Sylvia Engdahl is the author of ten science fiction novels. She is best known for her traditionally-published Young Adult novels that are also enjoyed by adults. One of them, "Enchantress from the Stars," was a Newbery Honor book and a finalist for the 2002 Book Sense Book of the Year in the Rediscovery category; and her Children of the Star trilogy, originally written for teens, was republished as adult SF. Recently she has been writing independently-published novels for adults, the Hidden Flame series and the RIsing Flame series. The first of these four novels, "Stewards of the Flame," won a bronze medal in the 2008 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Book Awards. Although all her novels take place in the distant future on hypothetical worlds and thus are categorized as science fiction, they are character-driven and are directed more to mainstream readers than to avid science fiction fans.
Engdahl is a strong advocate of space colonization and has maintained a widely-read space section of her website for many years. She has also recently issued an updated edition of her 1974 nonfiction book "The Planet-Girded Suns: The History of Human Thought About Extrasolar Worlds," which is focused on original research in primary sources of the 17th through early 20th centuries; this new edition includes an Afterword titled "Confronting the Universe in the Twenty-First Century."
She lives in Eugene, Oregon, and currently works as a freelance editor of nonfiction anthologies for high schools.
Where to find Sylvia Engdahl online
Where to buy in print
Herald of the Flame
After saving the secret colony Maclairn from terrorists, Terry Steward sets out to further its plan to spread advanced mind powers to the worlds of humankind. Yet Maclairn’s enemies still pose a threat, and on Earth the persecution of people with such powers is increasing. Seeking a way to defeat the conspiracy, he does not guess that he is destined to play an even greater role in human history.
Children of the Star
Omnibus edition containing the trilogy This Star Shall Abide (aka Heritage of the Star), Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains, and The Doors of the Universe, which are also available as separate ebooks. Noren defied the High Law and had no faith in the Prophecy's fulfillment. But the more he learned of the truth about his people's situation, the less possible it seemed that their world could be changed.
Defender of the Flame
Starship pilot Terry Radnor, involved in a secret mission after training that gives him extraordinary physical and psychic capabilities, finds fulfillment in love and in commitment to a cause—until an ironic twist of fate tears him away from everything he has ever cared about. Is there any hope that he can fulfill his pledge to protect the world whose safety is crucial to the future of humankind?
The Planet-Girded Suns: The History of Human Thought About Extrasolar Worlds
From the late 17th century until the end of the 19th, almost all educated people believed that the stars are suns surrounded by inhabited planets. This book, first published by Atheneum in 1974 and now updated to include the scientific knowledge gained during the past 40 years, tells the story of the rise, fall, and eventual renewal of widespread conviction that we are not alone in the universe.
Anywhere, Anywhen: Stories of Tomorrow
Intended not for SF fans but for teens who don’t ordinarily choose science fiction, this anthology of stories about the future focuses on the timeless aspects of being human. It aims to suggest ideas about the future in a way readers who prefer real-life settings to strangeness will enjoy. Contributors include Sylvia Engdahl, Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Carol Farley and other authors of YA books.
The Far Side of Evil
Assigned as a observer to a world whose people may soon destroy their civilization, Anthropological Service agent Elana expects merely to gain knowledge that may save other planets. When a young, inexperienced agent unwittingly endangers the entire world by a well-meant but ill-advised attempt to intervene, Elana finds that only she--at great cost--can prevent an immediate war of annihilation.
The Doors of the Universe
Children of the Star trilogy, Book Three. Noren had found faith in the Prophecy’s fulfillment in the face of overwhelming odds. Yet the more he learned of the grim truth about his people's situation, the less possible it seemed that their world could ever be changed. It would take more drastic steps than anyone imagined to restore their rightful heritage—and he alone could do what was needed.
Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains
Children of the Star trilogy, Book Two. Once Noren gained admission to the City where technology was hidden, he thought he had discovered how to make metal and Machines available to everyone and end the rule of the Scholars. But he soon learned it was not as simple as he had believed. Was it right to let people go on believing in the promises of a Prophecy that might not come true after all?
This Star Shall Abide
Noren knew that his world was not as it should be—it was wrong that only the Scholars and Technicians could use metal and Machines. It was wrong that only they had access to the knowledge hidden in the mysterious City. He was a heretic. He defied the High Law and had no faith in the Prophecy’s promised fulfillment. But was defiance enough, or could some way be found to make it come true?
Promise of the Flame
Three hundred people, isolated on a raw new planet in the hope that their psi powers will become the foundation of a culture that can someday shape the future of humankind. If they don’t starve first or lose heart in the face of hardships beyond any they imagined--and if their kids can be raised to believe in the dream. Though a sequel to Stewards of the Flame, this novel is complete in itself.
Stewards of the Flame
When starship captain Jesse Sanders is detained by a dictatorial medical regime on the colony planet Undine, he is plunged into a life involving ordeals and joys unlike anything he has ever imagined. This controversial novel deals with the so-called paranormal powers of the human mind and appeals to a wide range of readers who question the dominant medical philosophy of today's society.
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