Since this week is Tripping the Write Fantastic's last session for 2007, I felt it fitting to do my Todd's Top Ten list based on the subject matter we will be discussing. Tomorrow we will discuss Susan Cooper, one of the greatest Young Adult writers of the 20th century, and so I felt it important to give everyone a look at the 10 greatest genre novels for young people. Here we go:
10) Tuck Everlasting - A young girl befriends a family of immortals in this strange coming of age story. The story is well told and interesting, and we learn the truth as to why immortality isn't more widespread. The ending is bittersweet at best, but the point of the story is well taken: respect the privacy of those around you.
9) I, Robot - Isaac Asimov tells a series of brilliant stories of robots not functioning properly. The idea that simple programming errors can cause different types of aberrant robot behavior is an interesting one, and is a great aid for kids looking at why people behave differently. Also, robots are cool.
8) The John Grimes Series: This venerable Science Fiction series was a gateway drug for many current fans. A. Bertram Chandler writes a great series of stories designed to make every boy feel like they can conquer the universe, just like Lieutenant Grimes.
7) Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser: Say what you like about Fritz Leiber, he sure got this sword and sorcery duo right. Since their creation this indomitable pair have been copied, mimicked, and parodied (they even have a role play game setting under their belts), proving that they are still a force to be reckoned with.
6) The Sword of Shannara Trilogy: Alanon the Druid and the Shannarah family battle demons, evil druids, warlocks, brigands, rebels, and more. The Elfstones of Shannara remains among the best of the series, but they are all fantastic books.
5) The Chronicles of Narnia: Forget the movie, go read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for yourself! My personal favorite in the series is The Voyage of the Dawntreader, but these books are all really well written. There is religious symbolism wrought into the story, but it can be easily ignored if you don't want to bother with it.
4) John Carter of Mars: Edgar Rice Burroughs weaves a masterful story of a Civil War officer catapulted to Barsoom (Mars) through mystical means. A great series of stories for kids of all ages, Burroughs sense of wonder and excitement over Barsoom plays well, even to modern audiences.
3) The Lord of the Rings: I doubt that an explanation is needed for this classic tale of swords, sorcery, elves, and Hobbits, but in case you had not heard, this is a great series of novels. Tolkien uses his brilliant world building skills to craft the history of th last great age of Middle Earth in a way that everyone can enjoy.
2) The Flying Sorcerers: Despite the title, the story is actually about a scientist who has crash-landed on a primitive world. Said man of science must use his knowledge and skills to get off the planet, and hijinx ensure. Told from the point of view of the primitive shaman, who calls the sorcerer "Purple" because that is what his name sounds like in the native tongue, this is a classic work for kids by David Gerrold.
1) The Prydain Chronicles: Lloyd Alexander at the top of his game, 'nuff said.