I like “A Boy And His Dog” as a subversive “young adult fiction” choice. Its one of those things were the movie is more popular than the book, which is unfortunate because the movie drops the final crucial (and titular) exchange between the boy and the girl he escapes with:
The girl is hungry and the dog is injured. The girl argues that they should eat the dog.
she says, “Do you know what love is?”
Vic asks himself. He then answers: “Sure I know. Love is a boy and his dog.”
It’s also a fun subversion of the “damsel in distress” trope, on a few levels.
Harlan Ellison uses children in his works occasionally, like in “Jeffty Is Five”, a short story about a boy who doesn’t age, but warps the world him so that all the media he consumes is reconfigured to be in a nostalgic style of media from days gone by (when he stopped aging).
Harlan has released a few albums of him reading his own short stories, and while I cant say I think he’s a good guy, personally, he certainly is pretty good at animating his own works in a new way when he reads them. He’s a decent performer. IMO his reading of “I Have No Mouth No Mouth, But I Must Scream” is the best way to enjoy the work.
I’d highly recommend the “Voices From The Edge” collection of him doing readings of his own short stories. I’ve only listened to Vol. 1 & 2 (“Laugh Track” is another favorite of mine, and it shares some funny thematic similarities with “Jeffty Is Five”, but in, like, an inverse way.) Looking at that Wikipedia page now, I’ll probably have to go listen to Vol. 5 at some point. This is a good route to consume some classic sci-fi short stories even if you’re not a big fan of, or dont have time for the act of reading.
As long as I’m on the subject of “audio fiction” I’m going to mention a couple narrative podcasts.
A Twilight World of Ultimate Smoothenss is no contest, hands down the best narrative podcast I’ve ever heard. It benefits immensely from the fact that it’s just a six episode “mini-series”, so it doesn’t drag on endlessly. A R&B DJ whose career is failing watches his world disintegrate.
“THE TRUTH” is an anthology series. Most of the episodes have some kind of “speculative fiction” aspect to them. Its anthological nature is both a strength and a weakness, because the quality, tone, and subject matter of the individual episodes can vary immensely. TBH I haven’t listened to this one much over the past year, because when I stopped driving a long commute, I cut down a lot on of podcasts, so I cant speak to some of the newer episodes, (but I’m sure they’re fine).