Monday, May 26, 2014
Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble Blog Tour
Another theme that really caught my attention is that none of those novels are Science Fiction, they all reside squarely in the realm of fantasy. Being a Science Fiction author myself I was intrigued to see how the aforementioned concepts of time travel and living in space are presented to readers who may not be well versed in paradoxical plot lines. If that last sentence has you shaking your head a little, you understand what I mean.
The Antagonist had at that point had been presented as evil for the sake of evil. That's not a problem of course, as a story of this nature (written in the first person) is all about simultaneous discovery ( the character finds things out at the same time as the reader, there is no discrepancy between the two ). If the character knows everything up front, it would almost preclude any chance of tension and make for an extremely boring read.
Of course, the Antagonist ( Haon) is not without motive, which we discover near the end of the novel. There are characters introduced at points that would appear superfluous until you remember that this is the first novel in an ongoing series, and there is a character that at times seems to grasp complicated concepts a little too easily, but other than that the storyline is tight, the tension palpable, and the consequences realistic.
And that last note, the bit about the consequences in this novel being realistic, is where I think this novel really shines. Stories targeting the younger demographics are expected to convey morals, or lessons. One reason why I don't write to that demographic is because I've found it very difficult to teach morals and lessons through a world that seems to be devoid of such morals. The bad guys often win, the good guys are severely handicapped by their virtue, and no one gets out unscathed.
Your first indication of this is that Noah is a paraplegic, which means that he has use of his hands but not use of his legs. He doesn't dwell on it, and instead uses it much the same way that any kid his age would, an excuse to get out of doing things he doesn't want to do and as an excuse to test out new gadgets meant to make his life easier.
You get the sense that he has been overcoming this physical deficiency for so long that the only reason it is mentioned at all is to give a reason why he is riding around in a magnetically levitated chair instead of walking. It both keeps us from feeling sorry for Noah and gives us an insight as to why he feels he can overcome any obstacle, because he's been doing it since birth. This, along with other parts of the novel, show that it is possible to show us a "real" world, meaning one with problems more complicated than who forgot to return a borrowed toy, and also target this age group.
Somewhere along the way, I had gotten it into my head that in order to write good children's literature, I had to tie up almost every loose end in order to make the "happily ever after" stick upon conclusion. I couldn't see how meaningful lessons about life could be taught without showing how the consequences of major missteps, i.e.-death, are involved. Obviously, death is a touchy subject among the parents of youth readership.
I lacked the insight as to best go about this, but I realized that there are other ways to teach about loss and consequence than having beloved characters die horrific deaths on the page, as D. masterfully handles this as the novel draws to a close. The novel still pulls a punch or two, but never have I seen a novel directed at this demographic so adept at handling heady concepts such as these.
Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble is a great start to what I can see becoming a landmark young science fiction series. I was entertained during my adventures through time, brought home to a satisfyingly realistic conclusion, and even learned a thing or two about the craft of writing along the way. I am rating Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble 25/25,