Science fiction and fantasy are frequently shelved together, but science fiction is characterized by believable science and technology extrapolated from current understandings. The best sci-fi stories offer a plausible, albeit not-yet-real world that engages the imaginations of teenage boys and gives them a place to escape the pressures of teen life. The canvas of a science fiction universe offers a wealth of exciting plots, adventures, battles, schemes and fantastic creatures. If your teen doesn't gravitate to reading, good science fiction books can light the reading spark in him.
Time travel, wormholes, disturbances in the time-space continuum and more are common science fiction plot devices that allow writers to spin their adventurous tales against the backdrop of alternate realities and parallel universes. Robert Asprin's M.Y.T.H. series traces the dimension-hopping adventures of journeyman magician Skeeve. Other alternate reality titles that might appeal to your teen boy include "The Time Hackers," by Gary Paulsen, "Found," by Margaret Peterson, Haddix, "The Glitch in Sleep," by John Hulme, and "Strange Attractors," by William Sleator.
Dystopia science fiction often takes place in a future Earth that has undergone extreme change because of an apocalyptic disaster or tragedy. Plots appeal to the human spirit to survive against the odds and in the face of opposition from malevolent powers. Your teen boy might enjoy titles such as "City of Ember," by Jeanne DuPrau, "Hunger Games," by Suzanne Collins, or "The Postman," by David Brin.
Space travel science fiction appeals to teen boys’ desire for adventure and excitement. Several series fit the bill if your teen boy has the exploratory spirit of the pioneers and would like to live out tremendous feats and exploits through literature: "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series by Douglas Adams, John Ringo's "March Upcountry" series and Timothy Zahn's "Dragonback Adventures." Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, and her "Ship Who …" series offer your teen boy more choices in quality science fiction. “Warp Speed" by Travis S. Taylor is also a good teen read.
In cyberpunk science fiction, humans live in close relationship with a virtual reality world. "Heir Apparent," by Vivian Vande Velde, and "Feed," by M.T. Anderson, grab your teen boy's attention with their vision of a future where technology makes this cyber world possible. Mary E. Pearson's series "The Jenna Fox Chronicles" is another good teen choice.
Military Sci Fi
Military sci-fi tales relate the adventures and exploits of military troops in outer space. If military action is what your teen boy craves, he might enjoy titles such as "Ender's Game," by Orson Scott Card, or "Starship Troopers," by Robert Heinlein. Series offer the satisfaction of following the characters and situations over the course of several books to prolong the adventure. Military sci-fi series that might entice your teen boy into reading include the Honor Harrington series by David Weber or the "Phule's Company" series by Robert Asprin.
- Skokie Public Library: Science Fiction and Fantasy: Books for Teens
- City of Los Angeles Public Library: Science Fiction for Kids
- Enoch Pratt Free Library: Young Adult: Science Fiction Books for Teens
- Baldwin Public Library: Young Adult Science Fiction
- Edina Public Schools: Young Adult Science Fiction Book List
- San Jose State University: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Utopias and Dystopias, pages 16-22
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images