Pod

Pod

4.2 8
by Stephen Wallenfels
     
 

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Surviving a massive alien siege is one thing-­surviving humanity is another.

I'm all cried out. I'm still alone. The sky is full of giant spinning black balls that kill anyone stupid enough to go outside. I've only been out of the car twice-once to pee and once to look at the sky. That one look was enough for me. Now I sit alone in the car, staring out the… See more details below

Overview

Surviving a massive alien siege is one thing-­surviving humanity is another.

I'm all cried out. I'm still alone. The sky is full of giant spinning black balls that kill anyone stupid enough to go outside. I've only been out of the car twice-once to pee and once to look at the sky. That one look was enough for me. Now I sit alone in the car, staring out the window like a rat in a cage. But I don't have anyone to look at. The parking garage is empty, except for twisted-up cars, broken glass, and the smell of leaking gasoline.

POD is the story of a global cataclysmic event, told from the viewpoints of Megs, a twelve-year-old streetwise girl trapped in a hotel parking garage in Los Angeles; and sixteen-year-old Josh, who is stuck in a house in Prosser, Washington, with his increasingly obsessive-compulsive father. Food and water and time are running out. Will Megs survive long enough to find her mother? Will Josh and his father survive each other?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Debut novelist Wallenfels delivers an intense novel of humanity's reaction to an alien invasion. When the PODs—hovering alien balls that obliterate any humans who venture outdoors—appear, 15-year-old Josh and his father are trapped inside their house in a small Washington town. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Megs is trapped in a parking garage in California, waiting for her mother to return. The story alternates between each protagonist, as Josh faces internal struggles over his isolation and his father's increasing depression, and Megs deals with a dangerous group that has taken over an adjacent hotel. Wallenfels isn't afraid to take risks, often yanking hope away from the characters in the most painful ways, and it usually pays off. By focusing on the humans and keeping the aliens' motivations shrouded in mystery, he creates a tense environment for readers. There are some bits that fall flat—Megs's adventures, in particular, seem to be artificially extended over the 28 days of the story, and rely too often on conveniently overheard conversations, but, overall, the book is fast-paced and engrossing. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
This story presents an alien invasion from two unique viewpoints. Megs is 12, trapped alone in the parking garage of a Los Angeles hotel, forced to scrounge for food and water while avoiding alien spaceships outside and security guards who have taken over the hotel with vicious disregard for the safety of their "guests" inside. Josh is about to turn 16, trapped in his house in Washington state with his father and dog, watching their world being slowly but surely destroyed, day after day, from his living-room window. Both have to deal with supplies that shrink with every rationed meal. No phones, no radio or television, no electricity and no ability to step out of shelter without being "deleted"-this is a new world that only the truly brave can exist in. Written in short chapters that alternate between Megs and Josh, this masterful debut grabs readers by the throat from the first page and never lets go. It is clear at the end that there's a lot more story to tell, and one can only hope that a sequel is not far behind. (Science fiction. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
"Masterful...grabs the reader by the throat from the first page and never lets go." —Kirkus Reviews

"Exceptional and unexpected, Pod is a gem not to be missed." —The Entertainer (Kennewick, WA)

"Solid, straighforward sci-fi." —Booklist

Eloquence quotes
"Masterful...grabs the reader by the throat from the first page and never lets go." —Kirkus Reviews

"Exceptional and unexpected, Pod is a gem not to be missed." —The Entertainer (Kennewick, WA)

"Solid, straighforward sci-fi." —Booklist

Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
In two parallel but non-intersecting stories, Wallenfels spins out a chilling tale about the aftermath of an alien invasion on Earth. Sixteen-year-old Josh, in Prosser, Washington, left alone in his suburban home with his increasingly obsessive-compulsive father, calls the attacking spaceships PODS, for Pearls of Death. Thirteen-year-old Megs, trapped all by herself in a hotel parking garage in Los Angles just says they look like "giant spinning black balls" filling the sky. Both kids know that to go outside means getting zapped into instant death. The novel is structured as a list of the days that follow: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, all the way to Day 28, as Josh and Megs watch their food and water run out, see beloved pets succumb to heartbreaking loss, and observe their fellow remaining humans descending into mental illness or sadistic violence. There is always a fascination in watching well crafted characters challenged by post-apocalyptic survival; Wallenfels has given each character a compelling voice, marked by wry sarcasm for Josh and quiet determination for Megs. But there is also a dreariness in sitting through what seems to be a very slow countdown to inevitable death by starvation, dehydration, suicide, or murder. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
Barbara A. Ward
The discordant sound of screeching metal awakens 15-year-old Josh from his comfortable bed in rural Prosser, Washington. The insistent voice of her mother awakens 12-yearold Meg from her slumber in their duct-taped car parked in a hotel garage in bustling Los Angeles, California. From those separate wake-up calls, two seemingly disparate narrative strands are wrapped around the appearance of alien spacecrafts in the skies. The intruders seem unfriendly, zapping anyone who ventures outside and leading Josh to dub them Pearls of Death (POD). Alternating chapters describe the separate efforts of Josh and Meg to gather food and water, to counteract boredom, and to protect themselves from those around them. As is often true in tales such as this one, threats from without are less horrifying than threats from within, forcing both protagonists to realize that humankind has unplumbed reserves of cruelty and inhumanity as well as compassion and courage. Reviewer: Barbara A. Ward
Library Journal
When the swarm of black spheres appears without warning in the sky, all the people caught out in the open beneath the "pods" disappear in a flash of light. While animals are able to move around freely, humans are trapped indoors without Internet or telephone and with only the supplies they have on hand. Teenager Josh must deal with a father whose survivalist reaction to the pods grows stranger as days pass without relief. Megs, a young girl abandoned in a hotel parking garage, forages for supplies while evading a gang of brutal thugs who bully and steal from everyone they encounter. VERDICT Wallenfels's fast-paced debut, first published as an ebook to critical acclaim, examines modern society's dependence on technology and tendency to avoid planning for the future. While the main characters are young and, in their own ways, appealingly sympathetic, this is primarily a book for adult (and mature YA) readers, as it contains disturbing events appropriate to the plot. Reminiscent of Stephen King's early novels, this sf horror tale could adapt easily to film.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608980109
Publisher:
namelos
Publication date:
11/03/2009
Pages:
214
Product dimensions:
0.49(w) x 8.50(h) x 5.50(d)
Lexile:
HL650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Stephen Wallenfels lives in eastern Washington State. He is the marketing and IT director at a large health club, but he also works as a freelance writer speciallizing in the health and fitness industry.

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