Teen Librarian Toolbox
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TRW: It Came From Outer Space

Ever wonder where all the aliens are?  Back in the 1940’s and 50’s, during the Golden Age of science fiction, aliens were everywhere.  There were spaceman suits, and alien bazaars, and television shows.  People where rushing to see when we would meet our neighbors, and whether they would be peaceful or not.  Everyone was claiming to see UFOs or be abducted by them.  And that frenzy was reflected in our literature:  HG Wells and the War of the Worlds, Robert A. Heinlein’s pulp fiction classics, Arthur C. Clark, and Isaac Asimov.  They were told by their publisher at Astounding Science Fiction to “write me a creature that thinks as well as a man, or better than a man, but not like a man.”  

Now, in 2012, our space program is the victim of the economy, and young adult fiction is flooded with vampires and dystopias- another reflection of the culture around us.  Yet, if you look hard enough, there are aliens among us for those wanting to explore the darkness of space.  I’ve put together a list of what’s popular with my teens, including movie based books and book based movies, as well as some classics and a couple you may not have heard before.

What are your favorite alien books?  Share in the comments below!

Across the Universe by Beth Revis.  Amy was supposed to spend the next 300 years asleep; instead, she’s awakened 50 years too early and must race to find the cause of the plague, and figure out the mystery before it’s too late.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy (in 5 books, or is it 6?) by Douglas Adams.  Earth is being (or will be) destroyed to make way for a super-space highway- do you know where your towel is?  And if you want to see the movie, catch Alan Rickman (Professor Snape, the Sheriff of Nottingham) as the voice of Marvin in the 2005 release.



Star Trek.  First on TV, then on the silver screen, then five spin-offs, then a SPIN OFF got it’s own movie or three…  Graphic novels and science fiction books abound and continue to be written.  Including cross overs with current series like Doctor Who.  And with the reboot of the franchise, and Star Trek:  Into Darkness slated for May 2013 release, the number of books will only grow.


The Tower and the Hive series by Anne McCaffrey.  The Rowan was found buried in a mudslide, projecting a distress call heard planets away.  And so we start a series of books in which we go through her life and the life of her children, all of which have extraordinary abilities as telepaths and telekinetics  vital to the survival of not only the human race, but others as well.  If really interested in the beginnings, check out The Talent series by McCaffrey, which details the beginnings of space travel and telekinetic abilities in the human race.
Men In Black.  Yes we all wish that the second movie didn’t exist, but did you know that all of the movies are based off the graphic novels?  And they are quirky and fun and as irreverent as the first movie?

Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster
Human.4 is an eerie look at a small town that slowly, chillingly reveals secrets about the human race with some Matrix-like twists.  This is a fantastic book that reminded me of some of the best episodes of The Twilight Zone.  Safe for all ages and highly recommended.  The sequel, The Future We Left Behind, comes out in November.

Star Wars.  From science fiction to juvenile books of Han and Leia’s children, to beginning readers and non-fiction about the ships and costuming, there is no shortage of books in the Star Wars legacy.

Shade’s Children by Garth Nix.  Running to escape their chilling future of certain destruction, four teens willingly join the Shade in his plans to dethrone the Overlords.  But when one of them is captured, they begin to realize that Shade isn’t the hero they think he is.

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells.  Yes, THE war of the worlds.  The book that, when read over the radio to the audience caused massive panic that there was an alien invasion, the book that was the basis of the 1953 classic, and the not so memorable 2005 remake with Tom Cruise.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  See More Here

Alien.  In space, no one can hear you scream.  With four movies and a prequel (although they don’t call Prometheus a prequel, even though it is) the Alien franchise embraces what really creeps everyone out about aliens.  That they will crawl inside and eat us whole.  And graphic novels and books abound, along with cross overs in books and movies.  And rumors of an Alien reboot are circulating….
It’s been years since anyone has set foot on the moon, and there are good reasons for that.  When several teens are chosen as the winners of a contest and get to spend 172 hours on the moon, they will be lucky if they make it back alive.  There is some good old fashioned Science Fiction in this sci fi book, with a twist of Japanese horror movie (think The Ring or The Grudge).  This is a great read for this time of the year.
If you knew the aliens were coming, what would you do?  Ender Wiggin has been sent to a special school where they are training to fight “The Buggers”.  This is a classic and always popular title.  Make a note, it is currently being filmed and is slated for release sometime next year.
I am actually surprised that we haven’t seen a bigger influx of aliens – a bigger alien invasion if you will – given the popularity of this series.  My teens come in asking for it ALL. THE. TIME. And they rave about it. And the movie wasn’t horrible either.


  1. I think Insignia, by Kincaid might be a good one. Haven't read it yet, but I've read some good things.

  2. I will look into it, thank you for the rec!!

  3. I don't know if it is still in print, but the Roswell book series by Melinda Metz is actually really good. I watched the show too.

  4. Your post drove me crazy for about 5 minutes. That picture you have for 172 Hours on the Moon, I have never seen that, but I had seen that girl somewhere else. After searching and searching, I finally remembered she's on the cover of After the Moment.

  5. The arc cover was totally different and 1,000 times better. Also, this cover is a complete spoiler.

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