Hey Science-Fiction Fans, Don't Forget the Teen Aisle
October 09, 2012
If you’re like me and you love science fiction, some of the best is currently being written for the young adult market. In fact, there seems to be more creativity taking place there. From humanity being upgraded by computer in Human.4 by Mike Lancaster or being grown in gardens in The Gardener by S. A. Bodeen, there seems to be no end to the imaginative worlds writers are offering to our teens. And leading the way is Neal Shusterman.
This fantastic author is a master of suspenseful science fiction with some disturbing comments on human nature. Far from kids fare, his books create worlds not so far removed from our own. And that is what makes them frightening; they are not completely beyond the realm of possibility. Take his current book, Unwholly, the sequel to his phenomenal Unwind.
In a world torn apart by a war between pro-life and pro-choice factions, a horrific compromise was created to stop the bloodshed. Life was sacred until the child was born and after the age of 17, but between those ages children could be forcibly unwound. Their bodies could be taken apart and every single limb and organ donated to those in need. The twisted logic being that as long as every part of them still survived, the person was still living, just in a divided state.
In Unwind, Connor (a delinquent given up by his parents to be unwound), Risa (a ward of the state who couldn’t prove her value), and Lev (a tithe, someone raised from birth to be unwound) have escaped their "harvest camp" and are beginning to seek out ways to destroy the system. But in the sequel, Unwholly, treachery lies behind every corner and a new horror has now been brought into being- a person created completely from the parts of others. Is this new being even human? And what are the ramifications if he is?
Chilling and complicated, this is a book series that leaves many questions with no easy answers. Adult science-fiction fans should not miss out.