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Virus on Orbis 1
ISBN: 9780763636388
Author: Haarsma, P. J.
Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
Published: February 2008
Retail: $7.99    OUR PRICE: $1.99
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Binding Type: Paperback
Annotation: A human boy with an uncanny link to computers finds danger and discovery on the rings of Orbis, in this riveting sci-fi adventure.
Additional Information
Physical Information: 0.85" H x 7.60" L x 5.22" W 262 pages
Bargain Category: Middle School, Fantasy, Chapter Books
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Spring)
Enslaved by aliens in order to pay off his dead parents' work debt, JT discovers that he is a "Softwire" capable of communing telepathically with computers. His talent raises suspicion and places him in political peril but ultimately saves him and his young companions. Though the characters never quite come alive, this plot-driven adventure presents an intricate and imaginative sci-fi setting. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2006 December)

Gr 5-9 Johnny Turnbull has spent all of his 12 years aboard the seed-ship Renaissance en route to the Rings of Orbis. Due to a mechanical problem, the adults on the spaceship perished long before Johnny and the other young passengers were born (they were stored as embryos and raised by the ship’s computer). When they arrive on Orbis 1, the orphans quickly learn that they will be forced to work for the Guarantors (alien businessmen) in order to pay off their dead parents’ debt for their passage. Johnny is immediately identified as the first human “softwire,” someone with the ability to enter and manipulate a computer with his mind. Because of his gift, he is a prime suspect when the central computer of Orbis 1 begins to malfunction. He must prove his innocence and solve the mystery of the mechanical failures before time runs out. The author deftly introduces the futuristic setting without getting bogged down in long and detailed descriptive passages, and the brisk plot will keep the interest of reluctant readers. Although a few of the secondary characters are not fully developed, Johnny and his sister are well drawn, and the scenes between the two are skillfully crafted. The first in a planned quartet, this book is a good selection for science-fiction fans. Melissa Christy Buron, Epps Island Elementary, Houston, TX

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