This stellar collection will appeal to both teens and grown-ups who dream of future worlds.

2018 YOUNG EXPLORER'S ADVENTURE GUIDE

From the Young Explorer's Adventure Guides series , Vol. 4

Worlds await young readers….

Imagine sneaking out of your habitat home on planet Skag3, defying your mother’s orders, so that you can take an adventurous walk on this strange new planet, only to be chased back by a legless carpet of lime-green fur. Or maybe you’re an extraterrestrial kid visiting Earth for the first time, longing for your Ocean home, while human beings mistake the sustainable connection you have to your home planet for an ancient religious belief. How about, instead of going to high school, because you’re a genetically engineered teen, created without lungs, your job is to scan the Earth’s destroyed, methane-filled atmosphere in your environmental pod. These are just a few of the page-turning stories in this annual showcase of sci-fi. This anthology offers new, vividly futuristic adventures featuring diverse characters, including humans from all over Earth as well as ET kids from other planets. One of the qualities that makes this yearly anthology such a treat to read is the wide range of futuristic possibilities that planet Earth and its occupants may encounter, realities that will keep readers wondering long after the book is closed. A few stories present poignant discourse about Earth’s sustainability, mixing neatly with adventures that give kids agency to navigate and ponder their own realities in different worlds.

This stellar collection will appeal to both teens and grown-ups who dream of future worlds. (Science fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-940924-25-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dreaming Robot

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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Intelligent cli-fi fantasy with Fab Four wish-fulfillment tossed into the Magical Mystery Tour.

THE EDGE OF ELSEWHERE

In this debut novel, three teenagers in the parched, dying world of 2079 use Albert Einstein’s time-travel secrets to go back a century and warn humanity via a surprised music superstar.

Stea’s book joins the field of “cli-fi” climate-change tales, with time travel and real-life eminences involved. A prologue indicates that Einstein discovered time travel and thus beheld the New York World’s Fair in 1964, years after his official death. Now it’s 2079, 40 years after the eco-collapse, mass extinction, and calamitous fires that accompanied global warming. In dusty, mostly deserted New Jersey, adolescent Abbey Lane subsists with her holdout family and friends while most everyone else has migrated to the Great Lakes for scarce fresh water. Exploring the ruins of Princeton University with her friend Max Sutter, Abbey finds Einstein’s secret journal hidden in an antique desk. Her asthmatic, invalid brother, Paul, possesses an awesome intellect, and he deciphers “Uncle Albert’s” time-travel methods from the journal’s pages—how to use naturally occurring, invisible wormholes in time/space to voyage back and forth chronologically. When Paul locates a scheduled wormhole within travel distance, the three kids sneak away from home on a mission to go back in time and warn the world about the future fate that will ensue from industrial emissions and apathy. They do indeed teleport to 1971, and the trio winds up in a New York City filled with hippie idealists and Vietnam War protesters, who sense something special about the three teens who act like they’ve never seen green grass or rain before. Stea somehow avoids a campy tone amid the Greenwich Village and Bleecker Street counterculture (not an easy feat). When the kids enter the orbit of legendary rock musician John Lennon, the handling of Lennon as a fictional character is realistic and persuasive where a more star-struck SF narrative might have gone off the rails. Indeed, readers will suddenly notice Beatles references insinuated throughout. Though modulated for a YA readership, all ages can jam to the leisurely narrative, and older ones who still remember the period may appreciate the what-if treatment that’s brought off well. While the author credits numerous writers, thinkers, and rockers as influences, AWOL is Jack Finney, whose nostalgic time-travel tales echo this one.

Intelligent cli-fi fantasy with Fab Four wish-fulfillment tossed into the Magical Mystery Tour. (acknowledgments, author bio)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73313-591-7

Page Count: 438

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2020

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A clever, feel-good opening to a fantasy series with a tenacious heroine.

Girls Can't Be Knights

From the Spirit Knights series , Vol. 1

The start of a new YA series features a teen orphan and a protective brotherhood of Spirit Knights.

Fifteen-year-old Claire Terdan lives in a group foster home in Portland, Oregon. Six years ago, her family died in a house fire, and her only dependable friend since has been a boy her age named Drew. One day in school, after she punches a bully who mocks her, the principal suspends her for a day. She sneaks out of school and into town only to be accosted by several cats and dogs. Meanwhile, at the nearby Oregon Historical Society, a man named Justin arrives on his white horse, Tariel. He’s there, dressed in his green Spirit Knight armor, to borrow (some might say steal) an antique hat that has sentimental meaning to his mentor, Kurt. When he meets Claire, he offers her a ride home. Telling Justin she doesn’t have one, Claire ends up with him in Vancouver, Washington, at his family’s farm. There she meets his wife and two young daughters and eventually learns about the Palace, a magical, dormitory-style structure where Spirit Knights—a brotherhood that protects the world from ghostly, vengeful Phasms—dwell. Justin isn’t sure why Claire seems familiar until he learns that she’s the daughter of a dead Knight named Mark. French (Superheroes in Denim, 2016, etc.) establishes a crafty new fantasy series with a light smattering of genre fixtures, including talking animals, an enchanted pendant, and the firmly held belief that “Girls can’t be Knights.” Most of the narrative drama comes from grounded conflicts that teens should relate to, like Claire’s attraction to the older Justin and the lousy conditions of the “sanitized prison” that is her group home. Later scenes in which a detective named Avery physically assaults Claire are not for the faint-hearted. The upside for the tale’s heroine is that Justin and his family turn out to be perfect for her; despite early misgivings about them, she decides to “admire the example they set and be grateful for it.” The story should provide a heartwarming boost to anyone in a tough situation.

A clever, feel-good opening to a fantasy series with a tenacious heroine.

Pub Date: June 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-68063-030-5

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Myrddin Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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