Retro by Sofia Lapuente and Jarrod Shusterman shares the sound track to Luna Maria Valero Inglesias’ life and her efforts at revolution. Living in Northern California and attending El Dorado High School, Luna learns the hard way that a screen shot can be as lethal as a gunshot. After her supposed friend Samantha Darby sets her up as a shoplifter, Luna takes revenge by posting a character-damaging video that leads to Samantha’s suicide attempt. Now ridden by guilt and clinging to hope, Luna reaches out to Limbo, the app that served as the gasoline to the match she lit that set Samantha ablaze. Surprisingly, LimboRead More →

Readers of M.T. Anderson (Feed) and Cory Doctorow (Little Brother) will likely enjoy The Last Beekeeper by Pablo Cartaya. In fact, Cartaya’s book is a blend of dystopian fiction and environmental awareness literature targeted towards middle grade readers. For twelve-year-old Yolanda (Yoly) Cicerón, life is all tech and upgrades. Strong, intelligent, and stubborn, Yoly aspires to become a certified neurolink surgeon someday so that she can make some “real money” and live on Remembrance Road where all the designers, programmers, and scientists live. With such a position, she and her sister Cami can escape the poverty of farming the strawberry fields. In her early twenties,Read More →

Readers of M.T. Anderson and Ben Oliver will likely appreciate Sacha Wunsch’s recent release, Lies My Memory Told Me. This dystopian thriller follows the story of quiet, sixteen-year-old Nova Reynolds and her friends Andi and Kade as they work to solve the mystery of what Experion Enterprises is attempting with their new technology called Enhanced Memories. Enhanced Memories (EM) are originally created to be “nothing but good,” a magical solution to safely giving people access to experiences to enhance their quality of life: travel without the expense, a lived experience that delivers empathy and nuances of living another life, and ultrarealistic entrainment without the riskRead More →

In 1943 in Wichita Falls, Texas, twelve-year-old Jerrie Cobb climbed, dipped, and banked in her father’s 1936 Waco biplane under her father’s guidance.  These were precious times for Jerrie, since flying was in her blood.  However, despite her talent and aptitude, Jerrie was denied a career as a jet pilot or an astronaut since she grew into adulthood during an era when flying was considered men’s work and society expected their women to be timid and beautiful. Because piloting a jet was physical, technical, dangerous, and dirty and because war maneuvers involved rough, rowdy, and ruthless work, women were excluded. While men scooped up theRead More →

Like all good dystopian fiction, Frost by M. P. Kozlowsky begins with a social question that has currency and relevance and then exaggerates the answer to warn society of what could happen if we don’t take the appropriate actions or proceed with caution.  Kozlowsky’s plot revolves around wishes for everlasting life–for human immortality–and Dr. Alex Simmelfore has found an answer: Create a robot and download human consciousness to a chip that can be planted into the robot.  These improved robot beings will have human instinct, human thought, and human complexity combined with a body that won’t age, wear down, or succumb to illness. As readers will suspect,Read More →

In the spirit of good science fiction, Bluescreen by Dan Wells explores not only where over-extended technology might lead but also how easily technology can slips its leash and turn dangerous or destructive.  Not since reading Feed by M.T. Anderson have I experienced such a thought-provoking and chilling indictment that may encourage other readers to examine how technology—in careless or greedy hands—facilitates insidious manipulation, exploitation, and control of the individual. Set in 2050 in Mirador, a suburb of Los Angeles, Bluescreen features Anja Litz, Sahara Cowan, and Marisa Carneseca.  These three seventeen-year-olds—along with Fang and Jaya—are members of the Cherry Dogs, players in an online virtualRead More →