I read a number of books when I was around 10-15 years old (roughly 1985-1990) by a female, Canadian, sci-fi author. I can't remember her name (maybe Amy something?) or the titles of any of the books but I'll try to describe a few plot elements. I can't even remember what bits were together in which books.

  • most books involved children, or 'young adults', in dystopian futures

  • one story involved a young boy who worked as a gardener in a domed city whose hand had been genetically modified into a set of garden shears

  • another story involved a young girl who was somehow telepathically/psychically linked to another girl a great distance away. Although they had never met she felt compelled to leave her city and travel to meet her

  • at one point a young boy and girl (possibly one of them the gardener) escape a city into a "wasteland" outer world and come across a landfill site full of strange items they don't recognize like plastic bottles and shopping bags

  • Hi did you ever find this - I’ve been looking for years and I think It’s the same book. If so some details I remember - there was a walkway scene in it where those who aren’t free thinkers like the main character is all had a pile up which he had to step around. If you have found it please let me know!
    – Jo Zebedee
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 23:57
  • @JoZebedee - OP (in a soon-to-be-deleted answer) has indicated that this is the correct answer.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 1, 2023 at 17:11

5 Answers 5


enter image description here

The OP might not be around anymore and I can’t take credit for this - it was solved for me on another forum - but The Gardener story is 'The Others' by Alison Prince, released in 1986 (but I don’t think she wrote multiple sci-fi books)

Description of the story - "Ergo, with his secateur fingers and his green twine hair, can see no way out of the Underhill syste, designed for the privileged Others of Air City. But by a freak of facte he meets Wenti, a girl who comes from the Others, but is troubled by the injustice of the system they have created."

  • Alison Prince doesn't appear to be a Canadian author, having never lived outside the U.K.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 15:26
  • No she isn’t - but the book about the gardener is definitely this. I’m assuming the others are by a different author. (Most likely Monica Hughes)
    – JoZ
    Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 17:15
  • 1
    OP here, albeit with a different account. I’ve been checking this thread every few years, and can’t believe that after almost 13 years I’ve finally got answers! Thank you so much. Alison Prince’s “The Others” fits the bill perfectly for the gardener/secateurs story, and I’m pretty sure Monica Hughes is the Canadian author I was thinking of. I obviously conflated the two over time. Commented Oct 1, 2023 at 16:48
  • @GaryParker - I’m so glad you found it. Your description of the Gardner was added to what I remembered (including the cover) on another forum and a searcher found it by chance when looking for a different book!
    – JoZ
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 20:35

When checking up on City of Ember, found an author that fits the bill, Suzanne Martel. She's a french-Canadian author and was active from the 60s onwards. Unfortunately she seems to write in French, so this means that I cannot get summaries for her books (especially because they are old).

However, it seems that the book called "Surreal 3000"/"The City Under Ground" is a match for one of your stories, so do check it out.

  • This article in Science Fiction Studies #61 mentions some plot elements of Surréal 3000, including a little girl's telepathy that causes the heroes to travel outside the city. So yes, that sounds like a likely match.
    – user56
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 16:08
  • The City Underground was about a boy, I think. People had moved underground due to an impending nuclear holocaust (maybe?) and he finds a way back to the surface, where he meets a girl. I distinctly remember a scene where he sees rain for the first time. Pretty sure neither of his hands was garden shears. Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 17:46
  • "Surreal 3000"/"The City Under Ground" has a telepathic link, but it's between a boy and a girl. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 14:03

The one story with the boy and girl sounds like a movie I saw with Bill Murray in it. They live in an underground city called the City of Ember. That's it, the original book was written by Jeanne Duprau.

  • 2
    That book was released in 2003, so probably not what the asker wanted.
    – apoorv020
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 1:44

None of the plot lines mentioned sound familiar, but could it be Monica Hughes? http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monica_Hughes

  • Monica Hughes sounds like a pretty good match for the era and subject matter. One of her novels was "Devil on my Back", about a boy living in a technological sophisticated but emotionally sterile domed city, who escapes to the wasteland. There is a garden scene. The sequel is "The Dream Catcher", in which a telepathic occupant of a different domed city felt compelled to leave and meet a stranger.
    – AshleyZ
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 19:38

I think that one of the books will be "Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood.

  • 8
    The Handmaid's Tale doesn't sound like any of those plots, and isn't a young adult book. Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 21:17
  • I think this answer should be reassessed. The Handmaid's Tale is definitely not a book for children and young adults. Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 17:43
  • M.Atwood is canadian, but that's about it....
    – A.D
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 12:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.