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SHANGHAIED TO THE MOON by Michael J. Daley

SHANGHAIED TO THE MOON

By Michael J. Daley

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: March 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-399-24619-7
Publisher: Putnam

Straightforward sci-fi adventure veers off course into a black hole of pop psych in this confused outing. Tortured by recurring nightmares, strange behavior from his brother and father and increasingly confrontational sessions with a holographic “Counselor,” 13-year-old Stewart becomes convinced that his memories of his dead mother are being deliberately suppressed. Enter a strange, drunken space-hand, who entices the vulnerable lad into a set of battered old spacecraft for a trip to the Moon. During the trip, Stewart learns that his companion is none other than Val Thorsten, legendary space pilot, and that the mission’s purpose is to recover proof that a competing corporation sabotaged Thorsten’s last, disastrous expedition to Pluto. In contrast to most juvenile science fiction, the sci-tech elements here are credible and consistent. Not the closing scene, however; it takes place in a hospital room after a rousing, thrill-a-second climax and includes not only a happy ending hung on several huge contrivances, but the revelation that Stewart’s memories were indeed altered, as some sort of therapy intended to give his subconscious time to accept more traumatic real ones. Readers who enjoyed Daley’s surer Space Station Rat (2005) will wonder what he was thinking. (Science fiction. 10-12)