Sylvia Engdahl is the author of ten science fiction novels, four of which, the Hidden Flame series and the Rising Flame series, were independently published during the past few years. The other six are Young Adult novels traditionally published in the 1970s that have been republished by different publishers in the 21st century; the one for which she is best known, 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. She has independently published ebook editions of her backlist titles not available in publishers' editions. All her fiction is character-driven with emphasis on ideas and generally appeals more to mainstream readers than to avid sci-fi fans.
Engdahl has also recently published an updated and expanded edition of her non-fiction book, The Planet-Girded Suns: The History of Human Thought About Extrasolar Worlds. She is a strong advocate of space colonization and in addition to a widely-read space section of her website, she created the site www.spacequotes.com, which contains quotations about why humankind must expand into space. From her home in Eugene, Oregon, she now works as a freelance editor of non-fiction anthologies for high schools.
Stewards of the Flame
Are you wondering how far government control of health care might go in a future society? This controversial novel, winner of a bronze medal in the 2008 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Book Awards, is not just for science fiction fans.
Crime is considered illness, untreated illness is crime; ambulance crews are the only police. Dead bodies stay on "life support" forever. Can anyone gain freedom?
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, as well as the love of a woman with powers that seem superhuman. Still less does he suspect that he must soon take responsibility for the lives of people he has come to care about and preservation of their hopes for the future of humankind.
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. If they don't lose heart in the face of hardships beyond any they imagined. And if their kids can be reared to believe in the dream and advance both their technology and their psi powers from one generation to the next.
Starship captain Jesse Sanders hasn't expected to be responsible for the settlement. Peter is the leader, the visionary on whose inspiration they all depend. But Peter has his hands full, not only with maintaining morale but with grueling ordeals of his own. So the job of ensuring the colony's survival falls on Jesse. And in the end, he must stake his life in a desperate attempt to prevent the loss of all they have gained.
This is the second book in the Hidden Flame series. It can stand alone, although reading it first will spoil some of the suspense of the preceding book.
Defender of the Flame
Starship pilot Terry Radnor's life is transformed by the discovery that he possesses so-called "paranormal" powers such as ESP, and that others are working to spread them throughout the worlds of humankind. But most people don't want to know that such powers exist; some will go to any lengths to suppress their emergence. Terry vows to defend the world that is spearheading the spread of new human capabilties, a world where for the first time in his life he has found happiness. He has no idea how far that aim will take him from everything else he cares about -- his promising career as a Fleet officer, his wife and soulmate, his unborn child. Torn away against his will, he is forced into exile from all that has previously mattered to him, seeing no chance to fulfill the commitment he has made. Yet a mysterious and extraordinary destiny has been predicted for Terry, and fate leads him to an even stranger one than anybody could have imagined.
This is the first book in the Rising Flame series. Although it follows the two books in the Hidden Flame series, it is a new story that doesn’t depend on having read them.
Herald of the Flame
Starship captain Terry Steward is committed to spreading acceptance of psi powers and other advanced mind capabilities throughout the worlds of humankind. A strange turn of fate has enabled him to overcome terrorists who would have put an end to the colony world Maclairn's plan to achieve this goal. Now with his own ship Estel, he journeys from world to world, heralding the hopeful future about which he alone knows the full truth. But the opponents of mind power still pose a threat and on Earth the persecution of people who develop new abilities is increasing. Soon targeted by bounty hunters, Terry risks everything that matters to him in a desperate attempt to defeat Maclairn's enemies, not guessing that if he lives long enough, he is destined for an even greater role in human history than he has played as a defender of its cause.
This is the second book in the Rising Flame series. Though it is a sequel to Defender of the Flame, it can stand alone.
Children of the Star
This is an omnibus edition containing the entire trilogy This Star Shall Abide (aka Heritage of the Star), Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains, and The Doors of the Universe.
Noren knew that his world was not as it should be--it was wrong that only the Scholars, and their representatives the Technicians, could use metal tools and Machines. It was wrong that only they had access to the mysterious City, which he had always longed to enter. Above all, it was wrong for the Scholars to have sole power over the distribution of knowledge. The High Law imposed these restrictions and many others, though the Prophecy promised that someday knowledge and Machines would be available to everyone. Noren was a heretic. He defied the High Law and had no faith in the Prophecy's fulfillment. But the more he learned of the grim truth about his people's deprivations, 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.
Although these novels were originally published as YA books, the second and third are primarily of interest to older teens and adults. This is an independently-published reprint edition.
The Planet-Girded Suns: History of Human Thought About Extrasolar Worlds (Updated)
Interest in extrasolar worlds is not new. 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 -- a belief that was expressed not in science fiction, but in serious speculation, both scientific and religious, as well as in poetry. Only during the first half of the 20th century was it thought that life-bearing extrasolar planets are rare.
This is not a science book -- rather, it belongs to the category known as History of Ideas. First published by Atheneum in 1974, it tells the story of the rise, fall, and eventual renewal of widespread conviction that we are not alone in the universe. In this independently-published updated edition, the chapters dealing with modern views have been revised to reflect the progress science has made during the past 40 years. More poetry from past centuries, source notes, and an extensive bibliography have been added, and it contains a new Afterword, "Confronting the Universe in the Twenty-First Century," discussing the relevance of past upheavals in human thought to an understanding of the hiatus in space exploration that has followed the Apollo moon landings.