Monday, July 02, 2007

Pg. 99: "The Silver Ship and the Sea"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Brenda Cooper's The Silver Ship and the Sea.

About the book, from the publisher:
The colony planet Fremont is joyous, riotous, and very wild. Its grasses can cut your arms and legs to ribbons, the rinds of its precious fruit can skewer your thumbs, and some of the predators are bigger than humans. Meteors fall from the sky and volcanoes erupt. Fremont is verdant, rich, beautiful, and dangerous.

Fremont’s single town, Artistos, perches on a cliff below rugged mountains. Below Artistos lie the Grass Plains, which lead down to the sea. And in the middle of the Grass Plains, a single silver spaceship lies quiet and motionless. The seasons do not dull it, nor do the winds scratch it -- and the fearful citizens of Aristos won't go near it.

Chelo Lee, her brother Joseph, and four other young children have been abandoned on the colony planet. Unfortunate events have left them orphaned in a human colony that abhors genetic engineering -- and these six young people are genetically enhanced.

With no one to turn to, Chelo and the others must now learn how to use their distinct skills to make this unwelcome planet home, or find a way off it. They have few tools -- an old crazy woman who wonders the edges of town, spouting out cryptic messages; their appreciation and affection for each other; a good dose of curiosity; and that abandoned silver space ship that sits locked and alone in the middle of the vast grass plain …
Among the early praise for The Silver Ship and the Sea:
"Cooper's first solo novel is an engrossing tale of six young outsiders growing up on a colony planet. They were left behind as young children, descendants of a group of "altered" (genetically modified) people who landed on the planet and ultimately fought with its original colonists. Now 12 years have gone by, the "altered" children are teens, and many members of the colony are profoundly uneasy about them. The story is narrated by the eldest, Chelo. They are all big, strong, and fast, and each one has a special skill. When an earthquake literally shakes everything up, Chelo and her friends find themselves drawn to Jenna, the one remaining "altered" adult, who lives on the fringes of society, and to the spaceship that the "altered" left behind. The teens begin to find out who they really are, and what they might become someday. This is an adventure story, because life on this planet can be treacherous, but it is also a story about the relationships between insiders and outsiders, between adults and the teens who are about to surpass them, and between people who need each other in order to survive."
—Sarah Flowers, School Library Journal

“ exciting coming-of-age story with a strong message about the evils of prejudice.”
--Booklist, starred review
Brenda Cooper is a technology professional, a science fiction writer, and a futurist. She’s the co-author of the novel, Building Harlequin's Moon, which she wrote with Larry Niven. Her solo and collaborative short fiction has appeared in multiple magazines, including Analog, Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Oceans of the Mind, and The Salal Review.

Visit Brenda Cooper's website and her LiveJournal; read an excerpt from The Silver Ship and the Sea.

The Page 99 Test: The Silver Ship and the Sea.

--Marshal Zeringue