“May the fourth be with you” – it’s Star Wars Day*!
Outer space is a great setting for young adult books. Sometimes it’s the distance from home and safety that’s the major plot factor. Other times it’s the way that young people overcome obstacles which are magnified by limitations on oxygen, gravity, and other resources. And often enough, it’s other people who are the challenge to the heroes and heroines we meet in space-related stories, with results ranging from comic to tragic.
The Moon Maze Game, by long-time sci fi authors Larry Niven and Steven Barnes, takes live-action role playing games to new heights as teams of veteran high-tech LARP simulation players are pitted against each other in a self-contained habitat on the Moon. Its puzzles, tricks, and traps may become the players’ allies when terrorists hijack the game habitat.
While today’s LARPers are limited to Earth, you can learn more about classic live action games at www.larp.com which has gathered info, strategies, and locations for 15 years.
School in space sounds like the most fun thing ever, but Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity seems perilous to Hakata Soy, who missed the first weeks of school due to his crime-fighting assignment. Learning Spanish (and spying) with Senor Panda, dinosaur racing, – this graphic novel by Dave Roman brings stories from students and teachers in space.
While many elements of Astronaut Academy are over-the-top funny, Roman stays true to the science of space – human Doug must wear his spacesuit to stay out on the spacewalk all day and oxygen gum helps players stay in the game during fireball tournaments.
Meanwhile, a spaceship continues on its 300-year voyage to a new planetary system with settlers in cryosleep and a rigid hierarchy of crew members tending to the ship’s needs. But as they hurtle Across the Universe, someone starts unfreezing settlers and disarming the cryo-alarms. Some die from their botched reawakening, but teenage Amy is saved.
Still many decades from their destination planet, Amy knows that her scientist-expert parents are still Frozen, and Elder of the crew knows that Amy doesn’t fit into their society. First in a trilogy, followed by A Million Suns, with book 3 scheduled for January 2013 publication.
Of course, there will be great space-based YA books ahead, so keep watching BooksYALove to find your new favorites.
*thanks to ABDO Books for providing the Star Wars photo-op during the 2012 Texas Library Association Annual Conference in Houston.