Sylvia Engdahl

Biography

Sylvia Engdahl is the author of eleven science fiction novels. She is best known for her six traditionally-published Young Adult novels that are also enjoyed by adults, all but one of which are now available in indie editions. That one, Enchantress from the Stars, was a Newbery Honor book, winner of the 2000 Phoenix Award of the Children's Literature Association, and a finalist for the 2002 Book Sense Book of the Year in the Rediscovery category. Her Children of the Star trilogy, originally written for teens, was reissued by a different publisher as adult SF.

Recently she has written five independently-published novels for adults, the Founders pf Maclairn dulogy and the Captain of Estel trilogy. Although all her novels take place in the distant future, in most csses on hypothetical worlds, and thus are categorized as science fiction, they are are directed more to mainstream readers than to avid science fiction fans.

Engdahl has also issued an updated edition of her 1974 nonfiction book The Planet-Girded Suns: Our Forebears' Firm Belief in Inhabited Exoplanets, which is focused on original research in primary sources of the 17th through early 20th centuries that presents the views prevalent among educted people of that time. In addition she has published three permafree ebook collections of essays.

Between 1957 and 1967 Engdahl was a computer programmer and Computer Systems Specialist for the SAGE Air Defense System. Most recently she has worked as a freelance editor of nonfiction anthologies for high schools. Now retired, she lives in Eugene, Oregon and welcomes visitors to her website at www.sylviaengdahl.com. It includes a large section on space colonization, of which she is a strong advocate, as well as essays on other topics and detailed information about her books. She enjoys receiving email from her readers.

Where to find Sylvia Engdahl online

Where to buy in print

Series

The Captain of Estel
Starship pilot Terry Radnor, elated to be among those chosen to defend the secret colony Maclairn against enemies who pose a threat to the spread of paranormal human mind powers, finds fulfillment in love and in commitment to a cause—until he is torn away against his will after learning a secret too deep for its disclosure to be risked. Yet a mysterious and extraordinary destiny has been predicted for Terry, and against all odds fate puts him in place to confront the colony’s greatest peril. But then, setting out in his own ship Estel to bring hope of advanced mind powers to the worlds of humankind he finds that the persecution of people with such powers is increasing. Seeking a way to defeat the conspiracy against them, he does not guess that he is destined to play an even greater role than that in human history. Nor does he imagine that after he is gone the legacy of the now-legendary Captain of Estel will be the key to bringing Earth into contact with the allied peoples of the wider universe.
Children of the Star
A trilogy whose hardcover editions were originally published in the 1970s as Young Adult, and were reissued in 2000 by a different publisher as adult science fiction.
The Founders of Maclairn
When burned-out starship captain Jesse Sanders is seized by a dictatorial medical regime and detained on the colony planet Undine, he has no idea that he is about to be plunged into a bewildering new life that will involve ordeals and joys beyond anything he has ever imagined. Still less does he suspect that he must soon take responsibility for the lives of people he has come to care about and the preservation of their hopes for the future of humankind. Isolated by choice on a raw new world they have reached in secret, three hundred people hope to establish a culture based on psi powers--if they don't lose heart in the face of hardships beyond any they imagined. Though Jesse is not the colony's leader. the job of ensuring its survival falls on him. And in the end, he must stake his life in a desperate attempt to prevent the loss of all they have gained.
Stewards of the Flame
Price: $2.99 USD.
Promise of the Flame
Price: $2.99 USD.

Books

The Captain of Estel: The Complete Trilogy
Series: The Captain of Estel. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 402,380. Language: English. Published: February 7, 2024 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
Starship pilot Terry Radnor is committed to defending the secret colony Maclairn against opponents of paranormal human mind powers. After long exile, fate puts him in place to confront the colony's greatest peril. Journeying from world to spread hope, he does not guess that he is destined to play an even greater role in human history, much less that his legacy will determine the future of Earth.
Envoy of the Flame
Series: The Captain of Estel, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 107,610. Language: English. Published: June 10, 2021 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
Ardith Moran is elated by the prospect of contact with ET civilizations. The last thing she expects is to fall in love with an alien, much less for their love to play a key role in the future of Earth. Can she convince people who don't want to meet aliens that they can't retreat from the universe, or will Earth's authorities kill her to suppress evidence only she and her fellow envoys can provide?
The Future of Being Human and Other Essays
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 61,840. Language: English. Published: January 28, 2020 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Essay » Sociology, Essay » Technology
In this third essay collection science fiction author Sylvia Engdahl departs from the theme of space colonization on which she previously has focused, and discusses such topics as artificial intelligence, "paranormal" psi powers, healthcare policy, and the coming loss of personal privacy. Her controversial views on these subjects will inspire thought about what the future is likely to bring.
From This Green Earth: Essays on Looking Outward
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 34,600. Language: English. Published: November 11, 2019 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Essay » Technology, Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Space Science
For the past 50 years space advocates have been frustrated by the slowness of progress in space and the failure of the public to grasp its importance not only to the future of humankind, but to the preservation of Earth's environment. But in the light of history, it's not surprising that acceptance of a new outlook on the universe is slow. All past human advances were made by visionary minorities.
Reflections on Enchantress from the Stars and Other Essays
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 76,150. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2019 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Essay » Literature, Essay » Author profile
Here are the author's collected essays about her Newbery Honor book Enchantress from the Stars and other YA--and adult--science fiction novels, plus two illustrated autobiographical essays. Her comments on Enchantress deal with issues she would like all its readers to be aware of. This is the first of three books that replace her earlier collections Reflections on the Future, which grew too long.
Journey Between Worlds
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 62,660. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2015 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance » Clean & Wholesome, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction
Melinda has a plan for her life and a trip to Mars isn't part of it. When she receives a ticket as a gift from her dad she reluctantly agrees to go with him, but after meeting Alex, a second-generation Martian colonist, she is torn between what she has always wanted and upsetting new feelings. Only a terrifying experience on the Martian moon Phobos makes her aware of what really matters to her
Herald of the Flame
Series: The Captain of Estel, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 152,260. Language: English. Published: October 15, 2014 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
As captain of his own starship Terry Steward, soon targeted by bounty hunters, sets out to further the colony Maclairn’s plan to spread pranormal mind powers to the worlds of humankind. Yet on Earth the persecution of people who develop such powers is increasing. He must find a way to defeat Maclairn’s enemies, not guessing that he is destined to play an even greater role in human history.
Children of the Star: The Complete Trilogy
Series: Children of the Star. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 278,390. Language: English. Published: November 4, 2013 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Omnibus edition of the trilogy This Star Shall Abide (aka Heritage of the Star), Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains, and The Doors of the Universe. Noren is a heretic—he defies his world’s High Law and has no faith in the Prophecy's fulfillment. But the more he learns of the grim truth about his people's deprivations, the less possible it seems that their rightful heritage can ever be restored.
Defender of the Flame
Series: The Captain of Estel, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 145,570. Language: English. Published: April 19, 2013 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
(4.75 from 4 reviews)
Starship pilot Terry Radnor, chosen to defend the colony Maclairn after training gives him extraordinary mind powers, finds fulfillment in love and in commitment to a cause--until he is torn away agaist his will upon learning a secret too deep for its disclosure to be risked. Yet though he must build a new life far from Maclairn, fate puts him in place to confront the colony's greatest peril..
The Planet-Girded Suns: Our Forebears' Firm Belief in Inhabited Exoplanets
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 90,810. Language: English. Published: May 18, 2012 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Nonfiction » History » Civilization, Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Astronomy
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
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 111,510. Language: English. Published: November 20, 2011 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Anthology, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction
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
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 94,330. Language: English. Published: February 1, 2011 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
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
Series: Children of the Star, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 120,210. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2010 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Noren has found faith in the Prophecy’s fulfillment in the face of overwhelming odds. But the more he learns of the grim truth about his people's situation, the less possible it seems that their world can be changed. It will take more drastic steps than anyone imagined to restore their rightful heritage—and he alone can do what is needed, But it will mean giving up all else that matters to him.
Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains
Series: Children of the Star, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 83,370. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2010 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Once Noren gains admission to the mysterious City where technology is hidden, he is convinced that metal and Machines can be made available to everyone and that this will end the rule of the Scholars. But he soon learns that it’s not as simple as he has thought. The plan is all too likely to fail, and is it right to let people go on believing in a Prophecy that may not come true after all?
This Star Shall Abide: aka Heritage of the Star
Series: Children of the Star, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 79,530. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2010 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Noren knows that it is wrong that only the Scholars and Technicians can use metal and Machines, wrong that only they have access to knowledge hidden in the City. Unable to believe in the Prophecy that promises these restrictions will someday end, he defies the High Lew under which they are enforced. Yet he cannot turn back from the path that leads him to the mysterious fate awaiting heretics.
Promise of the Flame
Series: The Founders of Maclairn, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 169,530. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2010 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
(1.00 from 1 review)
Isolated by choice on a raw new planet, 300 people 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. Events force starship captain Jesse Sanders to take charge of ensuring the colony’s survival--ultimately at the possible cost of his life.
Stewards of the Flame
Series: The Founders of Maclairn, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 166,330. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2010 by Ad Stellae Books. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
(4.00 from 1 review)
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.

Sylvia Engdahl's tag cloud

alien romance    another planet    apollo 11 moon landing    artificial intelligence    astronomy    authors    autobiography    childrens literature    clean and wholesome    climate change    colonization    coming of age    dictatorship    dystopia    dystopian    esp    exoplanets    extraterrestrial civilizations    extraterrestrial life    extraterrestrials    faith    fate and destiny    first contact    freedom    future    future evolution    future human survival    futurism    galactic federation    genetic engineering    healthcare policy    heresy    historical    historical views of space    history of ideas    history of science    imprisonment    interracial marriage    interstellar federation    interstellar travel    mars    medical overtreatment    medical policy    other worlds    paranormal powers    personal privacy    pioneering    poetry about space    post apocalyptic    postapocalyptic    psi    psi powers    publishing    responsibility    romance    science    science and religion    science fiction    science fiction romance    seti    space    space advocacy    space based solar power    space colonies    space colonization    space exploration    space travel    spaceship    starships    strong female lead    survival    teens    telepathy    transhumanism    visionary fiction    womens fiction    writing for teens    ya novels    young adult