THE WRECKER

A mind-bender-cum-novel, set against the bleak landscapes of schoolyard bullying. Theo is tormented by a vicious boy, Jeffrey, and wants revenge. He doesn't just want to kill him or set him up, he wants to wreck himdestroy his mind and soul. Unfortunately for Jeffrey, Theo has a talent for creating devices, a talent that goes beyond genius, beyond artistry: It approaches the metaphysical. When he enlists new kid Michael as his ally, Michael is at once intrigued and terrified. Theo's new device, a wrecker, turns out to be more than either of them had imagined. Skinner's You Must Kiss a Whale (1992), was, like this one, weird. His characters and situations are once again, bizarrely familiar, and his style is unique and compellingly odd. Michael is realistically drawn. He is introspective, struggling with self- doubt, a nice kid; Theo, on the other hand, stepped out of a Dali painting. Michael is mesmerized, wants to know and understand Theo better, yet never does. The descriptions of Theo's method of working and of the machines themselves, are strange and haunting; the outcome immensely satisfying and will linger in the mind. Skinner stretches the boundaries of children's fiction with an unforgettable story. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: July 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-671-79771-9

Page Count: 106

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

BETWEEN TWO FIRES

BLACK SOLDIERS IN THE CIVIL WAR

Brought together in what novelist Hansen (Which Way Freedom?, 1986) calls a ``great experiment,'' black troops in the Civil War faced not only enemy armies but their own side's vicious racism while proving their ability. They had already fought in every previous American war, but never in permanent units; faced with a manpower shortage, Lincoln overcame his reluctance and allowed black companies to form—though some had to assemble and march in secret to avoid civilian riots. Quoting frequently from contemporary sources, Hansen describes their recruitment, their struggle for proper pay, supplies, and training, and their heroic performance in dozens of actions. She contends that, for them, the war had no complex causes: first, last and always, it was a crusade against slavery. Her methodical, well-documented study is ranges wider than Cox's Undying Glory (about the Massachusetts 54th Regiment). Murky b&w photos and reproductions; notes; substantial bibliography; index. (Nonfiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-531-11151-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.

FUTUREDAZE

AN ANTHOLOGY OF YA SCIENCE FICTION

A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more