Posts tagged ‘sci-fi’

SCOUT’S HONOR

The Hairy Fairy: The Hairy Fairy Tales, Book 1

Written by Mark Watson

On Saturday morning, Jack wakes up to discover a hairy fairy sitting on his head. Jack is incredulous. The fairy informs Jack that his boss is angry with him for messing with her cat, so she banished him to spend a day sitting on someone’s head. He tells Jack that no one else can see him, but that doesn’t mean they can’t cause mischief and have some fun. Poor Jack is determined to carry out his previous plan to spend the day at the Scout Jamboree. When he goes to the market, the fairy causes the vegetables to grow. They soon take over the town and cause all manner of havoc. Now Jack and his nemesis are trapped. Will they be able to escape? What will happen to the town now involved with the military in a battle against the vegetables, likened to World War III?

This book of fewer than fifty pages might best be described as a beginning chapter book. The clever rhymes are filled with humor and challenging vocabulary. Illustrations are done in graphic novel style. Aimed at a six to twelve age audience, I think that advanced beginning readers and middle school students will love the quirky plot and offbeat humorous rhymes. Fans of fantasy, sci-fi, and humor probably will enjoy it.

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DISASTER IN THE DISTANCE

Sweetly The Dragon Dreams

Written by David Farland

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Novella is a a combination of sci-fi, fantasy, romance and technology rolled into one. The humans have lived for more than 100,000 years under the subjugation of a superior alien species. As the story opens, a young human girl named Tallori is gathering damselflies as an offering for the goddess known as the Holy Mistress. Humans must bring these offerings to the palace where the resplendent being resides with her skraals. When Tallori finds a dragon’s skull, she alerts her drunken father, Angar who gossips about his good fortune. Meantime Anduval who is gifted with four brains and favored by the holy maiden, is ordered to retrieve the dragon’s head. Angar has already split it with an axe; the magical lights from it arise, and Anduval catches and is blinded by one of them. The Holy Mistress realizes than an attack by the enemy is imminent and the entire kingdom is put to work to build a worldship on which to escape. The Holy Mistress urges Anduval to bring Tallori to the palace; he treats her as his sister, but Tallori falls in love with him. As the Holy Mistress prepares to give birth to her chrysalis, the kingdom struggles to put their escape plan into effect.

The plot is amazingly well developed considering the length of the tale; readers get a good taste of the characters. At the end of the story, I wanted still wanted more. Though this type of story is not my preferred genre, I felt compelled to read it cover to cover in one sitting. There are some veiled sexual references, but nothing objectionable for teen readers. Recommended for sci-fi, tech geeks, and even fans of romance.

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JOSTLING FOR POWER

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!

The Adventures of Link: The Beginning Stage 1

Written by Cain Silverfish

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This short fantasy novella describes the land of Josling, which at one time, was occupied by over 20 races that interbred and competed with each other. Hundreds of years of warfare ensued as each of the Lords attempted to unify it under their power. Eventually four main races remained: the TriBunes, Elves, Dwarves and Humans. The Humans tried to remain peaceful as they were the fewest in number.

One of the TriBunes, Professor Wei, is a respected history professor who is teaching about the Battle of Stone Mountain, which released the TriBunes from the slavery of the Dwarves. Through Holographic inserts, he paints the dramatic battle for his students of mixed races. On his way home, Professor Wei meets his old war rival, Karth Toebashar, who is clearly drunk. Out of nowhere a human appears who pleads for their help. Professor Wei invites both of them to his home. A knock at the door reveals unexpected visitors searching for “the human.” Who are they? Will Professor Wei and Toebashar reveal the identity of the secret visitor? The ending sets up for Stage 2. Silverfish entices the reader by offering this book free if you leave your email address with a review of the first book.

The first book offers a bit of history and sci-fi with the fantasy series. It is appropriate for tweens, teens and adults. Link promises to be an interesting character.

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ALIEN CATS?

Why Kimba Saved the World (Cats in the Mirror) Book 1

Written by Meg Dendler

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First in a series of middle grade chapter books featuring a family which includes four cats and a dog along with their human family. In this book, Kimba, a heterochromatic cat, is recruited by an agency of sci-fi cats to restore cats to their rightful place as rulers of the universe.

Kimba is distinct not only due to the fact that she has one green and one blue eye, but also because she combines the curiosity of a cat with the sensitivity of a human. Kimba and her sister Hiro’s lives change one day when Kimba sees a mysterious image in the bathroom mirror. Turns out a race of cats led by its leader Regalus are plotting a world-wide takeover and Kimba has been selected to be one of their spies. But Kimba has never even been outside the house, and Hiro has even less interest in changing her comfortable existence. How can they possibly succeed?

The story line starts out slowly, then builds up as Kimba eventually must choose between her family and her cat lineage. Dendler knows the character and personality of felines well; she does a superb job of getting into Kimba’s head and allowing the reader to identify with her. Middle grade readers who love animals will like this book; it paints a realistic picture with enough sci-fi details to make the story convincing. In the end, Kimba, like many of her young readers in their everyday lives, is forced to make a difficult decision. Where does her loyalty lie?

Recommended as an independent read for students age nine through twelve or as a read aloud by a librarian or classroom teacher. Available in kindle and paperback. The second and third books in the series have recently been released.

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A SENSE OF BELONGING?

The Borderlands Book One: Journey

Written by Aderyn Wood

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The Borderlands is the first book in a mystery/fantasy sci-fi series. It is a pleasant mixture of fantasy and magic combined with a coming of age story. The plot contains many twists and turns ending with what the reader would least expect.

Dale is a high school student who experiences many of the problems today’s teens face. She is a bit of a geek, bullied by the “in-crowd” at her private school whom she calls “the plastics.” Her single mother, Victoria, is always trying to impress her friends by making Dale into her own image. Dale is sensitive, and a talented artist who paints fairies, spirits, other-wordly creatures. She has also begun to experience auras. One day she meets a new boy named Rhys who has a magnetic affect on her which she is powerless to explain. Dale’s only friend is an elderly, homeless man named Gareth with whom she plans to spend the summer sailing.

Dale steals away in the sailboat; she endures one struggle after another in an effort to survive discovery and capture. A sorceress and friend of Gareth’s named Ness as well as a sprite named Esme and Gareth’s Cat will all be instrumental in her process of self-discovery and a journey to The Borderlands, which are worlds adjacent to Earth. A hierarchy of good and evil powers exists between and within these lands each alternately seeking wars or to maintain balance.

Will Dale succeed in her new role? Where and how will she find her happiness? I recommend this book series for fans of fantasy, sci-fi and mystery. Teen and young adult audiences will readily identify with the characters and their struggles.

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LOST BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

Hope Defined (Dinah Dynamo)

Written by Shannon Humphrey

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This book is a tale of two heroines; Hope, a thirteen year old wannabe astrophysicist, struggling to make a difference in the “hood” on Earth, and Dinah, one of the scions who travel space creating planets and chasing the stars. Hope must overcome bullies and racism; Dinah must figure out how to control the forces struggling to tear her being apart.

Humphrey succeeds in writing a book that addresses problems many middle grade students face, bullying and racism, while at the same time facing how to “come of age.” The parallel science fiction story of Dinah, who is being tested in her world, lends an appealing element to the middle grade reader. Hope is truly a creative genius, but she is faced with opposition from her black friends who want her to give up her “nerdiness” and just fit in, while at the same time fighting to compete with the white kids who are jealous of her and scheme to get her in trouble. Her mother does not understand her devotion to her studies, but a neighbor named Mr. Lewis is willing to help. Hope has strange dreams about a girl who looks like her and gives her confidence; Dinah struggles with a strange feeling that she is needed to help someone, but does not understand how or where this impulse originates.

The plot details the kind of experiences middle school students face everyday and portrays situations with which they can empathize. I highly recommend this book to parents and teachers as a starting point of discussions on bullying and racism. It raises many situations that should be raised before these issues arise. Children age nine and up will find this a compelling read and a useful resource for answering may of their questions in a nonjudgmental fashion. This story teaches and does not preach; a most effective way to reach the minds of tweens and young teens.

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