Sean and Corie Weaver (editors): The 2018 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide

2018 Young Explorer's Adventure GuideGreat stories around a brilliant idea: sci-fi stories for children. There are future technologies, new planets, aliens, apocalypse, children heroes and clear moral lessons.

Most of the stories are really good: the ideas are great, the moral lesson is clear, but not over-explained. Find your talent (The Great Broccoli Wi-Fi Theft), suppressing others is wrong (Station Run), protecting our environment is important (My Mother the Ocean)…

The varied sci-fi environments are also cool: there are spaceships in the book, new technologies, new planets to live or discover (Fluffy Pets are Best), many types of aliens, first-time contacts, apocalypse… The future is not always happy in the book: there were wars, overwhelming pollution, and sometimes even the new technologies couldn’t solve all the problems of humanity…

Until most of the stories are great, entertaining and clever, some of them are too negative. OK, life is not always bright, we wouldn’t and shouldn’t lie about it to our children. But a sad and tragic story makes a child more sad and embittered than an adult, I’m not sure it was a good idea to select them to this book. For example: evil robbers hurt your dad who becomes disabled for all his life? (The Sting of the Irukandji) You know you will die in 10 days and you couldn’t do anything, so you are just waiting for it in the library? (Moth Girl) Taking away children’s freedom and even their dreams? (Station Run) You were sold by your mother(!), an evil scientist makes experiments with your body(!), and when you accidentally survive that, you start to plan the vengeance, how to destroy the company and all the people in that… (Anjali) Really?

Another aspect is the feminists’ point of view: almost all the main characters are girls. I agree that everybody could be a hero: a girl, a child with a disability (girls in wheelchairs: Abduction Assumption, The Altitude Adjustment, a deaf girl: Nocturnal Noise), and even an animal could be a hero (The Smell of Home, Safe in the Dome). But the boy readers will may be disappointed when they will find only one(!) story about a boy hero (After the End), every other one is about girls.

My favorites were those stories, which are not just exciting and morally interesting, but funny: when you suspect that your alien neighbors maybe killed your old woman neighbor (Far from Home – don’t worry, the thing in the sack will not be Mrs. Pears…). The absolute best in the book is Blaise of Luna, where the diplomat, who would handle the first-time contact with an aggressive alien species, becomes ill, so his daughter has to participate in the informal and official diplomatic events…I literally laughed out loud on the underground when I was reading it, and the background moral lesson is also cool: a kid sometimes able to handle things as much good as an adult…

In general, I absolutely recommend this book to give to your 6-10 years old daughter, but I’m not so sure if you have a son. And you may consider to leave out (tear? make a sign?) those sad and negative stories as well…

Sean and Corie Weaver (Editors): The 2018 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide
Dreaming Robot Press, 2017.
I got an advance copy through Netgalley

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