27. July 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Losers in Space by John Barnes, 433 pages, read by Courtney, on 07/21/2012

Now,this is true sci-fi. And Barnes makes it quite clear from the first “Notes for the Interested” that this is *hard* sci-fi (in other words, science fiction with an emphasis on the science and technology being as realistic as possible given today’s knowledge). While it may have its technical moments, the story is anything but boring. In this future, technology has made it such that very few humans have to work and one of the most lucrative forms of work is entertainment. In a world where the vast majority of people have, quite literally, nothing to do, the meeds (think a mash-up of media and feeds) reign supreme. If one isn’t extra talented in a particular field, the best way to get famous is to get your face in the meeds as much as possible.
So, given all that, we have 6 teens who all have few prospects as far as their intelligence or celeb-status go. One of them, Derlock, comes up with an idea to stow away on a up-pass ship to Mars where they will wait until it is too far out to turn around and then reveal themselves so that they can revel in their new-found fame. Unfortunately, things go horribly wrong within days of departure. The main part of the ship is lost in a massive explosion and the stow-aways are the only ones left in their part of the ship. If they’re going to survive their trip, they’re going to need to figure out how to correct their course, repair their communication systems and avoid sabotage by sociopathic Derlock. Can Susan and her team make it back to Earth or will they drift off into space, never to be seen again?
The particularly great part of this book is the number of levels it works on. The main plot itself is fast-paced and full of twists, mainly courtesy of Derlock. There’s definitely a satirical element going on as well with the media angle. And then there’s the characters, all of whom are unique and distinct. Susan, the narrator, finds herself constantly surprised to find out what her friends are capable of when circumstances demand diligence and teamwork. And then there’s Fwuffy. What’s not to love about Fwuffy?
This is truly a fantastic book that will leave the reader thinking about it long after the last page is turned. Plus, the reader might learn a few things along the way. Bonus!

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