Monday, November 9, 2009

Sky Horizon

Twenty-Nine Palms high school seems like a pretty typical place, with social divisions that might be expected at any American high school. Its location near a military base and a top-secret research facility mean that a lot of the kids are army brats or the children of scientists. The fact that some of the kids from the math club are keeping an alien in their basement isn’t surprising—of course they’d want to study it. And they wouldn’t get much of a chance if they turned it over to the authorities! And its also not surprising that the alien is kidnapped by some jocks who are looking to make a quick buck by charging admission to stare at it.

Sky Horizon was brought to my attention by a friend who was trolling David Brin’s web site. While it is billed as “book 1 in the Colony High series,” and was published in 2007, I haven’t been able to find information about further volumes. Though the ending of this story does leave a big “what happens next,” I thought it was an interesting take on aliens and teenagers.

From the flap copy, which describes student Mark Bamford hearing the alien rumors and deciding to investigate, I expected a teenagers & alien vs. evil government story (I was thinking E.T., actually), but it actually turned out to be an exploration of first contact, and what that would mean for the Earth as a whole, particularly if teens were involved.

Even if Brin doesn’t move forward with the series, Sky Horizon will give you a lot to think about, and maybe you’ll even create some of your own stories about what happens next to Mark, his friends, and Twenty-Nine Palms high school. The possibilities are there, and one of the greatest things a book can do is spark your imagination. If you like this one, you might want to try out some of Brin’s other fiction, his web site details his Uplift series and has some short stories that you can read for free. Sky Horizon isn't for sale in many places at the moment, but check for it in your local library!

Cross posted at Dwelling in Possibility.

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