Paul Collins, Author . Tor $23.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0307-3

Australian author Collins trains an unflinching gaze on classic science-fiction themes—the condition of Earth after global war, and the survival of the fittest. Ensign Welkin Quinn, the 14-year-old protagonist, is a product of 300 years of ongoing genetic engineering aboard the Colony, a massive "skyworld" whose residents have failed at their original mission, to colonize Tau Ceti III. Knowing that civilization on Earth has "crumbled" from war, the "Skyborn" now plan to "bring the gift of humanity back to the world from which [they] sprang," a plan that requires the extermination of the verminlike Earthborn. But when the skyworld lands in Melbourne, Welkin is deemed an Expendable and sent out to test the atmosphere. His gritty adventures challenge his faith in the vision of the Skyborn and land him in a battle to save civilization on Earth. SF fans will feel right at home with Collins's use of the genre's conventions, and if the outlines of the story are familiar, the pace moves quickly enough to keep readers focused on the action-packed plot. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/03/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
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