Mechanica. A beginner’s field guide by Lance Balchin. Pub.The Five Mile Press, 2016.
Wow! What an impressive picture book this is. After reading it twice my thoughts were “I want more, I don’t know enough” and I expect there is more because the title says it is a beginner’s guide and reference is made to The Mechanica Chronicles. I hope so!!
In a nutshell humans have destroyed the environment of the Earth so that all wild life of the planet have become extinct. To make up for it they create robotic Mechapets with Chen Sue a major player with his revolutionary Series 3 Wing Brace design.
This design effectively sets the mechapets free and they evolve into Mechanica who threaten humans and caused them to retreat into highly defended bolt holes. One of these is the South Sea island of Saraswati on which resides Liberty Crisp, a student of the genius Reginald P. Prescott.
When Saraswati is sacked by the Mechanica, Liberty sets sail on the HMS Beagle and does a Darwinesque trip around the World to see how the Mechanica have evolved.
The undoubted highlight of this book are the illustrations of the Mechanica. The detailed diagrams are complete with data such as Power Source, Speed, Origin, Size and specifics about their adaptations to their environment. There is the King dragonfly, the Powered Spider, the Articulated Snake and my favourite the Fast Parrot.
Absolutely Superb and with appeal for every age group. Not only that, Lance Balchin leaves the reader with a glimmer of hope.
Sam is a good guy. he goes to middle school has a friend called Trip and he looks after his younger sister, Maddie, who has a disease that means her immune system can’t fight disease and she has to live in isolation.
Sam’s mother works with robots and she invents a robot that goes to school and allows Maddie to experience being at school through the Robot. Great idea.
Things go horribly wrong when an academic rival of Sam’s mother, Dr Ignatius Ingalls, invents an inferior but wickedly programmed Robot to discredit Sam’s robot and take over the world. It’s the American way. It all comes to a head at a game of football.
Lots of good laughs and absurd action with Chris Grabenstein’s illustrations enhancing the plot.
Ideal for middle school reluctant readers particularly boys who have been weened on Captain Underpants and the Wimpy Kid can now graduate to Middle School books.
Sam’s bedroom is full of robots. he is crazy about them and he believes out there in space is a planet where all the robots live. he is right of course but his mum and dad and his dog are not convinced.
Sam needs help so he builds a robot from electronic things in his room and he calls the robot Franky.
Franky is great to play with but one day he goes all quiet and looks up to the heavens. Then a space ship lands full of robots and guess who they look like.
Superb illustrations of robots and space rockets. Boys will pour over it for ages. Sam is a confident boy and trusts his own judgement.
You really need to get this for your home or school library.
An excellent easy to read futuristic fantasy for intermediate and junior high school students from a writer that I have just caught up with.
Can you imagine what it would be like if Artificial Intelligence machines took over the Internet and controlled the World. Not in the manner of The Terminator but by using any householod machine that has a chip to help it operate. Yes your fridge, your kettle your photocopier anything could become your enemy.
Teenager Bram’s mum is a brilliant scientist working with AI. A rogue AI called Ahriman escapes into the Internet and causes a computer and robot rebellion. Ahriman and whoever or whatever controls him/she/it has death squads operating and has control of many City Authorities.
Bram’s mum foresaw that this might happen and Bram and his family practiced emergency procedures to counter a rogue AI. Bram goes home to find his house explode in front him and learns that the police and a host of Killbots are after him. He goes to an emergency cache to find money and a highly developed robo AI hidden in a familiar childhood cuddly duck. He becomes RoboDuck.
While on the run Bram meets a school friend 14 year old Stella and with RoboDuck they go on the run and try to fight the evilf Ahriman and his robot army. Nothing is safe and they have to avoid anything connected to the Internet like cell phones and CCTV cameras. They are doing well until drones take over. Read it and find out what happens.
Humerous and technically believable. You will have fun with this novel.
Girl Parts by John M. Cusick. Pub. Walker Books, 2011.
David and Charlie are as different as chalk and cheese yet the day Nora Vogel took a lethal cocktail live on the net they are both watching. So are 748 others but David’s very rich and computer literate father decides it is is a weird thing to do. He sends David to a shrink who decides that David has disassociated himself from the real world.
The solution is to get David a “Companion” who is all a boy could want. Her name is Rose and she is part girl part robot and she is absolutely gorgeous and indistinguishable from the real McCoy. Her purpose is to discourage dehumanising behaviour and encourage healthy human interaction. Wow!
Rose has an Intimacy Clock inside her that dictates how she behaves under emotional and physical pressure from David. If you go too far you are zapped. David is mesmerized by Rose but really all she is really doing to him is regulating his lust.
One night at a party David is pushed to the limit and gets Rose to strip for him. What David sees changes everything.
It’s important to note that Rose is programmed to David, is totally devoted to him, but after the party things change and she comes in contact with the geeky but totally understanding, Charlie.
A very appealing plot, well told, literate and titillating in the extreme as it exposes teenage boy sexual behaviour.
It reminded me of the robot girls in the films Cherry 2000 and Bladerunner. Just incredible.