Science Fiction Books/Looking for a story...


Hi. I am looking for short stories I can use in an 8th grade science class that have a decent amount of understandable science in them to which the students can relate. The science can be bad (All Summer in a Day) or better (Runaround), but they have to be about the planets. Anything under 10k words is fine and cannot have sexy times in them. I still need Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Any suggestions?  Thank you!

Here are several excellent short stories by Isaac Asimov

Nightfall by Isaac Asimov is perfect.  Collected in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, volume 1.  A planet has three suns, one of which is always in the sky.  They experience a dark night sky once every 10,000 years or so.  People think they are alone in the universe.  Once they see the sky with the stars, people realize they are not alone, and global apocalypse ensues.  A group of scientists tries to preserve knowledge through the Dark Ages.

Plenty of other excellent short stories in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, volume 1

This one is perfect - Hide-and-Seek by Arthur C. Clarke, collected in anthology The Nine Billion Names of God, which has lots of other good stories.  In Hide-and-Seek, a criminal lands on an asteroid in a space ship.  The military is searching for him in a huge spaceship.  But due to the physics of the situation, they can't find him.

Marooned off Vesta, a short story by Isaac Asimov, collected in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame volume 2B.  Might be too long for your purposes.  How to survive in space with little food and water, and how to get rescued.

I, Robot which has NOTHING to do with the horrible movie.  Lots of nice very short stories with plenty of science, and accessible to 8th graders.  

Green patches, also titled Misbegotten Missionary, collected in  Nightfall and Other Stories (plenty of other great stories in this anthology).  Also reprinted in Tomorrow, the Stars which was anthologized by Robert Heinlein and also has lots of good stories.  Contamination from a newly discovered planet.

Star Light, collected in Asimov's Mysteries.  

Before Eden, by Arthur C. Clarke, in which visiting astronauts inadvertently contaminate the planet's native life.  Also in the anthology The Nine Billion Names of God.

Let me know if you need more.  Happy to help introduce a generation of new readers to SF.  If you teach in an underfunded public school, you can set up a DonorsChoose page if you need funding to buy the books or print copies for the kids.  Many of these stories are available free online.  

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Sue Kayton


Engineer who has read thousands of science fiction books and short stories. Can recommend stories on specific subjects and comment on technical feasibility. Especially good at older out-of-print books and authors.

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