I find my favorite childhood sci-fi novels

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Book day was perhaps my happiest time in grade school, when I was so awkward and shy I was all but unable to make friends. Books were my buddies.

On book day, boxfuls of Scholastic Corporation volumes arrived to much rejoicing all around. The tomes I had painstakingly selected and ordered were at last in my possession, often with profound effects that linger to this day.

This is how I learned to love books … and certain books in particular.

I have from time to time searched for these treasured childhood volumes. Today I, at last, conjured up the right blend of Google-fu to locate many of them – or, at least, online mentions of them.

I am a sci-fi geek, so most of these are science fiction (by some of the biggest names in the genre). I can still reel off the basic plotlines, though the fine details have faded. And seeing the covers again after so many years makes me happy beyond measure.

Below are some of my favorite Scholastic titles, along with a few non-Scholastic novels I also adored as a kid. Click the covers to see the corresponding Goodreads entries.

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Teen astronauts find danger in a far-off system populated by tentacled space beings that are evil … or are they?

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With his scientist mom and dad away, this ocean-dwelling teen must confront all manner of foes (from killer whales to bearded anarchists) with assistance from his dolphin sidekick and an eccentric adult mentor.

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A ring-like construct is a portal to various points in the distant past – from the dinosaur era to the times of the earliest humans. But the teen protagonists face disaster when a T-Rex’s tail catastrophically strikes and damages the time portal.

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Teen protagonists are thunderstruck to discover that humans were not Earth’s first sentient beings. Lizard people populated the planet long, long ago … and it turns out they are far from dead.

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Minx hates being a witch’s daughter. But it turns out her true nature is not at all what she imagined. And who the heck is that woman she keeps glimpsing in the mirror?

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A chicken lays a triceratops egg. Awesomeness ensues.

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This Edgar Rice Burroughs-like book about a cripple who soul-projects himself to a far-off world with a green sun is ludicrous … I knew it even as a child. And, yet, I loved these books so.

I also adored the cover artwork. This is the first book in a series, and all volumes had the same artist … except for the last volume, with artwork that reeked. Looking at it as a kid, I practically mourned.

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Of all the books in this post, this is the only one I still own. I read it yearly. A hiker duo emerge from an Alaska mountain tunnel into a different world. This book is also Edgar Rice Burroughs-like, but more plausibly so.

The cover is a travesty; nothing shown there happened in the book.

LostRace

I have just a vague recollection of having read this … but I instantly recognized the cover. Robert Silverberg is one of my favorite authors, so I plan to hunt this one down and read it again.

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Another one I only dimly recall reading but, again, the cover jumps right off the screen at me.

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