cover image Planesrunner


Ian McDonald. Prometheus/Pyr, $16.95 (274p) ISBN 978-1-61614-541-5

In this first YA novel from noted SF writer McDonald (The Dervish House), 14-year-old Everett Singh is still dealing with his parents’ divorce when his quantum physicist father is kidnapped, and both the police and Everett’s father’s boss are acting strangely. Then Everett is emailed a complex computer program, the Infundibulum, which allows Everett, no slouch at math himself, to map out an infinite number of alternate worlds. Everett learns that his father was kidnapped because the governments of the so-called Ten Known Worlds want the Infundibulum for themselves. Soon he winds up in an alternate “electropunk” England in which sophisticated dirigibles rule the skies; there he meets Sen, the pixyish pilot of the Everness, who initially attempts to steal his computer, but becomes a close ally. Athletic, brilliant, and always ahead of the game, Everett is too perfect, but it doesn’t detract from the book’s fun. McDonald writes with scientific and literary sophistication, as well as a wicked sense of humor. Add nonstop action, eccentric characters, and expert universe building, and this first volume of the Everness series is a winner. Ages 12–up. (Dec.)