Make classroom connections with these new sci-fi reads!

Technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality are evergreen topics in the news. Meanwhile, there is a rise in popularity of science-fiction adaptions like The Handmaid’s Tale and Fahrenheit 451. Consider bringing discussions of these top-of-mind issues into the classroom with new sci-fi reads. Here are some ideas to get the conversation started:

  • Oftentimes, science fiction is all too close to reality. Ask students to consider how these types of technology would affect their lives at this moment or how they already have.
  • Text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-world: encourage students to discuss the science-fiction texts they’re reading with other texts, film, television, or events happening in the world.
  • Ask students where else they are having or observing similar conversations. What is being said? Do they agree/disagree?
  • Read a classic sci-fi text and a modern sci-fi novel as a class and compare the two.

For students buzzing about artificial intelligence, Black Mirror, Westworld, and Scott Westerfield:

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful By Arwen Elys Dayton

The future is curious.


Today our bodies define us. We color our hair; tattoo our skin; pierce our ears, brows, noses. We lift weights, run miles, break records. We are flesh and blood and bone.


Tomorrow has different rules. The future is no longer about who we are–it’s about who we want to be. If you can dream it, you can be it. Science will make us smarter, healthier, flawless in every way. Our future is boundless.


This is a story that begins tomorrow. It’s a story about us. It’s a story about who comes after us. And it’s a story about perfection. Because perfection has a way of getting ugly.

For students buzzing about virtual reality, Lost, Ready Player One, and Marie Lu:


OtherEarth By Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Simon would have done anything to save his best friend after a mysterious accident almost killed her—including follow her into a virtual world. And what he and Kat discovered there was more terrifying than they could have ever imagined. Unwitting hospital patients are being forced to test a device that lets VR be experienced with all five senses. The technology is so advanced that it’s deadly.

Now the world’s biggest tech corporation is hunting Simon and Kat while war rages in Otherworld, the virtual world it created. Determined to destroy the Company, Simon and Kat must join forces with a hacker, a gangster, and a digital entity. But as they battle to save two worlds, they uncover an all-new threat to our world: the Company’s latest creation, an augmented-reality game called OtherEarth. Not only does OtherEarth kill, it has the power to erase the line between what’s real and what’s fantasy.

For students buzzing about survival, Battlestar Gallactica, Veronica Roth, and ENDER'S GAME:


Skyward By Brandon Sanderson

Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s—a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa’s chances of attending flight school at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

Random House Teachers and Librarians