Space Traders Unlimited

Julia Riding, Author, Riding, Author Atheneum Books $13.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-689-31409-4
An old-fashioned Dickensian setting extrapolated into a futuristic life on Mars lifts this British import above standard YA science fiction. Streak, 16, is a Portkid, living on the fringe of Martian society, borrowing food and oxygen to survive as part of the Portkid code and avoiding both the brutal Billy, king of the Portkids, and the equally terrifying Child Protection Services. But Streak's own nature disqualifies him as a Portkid for long, and when he offers to help rescue a worker trapped in a bizarre explosion, he sees a mysterious man in black leaving the scene. This one incident leads him inexorably into the lives of the Reynolds family, of Space Traders Unlimited. When Mrs. Reynolds asks Streak for help in decoding the series of violent explosions that have occurred across space, he reluctantly agrees. But to Streak's horror he realizes that his own life is imperiled by the mysterious man in black. The repressed memories of the accident that left him orphaned resurface and, oddly, Mrs. Reynolds seems to know who he really is. Fast-paced writing, likable characters and a richly constructed world contribute to an entertaining American debut. Ages 11-up. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
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