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Mission: In Search of the Time and Space Machine

Mission: In Search of the Time and Space Machine

by Deborah Abela, George O'Connor (Illustrator)

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Max Remy is eleven and bored with her life. Her father went off to Hollywood and ends up married to a movie star and Max is left with her mother who works, works, works all the time. So Max invents Alex Crane, a super spy, and begins to fantasize about the life of a spy. Then horrors: Max's mother sends her off to live with her aunt and uncle on a farm for the


Max Remy is eleven and bored with her life. Her father went off to Hollywood and ends up married to a movie star and Max is left with her mother who works, works, works all the time. So Max invents Alex Crane, a super spy, and begins to fantasize about the life of a spy. Then horrors: Max's mother sends her off to live with her aunt and uncle on a farm for the entire summer. Dull, you think. But then she stumbles into a real spy ring, and uses her wits to outsmart the evil Mr. Blue. Max Remy is now a card-carrying member of the international organization Spy Force and the adventure has just begun.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This unabashedly corny caper launches the paper-over-board Spy Force series starring Maxine Remy. The lonely 11-year-old lives in New York with her mother, a workaholic publicist who never seems to have time for her. Max escapes reality by recording in her notebook the "Chronicles of Spy Force," which follow the heroic feats of her alter-ego, Alex Crane, "the world's greatest mastermind against evildoers." When Max's father, who lives in Los Angeles, gets a job directing a big movie and can't spend the summer with his daughter as planned, she is sent to stay with her aunt and uncle on their chicken farm. Uncle Ben, a scientist, has just invented a device that can transport matter (he had previously worked in London with his brother Francis to create a machine capable of transporting people through both space and time). Max gets to put her spy talents to the test when she uses Ben's new invention to transport her and Linden, a boy who lives near the farm, to London. The narrative grows a bit convoluted and lumbering as they track down Francis and learn that his work on the Time and Space Machine has been thwarted by a villainous, high-ranking government official, who kidnaps Max and Linden in a ploy to get Francis to cooperate with him. The tale ends predictably, with the Matter Transporter whisking the kids out of harm's way and back to the farm. Due the same month is Mission: Spy Force Revealed (ISBN 0-689-87358-1). Ages 8-12. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Max Remy, 11, spends much of her time alone because her divorced parents are busy with their high-powered jobs. To pass the time she writes stories about super spy Alex Crane and the top-secret agency, Spy Force. Little does she dream that she will soon be involved in an adventure to rival those of her protagonist. She is horrified to learn that she will be spending the summer at her relatives' farm in Pennsylvania, but all is not as it seems there. Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Ben are actually brilliant scientists who left a covert operation when they discovered that the head of their agency was corrupt. Uncle Ben has continued working on his invention-the Matter Transporter-and he now has perfected it. Impulsively, Max decides to use it herself to find Ben's estranged brother. She convinces neighbor Linden to go along for the ride and sets the Transporter for London. Tracking Francis down takes some work, and along the way they attract the attention of Eleanor and Ben's former supervisor. He will stop at nothing to obtain the machine that Francis is working on, and he follows and kidnaps Max and Linden. Using their wits (and the Transporter), they escape. Filled with nonstop action, the story is sure to be a hit with fans of adventure mysteries and the "Spy Kids" films. Alex Crane's adventures are interspersed throughout the book, and at the end Max discovers that there really is a Spy Force-that just might need her help in the future.-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Real and imaginary worlds unexpectedly leak into each other in this Spy Kids-style import. Shuffled off by busy divorced parents to her Uncle Ben's farm, 11-year-old urbanite Maxine behaves badly-that is, when she's not penning cliffhanging adventures for made-up Spy Force super-agent Alex Crane. But her attitude changes radically when she learns that Ben is a renowned scientist with a prototype Matter Transporter out in the shed. Enlisting young farmhand Linden as her sidekick, Max immediately fires up the Transporter for a trip to London, in hopes of bringing Ben and his estranged but equally brilliant brother Francis back together. There the plot thickens when she falls afoul of sinister double agent Mr. Blue, who's out to sell Francis's Time and Space Machine to the highest bidder. Amid a welter of high-tech gadgets, typical preteen tropes, repeated dunks into various forms of slime and not-too-perilous perils, Max accomplishes her mission, leaving Mr. Blue foiled but alive for sequels-then receives a letter of commendation from the supposedly invented Spy Force! This provocative twist closes a promising start for a notably hot-tempered, occasionally vulnerable heroine. (Fiction. 10-12)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publication date:
Spy Force Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Mission: In Search of the Time and Space Machine

By Deborah Abela

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Abela
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0689873573

Chapter One

Chronicles of Spy Force:

Time: 2:45 P.M.

Date: Friday afternoon, somewhere in the future

Place: Spy Force Headquarters

Dr. Evilbrain was in the middle of another evil plan to destroy the world and the Chief of Spy Force had his top spy, Alex Crane, on the case as the only one who could stop him.

Dr. Evilbrain was the world's greatest mastermind of evil. He was responsible for feats of evil that other evildoers only dreamed of. He was Spy Force's most wanted archenemy, and Spy Force would not rest until the world was free of him.

Not only that, he was just about the ugliest person who was ever popped out into the world.

He had one thick eyebrow that dripped down his brow and into the edges of his eyes, which were small and beady like two rats sniffing for food from inside a dark hole. His nose was a mess of acne scars that looked like someone had taken a piece of the moon and stuck it right in the middle of his face. The ugly stick had been waved so high and long above his head, that on the day he was born, his own mother ran from the hospital and never wanted to see him again. He was so repulsive, mosquitoes wouldn't bite him and mirrors didn't crack when they saw him--they cried out in fear of their lives.

There was only one way to say it.

Dr. Evilbrain wasn't pretty.

And he wasn't stupid, either. At least he wasn't stupid after he'd had the operation. He had the most villainous brain that ever slimed its way into a human head.


Dr. Evilbrain had created the world's first synthetic brain, equipped with hypersmart intelligence and precision evil, and he knew that with this brain, he'd be smart enough to take over the world. In a complex and very sloppy operation, his assistant, the sinister Count Igor, cut open Dr. Evilbrain's head, scooped out his squelchy old brain, and replaced it with his new and slimy smart one.

That's when Dr. Evilbrain hatched his latest plan.

With his new brain squishing around in his head, Dr. Evilbrain developed algae that would, in just twenty-four hours, multiply and choke the world's water supply of its oxygen, killing all living things and making water supplies everywhere poisonous for people to drink.

Human life would have only weeks to live.

For most people, it wouldn't even be that long.

It was up to Alex Crane, the world's greatest mastermind against evildoers, to create an antidote that would kill the algae and stop the deadly countdown to the end of the world.

She'd been working for twenty-two hours straight. There were only two hours left. All she needed was to add one drop of her secret ingredient and get down to the shores of the ocean before the deadline was up.

But only a drop.

Just one more...


Great sticky clumps of green slime went everywhere. Oozing down walls, across desks, soaking through books, and, worst of all, covering Max from the top of her head down to her brand new shoes.

She wiped the slime from her eyes and realized she wasn't Alex Crane, Superspy, but Max Remy of Class 6B, and her mom was really going to give it to her this time.

A sea of kids' faces traffic-jammed around her, laughing at her new look. Members of Class 6B were not known for their subtlety, and they weren't about to change now.

"Hey brainiac, can't you use a tissue like everyone else?"

"What's the matter, feeling a little green?"

"Guess who forgot to have a bath today?"

The room exploded in a deafening roar of laughter. Suddenly everyone was a comedian. Even Ms. Ellen got in on the act.

"Okay, class, that's enough. Max has just had a little accident," she said. But Max could see that Ms. Ellen was only just managing to hold back her own laugh.

"Even though green really is your color, Max."

That was it.

You'd think that it was the funniest joke anyone had ever made in the history of the entire world. Max wanted every bird there was to fly over Ms. Ellen's head and slime her with their smelly poo. She imagined her teacher running around with her new poo-dropping hairdo, screaming and trying to get it off.

It was as if Ms. Ellen could read Max's thoughts because her face turned serious and she lowered her voice.

"Max, one of the most important lessons we can learn is not to take ourselves too seriously. Otherwise, you'll be sixty-five before you realize you've never had a really good laugh."

Just then the bell rang.

Phew! Saved from any more of Ms. Ellen's women's magazine philosophies.

The class let out a big cheer and Ms. Ellen could only just be heard.

"Have a good, safe summer vacation everyone and I'll see you next year," she called out.

Kids swarmed everywhere, trying to grab their bags and get out the door--freedom at last.

For Max, this meant relief from the halfwits she had to sit next to.

Adios and see you later. She was out of there, and as far as she was concerned, nothing beat the fact that she wouldn't have to see any of the other kids' lame, laughing faces for the entire summer.

"Ah, Max?"

It was Ms. Ellen.

Max's foot was almost out the door.

"Yes?" she replied.

"You're not going to leave without cleaning up this mess, are you?" asked Ms. Ellen with her eyebrows raised so high that Max thought they'd fly off her forehead.

Max looked at the green slime-covered desk, floor, and walls. Cleaning it up would take practically all summer.

"I didn't think so," said Ms. Ellen, collecting her books and papers. "Now, don't forget to have some fun on vacation, and I'll see you much more relaxed and happy next year."

It took every ounce of Max's self-control not to pick up some slime and put it through her teacher's roller-curled hair. Instead, she imagined Ms. Ellen as a giant bug-eyed monster with horrible breath and cockroaches crawling out of her nose.

"Yes, Ms. Ellen," she said, smiling.

After she'd finished cleaning up, Max got her bag and went into the corridor where the other kids were waiting for her.

Especially Toby Jennings and his little fan club.

"So Max, having a little trouble with your funny bone?" said Toby.

"Maybe you should have it looked into?" droned one of his followers.

"Maybe when you were born, they forgot to give you one," said another.

Max ignored them, trying to get to the main door and out of the building as soon as possible.

They wouldn't let it rest. But it was Toby who really knew how to get at her.

"So Miss Enormous Brain, had a little slime trouble today?"

Max was good at science, but Toby was better at exams and always just beat her. And he let her know it.

"Looks like your second place behind me wasn't a terrible mistake after all, Ms. Einstein."

Max's head was alive with what felt like a hundred snakes wanting to jump out and slither all over Toby, squeezing him to silence.

The snakes never appeared, so Toby kept on mouthing off.

"I knew you were the queen of slime, but I didn't think you were into making it," he sneered.

Now the other kids really let loose.

Max tried to walk past them.

"What's the matter, slime got your tongue?"

Max never understood why Toby Jennings didn't just turn into a toad and fall into the nearest swamp with all the other crawling creatures.

She had had enough. She didn't have to take this anymore. But just as she was about to let him have it, a piece of slime wormed its way out of her hair, down her forehead, and onto her nose.

This was just what Toby needed for his final blow.

"Ah! It's alive," he screamed. "The slime's coming out of her brain. It's coming to get us all. Run for your lives! Aaaahhhhhh!"

The corridor burst into a riot of screaming kids falling and laughing and running as fast as they could to get away from Max and her slime brain, as if they had just been told that the world were going to self-destruct in five seconds.

Which wouldn't be such a bad idea. At least then Max would never have to come back to this school and all the lame-brained students who went there.

The corridor was clear in ten seconds flat. Good riddance. All Max had to do was get her bag, walk out those doors, and she wouldn't have to step back in this place for a whole summer.

But there was one thing she'd forgotten.

Her mom.

Max met her on the steps.

"What happened to you?" she gasped. "What's that in your hair? And what have you done to your new shoes?"

Of course, the shoes. It felt like things always seemed much more important to her mom than Max was.

"What will it take to teach you a little respect for your things, young lady?"

Normally Max would have had a great comeback. Something funny and sharp. She was pretty good at those. But she was feeling sticky from the slime that was starting to harden and smell like she'd just fallen down the ickiest toilet in the world.

Max had to get away from the sniggering she could still hear behind her.

"I don't know, Mom. Let's just get out of here."

Text copyright © 2002 by Deborah Abela


Excerpted from Mission: In Search of the Time and Space Machine by Deborah Abela Copyright © 2005 by Deborah Abela. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Deborah Abela is a writer for a popular children's television program. This is her first book in the Spy Force series.

George O’Connor is the creator of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel series Olympians, in addition to serving as the illustrator of the Captain Awesome series. He is also the author and illustrator of the picture books Kapow!, Ker-splash, and If I Had a Triceratops. He resides in his secret Brooklyn, New York, hideout, where he uses his amazing artistic powers to strike fear in the hearts of bad guys everywhere!

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