Overview


Jack knows who belongs out in the Black. And who doesn't -- until Kit comes walking into the pub and changes everything he believes about the Black, about the people who live there, about what it takes to be a human being. Margaret Bechard set out to write an adventure story with laser guns ad spaceships. Then, she says, "there was a big step and a long fall off a cliff while I realized that my characters didn't want to do the stuff I had in my mind; they had plans of their own." The result: a fast-paced space ...
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Spacer and Rat

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Overview


Jack knows who belongs out in the Black. And who doesn't -- until Kit comes walking into the pub and changes everything he believes about the Black, about the people who live there, about what it takes to be a human being. Margaret Bechard set out to write an adventure story with laser guns ad spaceships. Then, she says, "there was a big step and a long fall off a cliff while I realized that my characters didn't want to do the stuff I had in my mind; they had plans of their own." The result: a fast-paced space adventure and a short story about human feeling and growing up -- science fiction for those who love SF; riveting fiction for those who don't.
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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
Jack is a Spacer, working in a bar on an inhabited asteroid. His family was one of the early colonists from Earth, which is slowly being evacuated. Jack's luck is looking up as he is slated for a better job on the distinct colony of Liberty; he is also promised a lucrative amount of credits (i.e., money) if he can find the whereabouts of a sentient bot. Then he bumps into a "rat": a scrawny Earthie girl named Kit. Teenage spacers get their kicks bullying Earthies, and Kit is no exception. However, she is surprisingly wily, and she persuades Jack to help her out. Jack discovers that Kit is bound for Seattle Prime, another space station, to deliver her dead father's great invention: the sought-after bot. Jack knows that inventing intelligent bots is illegal, but when the bot, who names himself Waldo, helps the duo out of a tight jam, Jack can't bear to betray the girl and her companion. As a result, all three are being hunted, and it's hard to tell who are the "good guys" and who are the baddies. Plenty of action and edgy conversations will engage hip young SF readers. Course language is cleverly disguised: "Oh, Pluto!" instead of "Oh, God" and "drekking idiot" instead of standard profanity. "Flash" is used instead of "bad" or "awesome" (to the point of banality), and readers will have fun decoding the SF slang (e.g., "vid," "plexy," "manip," "atmo"). The underlying themes and messages of friendship and dependability are timeless, and the treatment is pretty much violence and sex-free, so this story can be a good "sell" for middle schoolers. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2005, Roaring Brook, 192p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Dr. Lesley Farmer
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Jack, who has spent his whole life in space, is preparing to leave his apprenticeship on Freedom for a new position on Liberty Station. On his way back from the spaceport, he runs into an Earthie named Kit. She is considered a rat, a pejorative term the Spacers use to refer to anyone who doesn't contribute to society, particularly Earthie children abandoned by their parents. Kit has in her possession a modified "maintenance bot" that is a highly intelligent and sentient being. Protecting this extremely useful and illegal tech and evading the various forces out to get possession of it forms the basis of the adventure. In the process, Jack's views about his future, his attitudes, and his preconceived notions about others are all transformed. The book is loaded with literary references to science-fiction writers as well as very funny and appealing space slang. A gripping and gritty look at a vividly realized future world.-June H. Keuhn, Corning East High School, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Paying both direct and indirect tribute to Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and other icons of science fiction's Golden Age, Bechard casts two young Asteroid Belt dwellers, one a stranded traveler from Earth, into a desperate flight to save a small, fabulously valuable sentient robot. Usually, Jack joins his friends to hunt down fugitive "rats" and turn them over to the all-powerful Company-but he unwillingly finds himself helping Kit stay hidden, pulled in both by the force of her determination to save her companion, an illegally modified maintenance 'bot named Waldo, and by Waldo's own irrepressible eagerness for new experiences. Like her progenitors, the author adds thinly veiled social and political commentary (one pursuer even justifies her actions with a reference to a rival colony's "weapons of mass destruction"). Unlike them, though, she seems in no hurry to get her tale off the launch pad-though once it does take off, it accelerates nicely through chases, narrow escapes and surprises to a thought-provoking close. Above average adventure SF, lit up by a sparky cast, credible science and social engineering and homage to past greats of the genre. (Science fiction. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466874343
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 6/24/2014
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • File size: 207 KB

Meet the Author


Margaret Bechard is the author of Star Hatchling, winner of the DucKon Golden Duck Award for Excellence in Science Fiction, and Hanging On to Max, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. She lives in Tigard, Oregon.

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