Posts tagged aliens
A while back Ruby and I had the amazing opportunity to read an advanced copy of Aliens on Vacation and then have dinner with the author, Clete Barrett Smith. We loved his book and pestered him with tons of questions, but of course we didn’t have our notepads handy. That was months ago, but we’ve kept in touch, and for some reason he’s still willing to talk to us despite our annoying e-mails. We’re proud to finally share our interview with such a great, fun author! Enjoy!
Aliens on Vacation is about a 13-year-old boy, Scrub, who is sent to spend the whole summer with his hippy grandma at her Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast (which turns out to be a vacation hot spot for aliens). How did you come up with the big idea?
I’ve always loved alien-visitation stories, but it seemed like everything that I saw at the time was really dark and violent; the aliens were coming here to enslave us, or eat us, or steal our resources or whatever. The spark of the idea was: “Wait a minute . . . what if they are just coming here to hang out?” I thought that would be a fun way to do an alien story with a lot of humor mixed in with the action.
When I was ten years old I was sent from my little hometown to spend the weekend with my grandpa in the big city of Seattle. My grandpa was a great guy and real character . . . but not always the best babysitter. On Friday morning, he said, “I have to work all day, here’s $20. I’ll see you at 6:00 and we’ll have dinner.” I was pretty nervous in downtown Seattle, so I walked to the nearest movie theater to buy a ticket to anything so I’d have a safe place to hang out. The only PG offering was a brand-new movie premiering that day that I had never heard of: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. (more…)
Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith (The Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast series, Book One)
Okay, so there’s no such thing as “too many books”, but I certainly read more than I’m able to review regularly. Aliens on Vacation became one of my many victims–a book I loved but did not write about, a book I read prior to its publication back in May. My apologies to Mr. Smith! With that said…
Aliens on Vacation by Clete Smith is a fun romp with science fiction, summer vacation, the Pacific Northwest, and a thirteen-year-old boy named Scrub who can’t believe he’ll be spending the summer with his grandmother. When Scrub arrives at his grandma’s Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast, an old house covered in brightly painted stars, spaceships, and planets, he thinks that his summer is doomed for boredom and geekiness. Meeting his hippy grandmother for the first time doesn’t help the feeling, and when he realizes there’s no internet, he knows it’s going to be a long vacation. Little does Scrub know, the B&B isn’t for Trekkies and science-fiction fanatics: it’s actually a vacation spot for alien visitors from across the galaxy! Soon Scrub finds himself helping Grandma costume aliens of every shape, size, and attitude (some are very cranky customers indeed!) so the aliens can enjoy their “primitive” surroundings in the local town and forests without being discovered. (more…)
boom! by Mark Haddon
This 208-page novel is the story of two boys, Jim and his best friend Charlie, as they discover that two of their teachers speak an alien-sounding language, have glowing eyeballs, and wear telekinetic wristbands. One thing leads to another, and Charlie is kidnapped for his growing knowledge of their origins, while Jim escapes his would-be captors and, alongside his punk-rock older sister, makes his way out to the alien home-base in Scotland to rescue his friend. Eventually Jim is inadvertently beamed to an alien planet seventy thousand light-years away where he finds Charlie amidst a cultivated population of abducted science-fiction fans.
Though character development is thin, the plot in this quirky story is fast-paced, wacky, and bizarre enough to attract even the hard-to-hold attention span. It’s a good, fun addition for a library if oddball style is what your kids are craving. Being British, Haddon includes a lot of slang that most of us Yankees won’t get, but a stronger reader should be fine guessing or skipping over the more obscure words. It’s an enjoyable, wild ride through the ridiculous world of imaginative boys. Recommended if oddball fantasy is your game!
Fun fact: boom! was originally released with a very limited print run back in 1992 under the title Gridzbi Spudvetch!. After realizing most people couldn’t pronounce, let alone spell, his title (and after receiving letters from a school class telling him it was their absolute favorite and couldn’t he re-publish?), author Haddon decided to re-title and edit his book, this time to wider circulation. (more…)
The Invasion by K. A. Applegate (Animorphs series)
Thirteen-year-old Jake is just hanging out with firends one night when an alien spacecraft crash lands in the construction site behind the mall. Shocked, he and his classmates Cassie, Marco, Rachel, and Tobias, witness an injured Andalite–an alien like a blue centaur with no mouth, stalks for eyes, a scorpion tale, and telepathic speech–as he makes his last stand against Visser 3, a leader in the alien invasion of Earth.
Before the Andalite dies, he warns Jake and his friends: aliens are here. Andalites and other species across the galaxies have been fighting to keep Earth free, but the evil Yeerks–slug-like aliens that slurp into a creature’s brain and take over control–have already taken many humans, people from everyday life across the world. Kids they might be, but the Andalite warns them to fight, learn, and survive, and he bestows a gift upon them: the ability to morph into any animal they touch. Besides their anonymity, it is the only chance for Jake, Cassie, Marco, Rachel, and Tobias if they choose to fight the ongoing invasion.
Mind you, this all happens in the first few chapters. As the kids explore their new ability–morphing into horses, tigers, elephants, family pets, hawks–and learn that friends and even family members may be imprisoned in their own bodies by the Yeerk invasion, they agree that they have to fight. They are the last chance Earth has. (more…)