Continuing with my theme week of highlighting middle grade science fiction, today I’m recommending a charming self-published book that feels like a classic SF adventure only updated for today. In other words, awesome.
Noah Zarc (Mammoth Trouble) by D. Robert Pease
is a rollicking space adventure that jumps through time with the Zarc family as
they try to save animals (yes, two by two) from Earth’s past to repopulate a
planet barren of animal life. Noah Jr. is busy getting in trouble for
unscheduled tests of his thermsuit when his parents fail to return from a
mission to the Ice Age. Noah and his brainy brother and teenage sister jump
through time and space to try to rescue their parents only to find that Hoan – arch enemy of the ARC (Animal Rescue Cruiser) project – has kidnapped their mom. And that’s just
the beginning of adventures that take our young heroes from the moon to Mars to
many different space-times on Earth. Pease gives the ancient nature of the
story of Noah’s Ark a nod, while updating it to the year 3000 in a completely
fresh way. I especially like the tender puppy-love story between Noah and
Adina, the Ice Age orphan girl who shows ancient people to be a lot smarter
than we’d expect.
I love about science fiction has always been the willingness of SF authors to
tackle social issues. I would love to see more middle grade science fiction
precisely because I believe that middle grade kids are primed and ready to debate
the kinds of social issues that SF dives into. Noah Zarc is light and fun, but
it is also “serious” science fiction (as opposed to
“comedy” focused MG SF, which doesn’t usually have the same impact in a
philosophical sense). Noah Zarc is chock full of gadgety devices and space-time
travel, but Pease also gives a nuanced spin to the political dynamics of
repopulating Earth with long-extinct animals while people remain trapped in
crowded colonies on Mars and Venus.
adventure, this story goes easy on the violence. I don’t know the reading level
of this book, but I’m guessing around 4th or 5th grade. With its light-touch
adventure and advanced reading level, this makes it a perfect read for
advanced readers as young as 6. And older kids, as well as animal lovers of any
age, will love the adventure and time travel conundrums.
e-reader (or are willing to lend yours to them!), you can’t beat the $0.99 price for Noah Zarc on Amazon. (And the paper version is also available, for those that would like to tuck this modern spin on a tale every
child loves under the Christmas tree.)
Noah Zarc, now thirteen, heads to Venus in an attempt to learn more about his own past. Once there, he becomes embroiled in a mission that could end up causing the greatest cataclysm in the history of the solar system. Could Noah go down as the worst villain in humanity’s existence, all because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Find out in Noah Zarc: Cataclysm, coming in 2012!
Because I happen to KNOW THE AUTHOR we get a special SNEAK PEEK at the cover for Noah Zarc (Cataclysm)…
adventure between the pages of this great middle grade science fiction story.
name D. Robert Pease as the cover designer for my novel Open Minds (and
yes, he designs his own covers!). The story behind that can be found here, but
long before Dale worked magic on my cover, I was lucky enough to be a critique
partner on one of the first drafts of Noah Zarc. It’s a great pleasure to see
the evolution of this charming story, and I’m so glad that it’s now available
for kids (and fellow MGlit lovers) to read!