Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Zeke has always been a sci-fi fan.  He knows Captain Kirk from Han Solo, and a browncoat from a stormtrooper, so he is more than excited when aliens show up and ask him to be part of the delegation that will spend a year trying to win a place for earth in the Confederation--think the United Federation of Planets in Star Trek.

The only problem is the fact that his father is dead, and his mother has cancer.  He can't leave his mom alone to suffer through her illness and possible die while he is out having adventures in space, but when the aliens promise that all disease will be cured if earth wins a spot in the Confederation, Zeke is in!

It isn't long before he realizes that as a random, he won't win many friends in the earth delegation.  The other kids are super geniuses, and they decide the best way to win is to ignore Zeke. Zeke finds his own friends among the crew of the ship that is ferrying them to the Confederation.  When the ship comes under attack from aggressive aliens, Zeke steps up to save everyone.  This only puts him in a more difficult position with the peace-loving Confederation.  It seems like they would rather die than defend themselves.

His only friends on the space station where he will be living for a year are the randoms from the other alien delegations.  He really likes Steve, a terrifyingly reptilian guy who is actually pretty laid back and Tamret, who looks like a cat-girl from his manga dreams, but he still wishes the eath kids could accept him.

As the competition between the delegations and the randoms heats up, Zeke begins to realize there is more going on than a simple test.  There is a plot much bigger than the earth trying to get into the Confederation.  Zeke may have to save the earth and the lives of all humanity!

David Liss's series opener is a sci-fi lover's dream come true with references across the genre.  It's part Ender's Game and part Ready Player One for the middle school crowd.  Highly recommended!

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