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*Portal Pages: SCIENCE FICTION

Book Reviews for Young Adults

Science Fiction


Card, O.S. (1992). Ender's game. New York: Tor.

Awards: 1986 Nebula Award for best Novel, 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel, 1986 Science Fiction Chronicle Reader Award 


ReviewYoung Ender Wiggin is a genius in a family of brilliant minds. The youngest of three, Ender and his siblings are chosen to participate in a military program which tracks their every move. Resentment builds between Ender and his brother over their successes and failures in the program, as it does with Ender’s classmates. Ultimately, Ender is chosen to be among the potential program recruits to train in Battle School.

Though he is hopeful of a fresh start at his new school, Ender meets more of the same competition and jealousy which he has had to face in his life back home. Despite these challenges, Ender trains hard and accomplishes high scores on military simulations, earning him respect and the attention of the military commanders. He is quickly promoted through the school ranks and elevated to study at Command school. Here, his daring tactical skills in simulations win him accolades as well as nightmares. To Ender’s sensitive and brilliant mind it has become clear that the simulations are in fact real time battles being waged against an alien threat known as the buggers.Tormented by remorse, Ender sets off on a quest to learn all he can about the alien race he has inadvertently decimated. Will he ever make amends for the destruction he has wrought? It all depends on the strength of his mind, heart, and resolve as he makes a daring play to find an alien queen and save an enemy race.

This space aged story of adolescence in war is beautifully written and earns 5 out of 5 stars from me. The heavy themes are made more accessible by the remote, videogame-like arena of war which is thoughtfully and realistically crafted in this classic science fiction novel.


 

Science Fiction


Bradbury, R. (1951). The illustrated man. Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday.

Awards: 1952 International Fantasy Award Nominee


Review

Walking down a dusty road, two drifters meet by chance: The Wanderer and the Illustrated Man. Deciding to make camp together for the night, the wanderer asks about the Illustrated Man’s Tattoos. Every inch of him is covered in pictures inked by a woman from the future. As the Wonderer looks on, the tattoos come to life, sharing with him 18 short stories of technology, space and events yet to occur.  


 


Adams, D. (1980). The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy. New York: Harmony Books.

Awards: 1980 International Fiction Award


Review

Arthur Dent is an average guy living his life in a quiet town in England until it’s all turned upside down by the demolition of his home to make way for expanding infrastructure. Arthur’s eccentric friend, Ford Prefect appears in a panic over the pending destruction and, grabbing Arthur, runs, or rather teleports, to safety. Little does Arthur know that his friend is in fact a traveling alien. Stowing away on a Vogon ship, the two friends are caught and sentenced to death. Luckily, Ford’s cousin Zaphod Beeblebrox has stolen a spaceship with an improbability drive, an amazing feat of engineering that will make the most improbable of situations a reality. As Arthur and Ford prepare to meet their doom, the improbability drive is activated, pulling the two onto spaceship Heart of Gold. Here, Arthur and his friends embark on a weird and wild adventure to discover the meaning of life, the universe, and everything!

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars for being weirdly wonderful! This ridiculous space tale is action packed and heartwarming, with an unlikely cast of well-developed characters. Though at first glance this lengthy book might seem intimidating, the fast paced and funny adventures make it a quick read for those willing to engage in more than their healthy share of suspension of disbelief.