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The White Mountains: One of the first dystopian novels for kids

The White Mountains by John Christopher

The White Mountains, the first book in John Christopher’s TRIPODS series for children, has been sitting on my TBR list (and in my Audible library) forever. I was finally inspired to pick it up when Gary K. Wolfe, in his series of lectures entitled How Great Science Fiction Works, mentioned the book as probably the first YA dystopian novel (though Middle Grade is more accurate, I’d say).

The White Mountains was published in 1967 and takes place in an alternate version of our world where aliens called Tripods have conquered Earth and enslaved humans. (These tripods were inspired by the Martians in H.G. Wells’ The... Read More

Tarnsman of Gor: Quintessential male-oriented sword & sorcery

Tarnsman of Gor by John Norman

“Slavery apparently agrees with her”

While walking in a New Hampshire forest, college professor Tarl Cabot unexpectedly receives a strange communication from his long-lost father. Suddenly he is whisked away by spaceship to Gor, the Counter-Earth, a planet which we never see because it lives on the other side of the sun. Its powerful priest-kings have been able to shield it from even our theoretical view and, though the society seems primitive, its aloof rulers seem to be hoarding and selectively doling out secret knowledge and technological advances (such as spaceships and advanced medical and communication techniques).

After Tarl Cabot meets his father, he is thoroughly educated in the Gorean language, history, and customs, and trained as a Tarnsman (a warrior who rides the huge carnivorous flying Tarns). Gor’s caste system doesn’t sit well with Professor Cabot’s 2... Read More