Have you Heard? Life on Other Planets
14 mins read

Have you Heard? Life on Other Planets

Read some out of this world books with these recommendations of science fiction and real-life extraterrestrial science.

Below you’ll find audiobook recommendations from the Plano Public Library. This is just a sample of the audiobooks in our collection, and you can visit a library location for assistance in finding personalized recommendations.


The Long way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, narrated by Rachel Dulude. When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The patched-up ship has seen better days, but it offers her everything she could possible want: a spot to call home, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy and some distance from her past. And nothing could be further from what she’s known than the crew of the Wayfarer. Print / CD Book / eAudiobook / eBook.

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel, narrated by John Lee, Dylan Moore, Arthur Morey and Kirsten Potter. When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe. Print / Playaway / eAudiobook / eBook / Large print.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, narrated by Ray Porter. The sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission to save both humanity and the earth, Ryland Grace is hurtled into the depths of space when he must conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. Print / Playaway / Large print / eBook.

The Mission of a Lifetime by Basil Hero, read by Dan Woren. Only twenty-four human beings have traveled to the moon. Theirs were the most daring voyages in mankind’s history, and their view of Earth from the moon changed them and the way we see our home planet. Now in their emeritus years, the twelve remaining lunar explorers for the first time reveal the true source of courage, leadership, and the quiet patriotism that it took to accomplish their missions. Print / Playaway.

The Moon: a History for the Future by Oliver Morton, read by Neil Dickson. An intimate portrait of the Earth’s closest neighbor–the Moon–that explores the history and future of humankind’s relationship with it. Print / Playaway.

The Space Barons by Christian Davenport, read by Will Collyer. Traces the historic quest to rekindle the human exploration of space as navigated by billionaire entrepreneurs, sharing insights into how professional rivalry and Silicon Valley innovations are lowering the cost of space travel and exceeding the achievements of NASA. Print / Playaway / eBook.

Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki, narrated by Cindy Kay. Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six. When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth. Print / eAudiobook / eBook.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells, narrated by Kevin R. Free. In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth. Print / eAudiobook / eBook.

Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky, narrated by Sophie Aldred. After Earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared. The war over, its heroes forgotten, Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him. He scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers. Now, fifty years later, his crew has discovered something strange abandoned in space… something many would kill to obtain. It’s clearly the work of the Architects– but are they returning? And if so, why? Print / eAudiobook / eBook.

Bringing Columbia Home by Michael D. Leinbach and Jonathan H. Ward, read by Cassandra Campbell and Danny Campbell. Mike Leinbach was the launch director of the space shuttle program when Columbia disintegrated on reentry before a nation’s eyes on February 1, 2003. In the aftermath of tragedy, people and communities came together to help bring home the remains of the crew and nearly 40 percent of shuttle, an effort that was instrumental in piecing together what happened so the shuttle program could return to flight and complete the International Space Station. Print / eAudiobook / eBook.


Reclaim the Stars edited by Zoraida Córdova, narrated by Almarie Guerra. In this collection of stories by acclaimed young adult authors the Latin American diaspora travels to places of fantasy and out into space. Print / Playaway.

Reaching for the Moon by Katherine Johnson, read by Heather Alicia Simms. The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch Apollo 11. Print / Playaway / eBook.

Disaster Strikes! The Most Dangerous Space Missions of all Time by Jeffrey Kluger, read by L.J. Ganser. There are so many amazing, daring, and exciting missions to outer space that have succeeded. But for every success, there are mistakes, surprises, and flat-out failures that happen along the way. In this collection, bestselling author and award-winning journalist Jeffrey Kluger recounts twelve such disasters, telling the stories of the astronauts and the cosmonauts, the trials and the errors, the missions, and the misses. Print / Playaway.

Victories Greater than Death by Charlie Jane Anders, narrated by Hynden Walch. Tired of hiding in obscurity on Earth, Tina, the human clone of a brilliant alien tactician, pursues her destiny in space, but success is elusive until Tina and her best friend Rachel assemble a ragtag crew of humans and set out to save all the worlds. Print / eAudiobook.

Have Space Suit, will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein, narrated by Mark Turetsky. Kip, a high school senior, wins a space suit in a soap jingle contest and is testing it out in the backyard when he is skyjacked by a space pirate and put aboard a ship with other captives heading for a deadly encounter with the moon. Playaway / eAudiobook.

Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland, narrated by Keylor Leigh. Sylvestri Yarrow is on a streak of bad luck with no end in sight. She’s been doing her best to keep the family cargo business going after her mom’s death, but between mounting debt and increasing attacks by the Nihil on unsuspecting ships, Syl is in danger of losing all she has left of her mother. She heads to the galactic capital of Coruscant for help but gets sidetracked when she’s drawn into a squabble between two of the Republic’s most powerful families over a patch of space on the frontier. Print / eAudiobook / eBook.

Ready for Launch written and read by Scott Kelly. Using ten life-changing moments from his path to space, Astronaut Scott Kelly shares his advice for mastering fear and failure and turning our daily struggles into rocket fuel for success. Print / eAudiobook.

In the Shadow of the Moon by Amy Cherrix, read by Josh Horowitz. The award-winning author of Eye of the Storm chronicles the lesser-known rivalry between former Nazi-turned-U.S. Cold War scientist Wernher von Braun and Russian rocket designer Sergei Korolev, explaining how their controversial scientific achievements shaped human history. Print / eAudiobook / eBook.

Exo by Fonda Lee, narrated by MacLeod Andrews. For a century now, Earth has been a peaceful colony of an alien race, and Donovan Reyes is a loyal member of the security forces, while his father is the Prime Liaison–but when a routine search and seizure goes bad Donovan finds himself a captive of the human revolutionary group, Sapience, terrorists who seem to prefer war to alien rule, and killing Donovan just might be the incident they are looking for. Print / Playaway.

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow, narrated by Joy Sunday and Christian Barillas. Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population. When young Ilori commander M0Rr1S finds seventeen-year-old Ellie’s library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves pop music work together to save humanity? eAudiobook / eBook.


Weird Kid by Greg van Eekhout, narrated by James Fouhey. Jake Foster, a shapeshifting alien of goo disguised as a human, and his spunky friend Agnes investigate the mysterious takeover of their neighbors by “imblobsters” and uncover the reason Jake is losing control of his ability to keep his human shape. Print / Playaway.

A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanne Slade, read by Jeanette Illidge. Shares the story of the pioneering African American mathematician, Katherine Johnson, who helped calculate America’s first manned flight into space, its first manned orbit of Earth, and the world’s first trip to the moon. Print / Wonderbook / eAudiobook.

Emperor of the Universe by David Lubar, narrated by Susan Bennett. When seventh grader Nicholas V. Landrew, his beloved pet gerbil Henrietta, and a package of ground beef are beamed aboard an alien spaceship, they soon find themselves on the run in a madcap chase across the universe. Print / Playaway.

A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga, narrated by Ariana Delawari and Jacob Mcnatt. Built to explore Mars, Resilience begins to develop human-like feelings as he learns from the NASA scientists who assembled him, and as he blasts off and explores Mars, Resilience must overcome different obstacles as he explores the red planet. Print / Playaway.

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee, narrated by Kim Mai Guest. Min, a thirteen-year-old girl with fox-magic, stows away on a battle cruiser and impersonates a cadet in order to solve the mystery of what happened to her older brother in the Thousand World Space Forces. Print / Playaway / eAudiobook / eBook / Large print.

Jillian vs. Parasite Planet by Nicole Kornher-Stace, narrated by Melissa Moran. Jillian joins her space-explorer parents on a mission. When killer worms attack their base, it’s up to Jillian and her hyperactive computer SABRINA to save her parents from the creepy aliens. Print / eAudiobook / eBook.

We’re not from Here by Geoff Rodkey, narrated by Dani Martineck. After a year on Mars, a young boy and his family migrate to the planet Choom, but the inhabitants of Choom, the Zhuri, who look like giant mosquitoes, don’t really like humans and it up to the boy and his family to change their minds if they hope to survive. Print / eAudiobook.

Mars! Earthlings Welcome by Stacy McAnulty, read by Matt Godfrey. Meet Mars! The red planet. Planet Marvelous. Favorite sibling of Earth (or so he claims). Sometimes they’re close (just 34.5 million miles apart). Sometimes they need space (250 million miles apart)! Earth and Mars have a lot in common–clouds, mountains, polar icecaps. And while Earth has Earthlings, Mars makes a persuasive case for why people should make the journey to spend time with him. His day is 7 minutes longer! He is home to the largest volcano in the whole solar system. He’s, well, marvelous. Print / Wonderbook.

Planets by Elizabeth Carney, read by L.J. Ganser. Provides information about the planets, the sun, and moons. Wonderbook.

Path to the Stars by Sylvia Acevedo, read by Almarie Guerra. The inspiring memoir for young readers about a Latina rocket scientist whose early life was transformed by joining the Girl Scouts and who currently serves as CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Print / eAudiobook / eBook.

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