Young Adult Lit/Crit

March 2, 2008

L.A. Times Prize Finalists

Filed under: from your prof — sunyprof @ 2:28 pm

Shortlisted for the L.A. Times book prize (Tyrell is the 2007 winner of course) for YA’s:

Geraldine McCaughrean, THE WHITE DARKNESS (HarperTeen)
Walter Dean Myers, WHAT THEY FOUND: LOVE ON 145TH STREET (Random House)
Kenneth Oppel, DARKWING (HarperCollins)
Philip Reeve, A DARKLING PLAIN (The Hungry City Chronicles) (HarperCollins)

You’re familiar of course with the first three. Good stretches esp. if outside your comfort zone:

DARKWING (fantasy set 65 million years ago about the world of bats–quite extraordinary).

A little bit about an author who may be new to some of you:

Kenneth OPEL is a literary phenomenon who had his first novel for children published at age 17. His Silverwing Saga, which includes Silverwing, Sunwing and Firewing, has sold over a million copies worldwide and has won numerous awards. His most recent bestsellers include Skybreaker, which won the 2006 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award and the Red Maple Award, and Airborn, winner of the 2004 Governor General’s Literary Award and the 2005 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award, among many others. Kenneth Oppel, voted Author of the Year in 2006 by the Canadian Booksellers Association, lives in Toronto with his wife and three children.

A DARKLING PLAIN (the 4th book in the Hungry City Chronicles Philip Reeve began to publish in 2003 with “Mortal Engines.” These books are set in the distant future when earth has been laid waste by a devastating conflict known as the Sixty Minutes War.

I found the description of this quartet of books so fascinating I’m posting it whole here:

Nations no longer exist, except in the lands of the Anti-Traction League; Traction Cities – entire cities mounted on caterpillar tracks for mobility – are fiercely independent city-states, using giant jaws to devour one another for resources. Trade is mostly accomplished by airship, though sometimes cities of roughly equal size (unable to devour each other) will stop to trade.

Old-Tech (current technology -that is, 20th/21st century technology, which seems incredibly advanced to these primitive future people) is the most sought-after commodity.

The Great Hunting Ground – Consists of Europe and Northern Asia, and is the domain of the Traction Cities. It is a muddy wasteland, as the constant movement of the cities has destroyed all vegetation. The land is referred to by city-dwellers as the “Out-Country.”

The Ice Wastes – New name for the Arctic, which is also home to Traction Cities who use iron runners to skate across the ice.

Africa – Africa is split between the Sahara Desert, which is a land of Traction Cities, and the southern regions, run by Anti-Tractionists. The only part of these regions mentioned is the city of Zagwa.

The Dead Continent – North America, reduced to an irradiated wasteland by the Sixty Minute War. Rumours abound as to whether it is completely dead or not, which provide much of the focus of Predator’s Gold.

Asia – The stronghold of the Anti-Traction League. Eastern China is evidently irradiated from the Sixty Minute War, and the Himalayas are now the centre of civilisation (the mountainous terrain makes it impossible for cities to approach).

Nuevo Maya – New name for South America, which was severed from North America when “slow bombs” destroyed Central America during the Sixty Minute War. Like Africa and Eurasia, South America is split: static settlements rule the Andes, but the lowlands are filled with ziggurat Traction Cities. Tom and Hester visit Nuevo Maya in the gap between the first two books, but it is never visited in the series itself.

Antarctica – Mentioned only once, and is evidently the domain of oil-drilling Traction Cities. Tom and Hester visit Antarctica in the gap between the first two books, but, again, it is never visited in the series itself.

Intrigued yet? KES


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