Fast-paced from start to finish

machine warsTITLE = MACHINE WARS

AUTHOR = MICHAEL PRYOR

GENRE = SCIENCE FICTION, FUTURE, ACTION, ADVENTURE 

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7-9

This novel is a fast-paced adventure from the very first line.

Bram’s mum (the genius behind many Artificial Intelligence (AI) inventions) has always been aware of the potential problems inherent in AI so when one of her creations (Ahriman) starts to act strangely, she has prepared her family with a well-researched “Scatter-and-Hide” safety plan.

But for 14 year old Bram, practising a safety plan and the reality of a safety plan are 2 very different things. Bram finds it exhausting, nerve-wracking and down-right dangerous being on the run from robotic-internet driven AI controlled bugs. IT is just as well he has 2 companions: a friend from school (Stella) who distinguishes herself with her intelligence, and Bob the duck (Bram’s favourite toy when he was a toddler but since turned into an AI protector by Bram’s mum).

Can Bram, Stella and Bob the Duck outwit the power hungry Ahriman long enough for Bram’s mum to come up with a counter-attack?? With clever robots on their tails, the machine wars are very, very real and could end very, very badly for Bram, Stella and Bob.

Great pace, great action and clever plotting make this story an enjoyable romp from start to finish. There are plenty of punches and punchlines andjust  a touch of romance, so it is wonderful  entertainment for younger readers.

Recommended (dma) ****

Gender roles and technology.. an intriguing mix

girl partsTITLE = girl parts

AUTHOR = JOHN M. CUSICK

GENRE = FUTURE, TECHNOLOGY, RELATIONSHIPS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10 +

David Sun seems to have it all: wealthy home, fast car, lots of girlfriends and computer screens galore. But when he uses these screens to watch a teenage girl take her own life and doesn’t lift a finger to help her, his parents and the school welfare officer believe he is suffering from disassociative illness: too much technology and too few connections to reality. Their cure: give David a beautiful red-headed and curvaceous robotic companion (Rose) to re-educate his feelings!!

Charlie Nuvola lives on the other side of the lake to David and his world is likewise in David’s shadow.  His home is not rich, his Dad is not a wealthy business man, he owns a bike (not a car) and he finds it hard to talk to girls. That is until he meets Rose (David’s companion).

Can a robotic companion change lives? And can her interactions with humans actually change her??

This is an intriguing novel which gives the reader plenty to think about: especially when it comes to relationships – between teenagers, between families, between genders. The reader will be left pondering long after the last page has been read. Given the subjet matter, this novel is probably more suited to older readers.

Recommended (dma) ****

How does a modern girl survive without her mobile?!!?

mobile covers 2.pdfTITLE = I LOST MY MOBILE AT THE MALL

AUTHOR = WENDY HARMER

GENRE = HUMOUR, TECHNOLOGY, CYBERSAFETY

INTEREST LEVEL – YEAR 8 AND UP

When Elly loses her mobile phone she feels disconnected from her social world. How can she keep up aith the latest goss with her best friend, Bianca, and her gorgeous boyfriend, Will?? Thank goodness she still has FacePage so she can stay in touch!! Then Bianca’s boyfriend posts embarrassing photos of Elly on his FacePage – from photos on Bianca’s phone! How can she face her schoolfriends now??

When her computer is stolen so she can no longer keep in touch via social networking sites, Elly should feel even more bereft. However, by this time, Elly has begun to wonder about the benefits of revealing your private life to the world via Facebook type sites – especially after all those photos of Will….

This novel raises some serious issues in a wonderfully humorous way. The morality and the wisdom (and even the legality) of sending photos around via mobile phones or social networking sites is seriously questioned. But laughter is at the forefront the whole time – partly because Wendy Harmer’s protagonist, Elly is just a bit of a drama queen! Partly because Wendy Harmer is such a wonderfully comic writer.

One of the funniest books you are likely to read (and yes you will LOL so don’t read it in public if this will cause embarrassment!) Whilst there might be some important lessons for Elly to learn (about face to face communication and friendship and trust) the reader will have a lot of fun along the way.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****