cover image Cyberstorm


Gloria Skurzynski. MacMillan Publishing Company, $16 (137pp) ISBN 978-0-02-782926-6

Reminiscent of Ray Bradbury's 1950 story ``The Veldt,'' Skurzynski's (Good-Bye, Billy Radish) imaginative science fiction tale never lets up its thrilling pace. In the year 2015, Darci Kane, 11, moves out of decaying Baltimore into a leafy suburban housing development. Shortly afterward, the Animal Control Division informs the Kanes that they must get rid of Darci's beloved dog Chip because someone has complained about his barking. Thinking that the complainant is their neighbor Mrs. Galloway, Darci, Chip and her dad visit the old woman. There, amidst Mrs. Galloway's 20th-century ``antiques,'' the co-owner of Rent-A-Memory is setting up a virtual reality room (VROOM) so that Mrs. Galloway can relive the best moments of her life. When the Animal Control officers burst in, Darci and Chip hide in the VROOM and end up trapped in Mrs. Galloway's past, which, through ``teleportation,'' becomes very real, not virtual. Mrs. Galloway, determined not to be cheated out of her happy memories, gets inside the VROOM and jams it shut. Alarmingly, the VROOM begins to recreate unhappy times too-with potentially deadly results for all inside. The best and brightest adult minds can't figure out how to fix the VROOM, but Darci's pal Erik, a computer buff, saves the day (after battling the street gang that has terrorized him). Excellent middle-grade SF. Ages 8-12. (June)