Category Archives: Out of this world!

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Scars by J.M. Hatto

Everyone was assembled out the front. All the students of Mooroopna Secondary Collage; from the Year Sevens to the Year Twelves. It was an eerie sight, seeing everyone sitting quietly out the front. No screaming. No calling out to friends. No mucking around. Just a silence so thick I could’ve cut it with a knife.

I picked my way through the gathered crowd to my friends, who were also standing in a stunned silence.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, my voice breaking the silence. It sounded weird, echoing around the courtyard. Sue answered me like clockwork.

“All the teachers – all the adults – it’s like they’ve …”

“Disappeared,” One of the listening Year Twelves gasped, as if by saying it would make it not true. I sucked in a deep breath; that would explain a lot of things.

But it couldn’t be true. Things like that didn’t happen. Not here. Not in real life. Did they? “No,” I answered myself, not caring I had uttered it aloud.

“No – there’s got to be some mistake – they all have a – a … meeting, or something … there has to be. Real people don’t just – disappear.”

“But they did, Jen,” Catie whispered, “There is no other explanation for it.”

More kids arrived, and one by one they also found out the truth. Finally, when the whole school -excluding the teachers – were gathered around the tables, seated at the chairs, the school captains stood on the highest tables, yelling for our attention. We all fell silent, wanting something to do. But they didn’t even start before they were interrupted.

Men in black suits, guns hanging casually over their shoulders, marched into the car park, so suddenly no one, soldier nor student, made a sound. They were in formation, a dangerous square of soldiers. Why were there soldiers in our school car park? Why, when all other adults have gone? The men stopped abruptly, as if on command. The eerie silence was once more.

“Who are you?” I heard someone call out, their voice quivering with unease, “And why the hell are you here?”

They didn’t answer, but suddenly broke out of formation to run at us, guns at the ready, yelling to surrender.  Screams filled the air; from both student and soldier alike – we were fighting back. I myself was throwing punch after kick at a soldier whom had come at me; soon he was on the ground, and I moved to help one of my fellow Year Sevens fend off a rather burly one.

“Retreat! Now!” A soldier yelled, running from the car park sporting a bleeding lip and bruising brow. The others followed immediately, not wanting to be left alone with the enemy.

As they disappeared, our parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties all rushed around the opposite corner. There was a great cheer; they had been released, the sudden danger had gone. As I fought my way over to my family, the crowd engulfed me, in a sea of bodies.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

I opened my eyes. The familiar roof of my bedroom met my eyes, and I rubbed my eyes harder. What? Just mere seconds ago I had been at school. Then I realised; it had all been a dream. I sighed with relief, straightening up.

Ow!” I cried out, holding my arm. There, where in the dream that was only so vivid, was a scar I had thought I had gotten from that soldier. I gulped.

“Mum? Dad?”

No answer.

 

By J.M. Hatto

The restaurant at the end of the Universe by Douglas Adams

The restaurant at the end of the universeThe Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams is the second book in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. This sequel may not be the gem that its predecessor was but it’s still an interesting and funny read.

I would call the genre of the book comedy science fiction. While some jokes will have you chuckling instantly, the majority are long, complicated situations that are very strange and insanely hilarious. Numerous jokes come from entries in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which in the book is the highest selling encyclopedia and book in the universe. The book is very eccentric and a bit weird in certain places and if you don’t pay close attention you can get a bit confused, but with this kind of book that’s half the fun.

It takes place after Arthur Dent and his cohorts leave the planet producing planet of Magrathea and decide to find a place for dinner, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. But like most things in the book things don’t go directly to plan. On their way there Arthur hilariously manages to give the their ship’s computer a problem. How to make a good cup of tea which was so difficult and yet so trivial it shuts down everything in the ship just as they need to escape a deadly alien ship hunting a member of the ship’s crew, Zaphod Beeblebrox Ex-President of the Galaxy. Zaphod manages to escape through strange circumstances and goes on his own  wacky adventure for about a third of the book. Arthur Dent and the rest of the crew eventually meet back up with Zaphod at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. After a delectable and comedy-rich dinner they find themselves in even more trouble.

All the characters are memorable and unique. There’s Arthur Dent an Englishman who is the sole male survivor of Earth; Trisha McMillan known as Trillian the sole female survivor of Earth; Ford Prefect Arthur’s best friend and alien from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse; Zaphod Beeblebrox ex-President of the galaxy and Ford Prefect’s semi half-cousin. The great main characters are backed up by strange and interesting minor characters such as Marvin the depressed android with a brain the size of a planet.

The people who will enjoy this book are those who are looking for a book that is funny, interesting and a bit strange. An interest in science-fiction will also help you enjoy this book.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is a funny and interesting book with likable characters and a surprising story that’s hard to put down. 8/10.           

N.B.

Worldshaker by Richard Harland

Allen & UnwinAfter picking up world shaker you won’t be able to put it down. Short listed for the 2009 Golden Inky awards World shaker is amongst the best books for teenage readers.

Col lives in a giant walking robot known as the Juggernaut. He has been chosen as the next supreme Commander of the ship and has to prove he can manage the position currently filled by his grandfather. But what he isn’t expecting is the filthys, their repulsive smell, and sooty faces. So when one comes seeking his help will he turn on his family or help them in their battle for freedom.

Excellent read!  I would recommend World Shaker to any teenager boy or girl. Very well written!  Great story line that leaves you wanting more. 9/10

 RS