Email this review


Australian sf writer Harding, author of last year's paranormal YA novel Misplaced Persons, has come up with a clear-cut, dramatic predicament that kids can relate to: inside a giant computerized spacesuit, accidentally hurled to Earth, is tiny spaceman Tyro--and imprisoned with him by accident is a young boy, Erik. The spacesuit, its computer awry, is out of control and in danger of coming apart; Tyro can't survive on the air outside, Erik can't survive on the air within. But: the route to this genuine dilemma is via lots and lots of prosy exposition and rumination; Erik figures chiefly as an innocent victim--the object first of his father's concern, then of Tyro's; and it's not until page 57 (30 pages before the end) that we actually get into the spacesuit with him and witness his discovery of tiny Tyro--not a fearsome giant but his ""brother in distress."" (Before, there's much ado about siezing the giant spaceman and rescuing Erik.) The ending is tense, but also bathetic and preachy--and again none of Erik's doing: with the rampaging spacesuit finally stuck in a lake, Tyro helps Erik escape into the air. a noble sacrifice interrupted at the very last moment by the miraculous appearance of a starship come to rescue him. The people on Earth aren't all warlike, he ruminates; ""in their children there was hope for a happier world."" Virtually all of this, in short, is written from the outside--as a story told rather self-consciously to children. It's also presented in a flat 7fl x 8 3/4 format for younger children who may not have the patience to wait through the preliminaries for the action to be joined.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1980
Publisher: Harper & Row