Saturday, January 28, 2012

New science fiction worlds to discover

Science fiction is filled with enough new unexplored worlds to fill an entire universe. Here are some recent sci-fi books for teen and tween readers that will take them to the furthest reaches of their imagination. There's no need to stay earth-bound with these stories and series!

Worldshaker, by Richard Harland (Simon & Schuster) Steampunk. Groomed to be the successor to his grandfather, the Supreme Commander of the city-sized ship Worldshaker, 16-year-old Colbert Porpentine fully believes his family's contention that the underprivileged classes are little more than animals. But then he meets Riff, a "Filthy" who has fled her life on the ship's lower decks, and he learns the truth. Rife with dark secrets and lightened with a touch of romance, this steampunk science fiction is fast-paced, exciting, and will thrill fans of detailed world-building with its careful descriptions of the ship and its stubbornly Victorian society.

The Lab, by Jack Heath (Scholastic Press) Science Fiction. Far into the future, the world is devastated by pollution, and the single walled city that remains is controlled entirely by the corrupt ChaoSonic corporation. The only hope for the downtrodden populace is the Deck, a secret organization that's sworn to take down ChaoSonic -- and whose best operative is a product of ChaoSonic's lab, genetically enhanced Agent Six of Hearts. But Agent Six has just been captured. Readers fond of the high-octane action and suspense in James Patterson's Maximum Ride books or Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series will be glued to this thrill ride.

The Resisters, by Eric S. Nylund (Random House) Alien SF. Life seems normal and pleasant enough to 12-year-old Ethan Blackwood...until he learns that the world he believes to be real is nothing but a carefully crafted illusion. Diabolical aliens with the ability to control people's minds took over Earth decades ago, and a few brave kids (the mind-control only works on adults) are the only ones still fighting them. This thrilling and action-packed novel, written by a story consultant for Microsoft Game Studios, is a sure bet for video-game buffs and fans of Orson Scott Card's ever-popular Ender's Game.

Only You Can Save Mankind, by Terry Pratchett (HarperTrophy) Humorous Science Fiction. To escape his parents' marital strife and the non-stop TV coverage of the Gulf War, Johnny Maxwell plays video games (badly). But when Johnny's hacker buddy, Wobbler, gives him a bootleg copy of a computer game called Only You Can Save Mankind, something unusual happens. The game's alien invaders surrender to him, which is completely outside the parameters of the game, and ask for his protection from their human assailants. That's only the beginning of the weirdness in this thought-provoking first volume of the Johnny Maxwell trilogy, which fans of British humor -- and Vivian Vande Velde's novel Heir Apparent -- will especially love.

Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity, by Dave Roman (First Second) Graphic Novel. Aside from having awesome hair, Hakata Soy is hoping to just be a normal kid at Astronaut Academy, a school in space that offers classes like Anti-Gravity Gymnastics and Wearing Cute Hats. But his superhero past won't be easy to shake -- especially when a robot that looks exactly like Hakata comes to kill him. If you like zany adventures with lots of action and a manga-like flair, be sure not to miss this grab bag of a story that mixes in middle-school drama, sweet romance, goofy villains, and outer-space dinosaur racing.

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