to her. She's drifted away from the fantasy/magic side of things after the Harry Potter series and Spirit Animals. That's why the Luna series has been the choice over the summer. Cinder starts with a description that she's the best mechanic on the Moon, and is having trouble repairing her own foot.

Snow Crash by Stephenson has been suggested. It's more of a satire/parody (one character is named Hiro Protagonist), and I don't know if she knows enough of the original material/themes to catch the satire/parody. That said, this:
The book presents the Sumerian language as the firmware programming language for the brainstem, which is supposedly functioning as the BIOS for the human brain. According to characters in the book, the goddess Asherah is the personification of a linguistic virus, similar to a computer virus. The god Enki created a counter-program which he called a nam-shub that caused all of humanity to speak different languages as a protection against Asherah
is right-up her alley.

... Lord of the Flies ... 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ... Journey to the Center of the Earth ... The Hobbit ... The Lord of the Rings
She just suffered through "Flying Solo". It's Lord of the Flies-like, she didn't like the theme too much, but describing "Tunnel in the Sky" seemed to get a better reaction. I've introduced Jules Vern as "The Grandfather of SteamPunk" and she started "The Time Machine", but it didn't grab her. Granted, that was about 2-yrs ago, when she was on a time-travel kick -- Maybe it's time to try them again. Tolkien is fantasy. I'll have to wait for that to swing-back into the foreground. It's tech, tech, tech, right now. Antman and Reed Richards have replaced Thor and Captain America

As for "classics", she did almost the same thing I did at this age. She came back from visiting grand parents with a collected works of Shakespeare tome. That's a hard read if you've never seen any of them. We did watch "A Mid-Summer's Night Dream" and she was able to follow it, so I will try to hunt-up some of the others. We started Baz Lurhman's Romeo & Juliet, but it was a bit over the top and didn't get too far.

Ray
 

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I read Snow Crash and liked it quite a bit.
Yeah Snow Crash is awesome. I could maybe see it being a little dense or all over the place for a younger kid, but it sounds like she's a pretty avid reader so she might do fine.
 

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What about Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy?
Read it and didn't love it, but I'm not really the target audience. Certainly, thematically it's good for her, if a little more fantasy than what she's been reading - the fact the Church spoke out against it is probably a plus. :lol:

Snow Crash may work - someone, Dave maybe, had me read it, and I didn't love it either (it seemed more like a philosophical argument than a story) but it may be up her ally. Some sex, but not too much.

By classics I meant "of this genre," and not necessarily Shakespeare. Still, time travel makes me immediately think of Vonnegut. Do you think Cat's Cradle would be too much for her? It's actually very simple in terms of style, but it's pretty dark material; sort of scientific post-apocalyptic fiction. The ending is crushingly sad (though maybe not as apparent to an 11 year old), but also very "fuck the universe, because spite is all you have left," as far as conclusions go. And, if you want to get into time travel, Slaughterhouse-5 is amazing, while The Sirens of Titan is probably a nice anecdote to Ender's Game in terms of genocide.

MAn, the more I think about it, I wish someone had introduced me to Vonnegut in my early teens. :lol:
 

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I immedately Thought of "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" from the thread title. You can't get that libertarian foundation in soon enough. Another Heinline book you might look into is "Friday." There is some sex in it, I don't exactly recall how much, but it features a strong female lead in a semi-dystopian society.

By classics I meant "of this genre," and not necessarily Shakespeare. Still, time travel makes me immediately think of Vonnegut. Do you think Cat's Cradle would be too much for her? It's actually very simple in terms of style, but it's pretty dark material; sort of scientific post-apocalyptic fiction. The ending is crushingly sad (though maybe not as apparent to an 11 year old), but also very "fuck the universe, because spite is all you have left," as far as conclusions go. And, if you want to get into time travel, Slaughterhouse-5 is amazing, while The Sirens of Titan is probably a nice anecdote to Ender's Game in terms of genocide.

Man, the more I think about it, I wish someone had introduced me to Vonnegut in my early teens. :lol:
I second Vonnegut. They aren't traditional sci-fi books or dystopian societies but they're just plain good books. Just stay away from "Breakfast Of Champions", I don't think whale penises and drawings of buttholes are what you're going for. You also ought to consider taking her to a hole in the wall used book store if you haven't already. One went out of business near me and I bought walmart bag fulls of 80's paperback sci-fi books.
 

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Actually, speaking of Neal Stephenson, I read Diamond Age years ago and I enjoyed it. I don't remember most of the finer details of the plot but it sounds like it might fit what you're looking for.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Diamond_Age#Plot_summary

The protagonist in the story is Nell, a thete (or person without a tribe; equivalent to the lowest working class) living in the Leased Territories, a lowland slum belt on the artificial, diamondoid island of New Chusan, located offshore from the mouth of the Yangtze River, northwest of Shanghai.[5] At the age of four, Nell receives a stolen copy of an interactive book, Young Lady's Illustrated Primer: a Propædeutic Enchiridion, in which is told the tale of Princess Nell and her various friends, kin, associates, &c.,[6] originally intended for the wealthy Neo-Victorian "Equity Lord" Chung-Sik Finkle-McGraw's granddaughter. The story follows Nell's development under the tutelage of the Primer, and to a lesser degree, the lives of Elizabeth and Fiona, girls who receive similar books. The Primer is intended to steer its reader intellectually toward a more interesting life, as defined by "Equity Lord" Alexander Chung-Sik Finkle-McGraw,[7] and growing up to be an effective member of society. The most important quality to achieving an "interesting life" is deemed to be a subversive attitude towards the status quo. The Primer is designed to react to its owners' environment and teach them what they need to know to survive and develop.

The Diamond Age is characterized by two intersecting, almost equally-developed story lines: Nell's education through her independent work with the Primer, and the social downfall of engineer and designer of the Primer, John Percival Hackworth, who has made an illegal copy of the Primer for his own young daughter, Fiona. His crime becomes known both to Lord Finkle-McGraw and to Dr. X, the black market engineer whose compiler Hackworth used to create the copy of the Primer, and each man attempts to exploit Hackworth to advance the opposing goals of their tribes. The text also includes fully narrated educational tales from the Primer that map Nell's individual experience (e.g. her four toy friends) onto archetypal folk tales stored in the primer's database. Although The Diamond Age explores the role of technology and personal relationships in child development, its deeper and darker themes also probe the relative values of cultures (which Stephenson explores in his other novels as well) and the shortcomings in communication between them.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
... Snow Crash may work ... Some sex, but not too much ...
We're (wife & I) going to have to read it first then. She's at the point where somethings are acceptable/unavoidable, but others aren't. That's what was so disappointing about "Clockwork Angels", so much of the book was spot-on, but the two bits were not appropriate. When she's older and "just because you slept with them doesn't mean they will marry you, nor that you need to marry them" is a conversation that might be around the corner, then we'll be fine.

Now, on the other hand, the gender fluidity from Le Guin's "The Left Hand of Darkness" may not be too bad, but we'd still rather hold off another 2 yrs or so for stuff like that.

... Cat's Cradle ... Slaughterhouse-5 ... The Sirens of Titan ...
Man, you're hitting stuff I've forgotten I've forgotten.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I immedately Thought of "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" from the thread title. You can't get that libertarian foundation in soon enough. Another Heinline book you might look into is "Friday." There is some sex in it, I don't exactly recall how much, but it features a strong female lead in a semi-dystopian society.
The more I think about it, the pre-"World as a Myth" Heinlein will be the safest way to go. That will also give us a chance to read ahead. We don't need any of the sex as a tool/weapon/obligation, stereotypical body image requirements (there's plenty of that just being exposed to advertising, my casual sex is OK because I'm only sleeping with people I truly respect, not just random people, plot is getting slow, let's have sex, etc.

Friday will be good, especially the discrimination, "We loved you until we found out you were one of THEM" aspects, but the S-Type Family arrangements and the discussions around that will have to wait until High School. Like-wise, there's John Varley stuff that will be great, in about 4-5 years.
 

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Hulk Krogan said:
Actually, speaking of Neal Stephenson, I read Diamond Age years ago and I enjoyed it. I don't remember most of the finer details of the plot but it sounds like it might fit what you're looking for.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Diamond_Age#Plot_summary

The protagonist in the story is Nell, a thete (or person without a tribe; equivalent to the lowest working class) living in the Leased Territories, a lowland slum belt on the artificial, diamondoid island of New Chusan, located offshore from the mouth of the Yangtze River, northwest of Shanghai.[5] At the age of four, Nell receives a stolen copy of an interactive book, Young Lady's Illustrated Primer: a Propædeutic Enchiridion, in which is told the tale of Princess Nell and her various friends, kin, associates, &c.,[6] originally intended for the wealthy Neo-Victorian "Equity Lord" Chung-Sik Finkle-McGraw's granddaughter. The story follows Nell's development under the tutelage of the Primer, and to a lesser degree, the lives of Elizabeth and Fiona, girls who receive similar books. The Primer is intended to steer its reader intellectually toward a more interesting life, as defined by "Equity Lord" Alexander Chung-Sik Finkle-McGraw,[7] and growing up to be an effective member of society. The most important quality to achieving an "interesting life" is deemed to be a subversive attitude towards the status quo. The Primer is designed to react to its owners' environment and teach them what they need to know to survive and develop.

The Diamond Age is characterized by two intersecting, almost equally-developed story lines: Nell's education through her independent work with the Primer, and the social downfall of engineer and designer of the Primer, John Percival Hackworth, who has made an illegal copy of the Primer for his own young daughter, Fiona. His crime becomes known both to Lord Finkle-McGraw and to Dr. X, the black market engineer whose compiler Hackworth used to create the copy of the Primer, and each man attempts to exploit Hackworth to advance the opposing goals of their tribes. The text also includes fully narrated educational tales from the Primer that map Nell's individual experience (e.g. her four toy friends) onto archetypal folk tales stored in the primer's database. Although The Diamond Age explores the role of technology and personal relationships in child development, its deeper and darker themes also probe the relative values of cultures (which Stephenson explores in his other novels as well) and the shortcomings in communication between them.
'Diamond Age' was the first thing I thought of.
 

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Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" trilogy:

If I remember correctly, the third book culminates with a strong/smart female character more or less outsmarting the Mule (the villain).

It's not what I would call hard sci-fi by today's standards, but it delves into the moral/ethical complications of technology, power, etc. Also, I don't think it would be too hard for a kid.

I would highly recommend it for anyone into sci fi.

Also, "the mote in god's eye" - One of my favorite sci fi books of all time. It is harder to read than Foundation though....
 
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