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SPACER AND RAT by Margaret Bechard


by Margaret Bechard

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-59643-058-3
Publisher: Roaring Brook

Paying both direct and indirect tribute to Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and other icons of science fiction’s Golden Age, Bechard casts two young Asteroid Belt dwellers, one a stranded traveler from Earth, into a desperate flight to save a small, fabulously valuable sentient robot. Usually, Jack joins his friends to hunt down fugitive “rats” and turn them over to the all-powerful Company—but he unwillingly finds himself helping Kit stay hidden, pulled in both by the force of her determination to save her companion, an illegally modified maintenance ’bot named Waldo, and by Waldo’s own irrepressible eagerness for new experiences. Like her progenitors, the author adds thinly veiled social and political commentary (one pursuer even justifies her actions with a reference to a rival colony’s “weapons of mass destruction”). Unlike them, though, she seems in no hurry to get her tale off the launch pad—though once it does take off, it accelerates nicely through chases, narrow escapes and surprises to a thought-provoking close. Above average adventure SF, lit up by a sparky cast, credible science and social engineering and homage to past greats of the genre. (Science fiction. 11-13)