The Thunder Child

Science Fiction and Fantasy
Web Magazine and Sourcebooks

Vol 1, Issue #3
"Stand By For Mars!"
March 2006

Fiction Book Reviews
by Caroline Miniscule

Space Station Rat
by Michael J. Daley
Holiday House

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Caroline Miniscule has traveled around the world. She now stays in one place and reads science fiction. She is a graduate of D'Illyria University (the university of the mind).

Rat did not know which was worse; being hungry most of the time, or being lonely all of the time.

She huddled in the shadows just inside the air vent. Through the grate she could see into the cafeteria. Alone in the large room, the boy sat a a table, eating an apple. He got it from one of the machines on the wall.

Wicked machines. They gave food to everyone, except Rat. Rat hated them.

The boy ate the apple. Rat heard every bite: the pop of skin, the crush of sweet, white flesh, the wet slurp of juice. The air was heavy with apple smell.

Rat's belly ached with wanting the apple. She bit into a nearby wire to stay calm. One...two...three tiny nips with her long, very sharp front teeth. She did not allow herself anymore. She did not bit deep. She only grazed the toothsome outer cover.

On a space station, every wire mattered.

A space station was a serious place. It was a clean place. It was no place for Rat.

Rat is more than a rat, she's been modified by scientists so that she can think. She's very intelligent, she can communicate via sign language, and she's self aware. And she wants to be free. It's ironic, then, that as soon as she breaks out of her cage and escapes, she takes a wrong turn and ends in a container destined for an old, decrepit space station.

It's the bleakest place in the universe, at least to Jeff, a young boy who is stuck there with his parents. It had been supposed to be fun. His mother, a scientist, was going to perform some experiments, while he and his father would be able to do such things as spacewalk! But his mother's associate was taken ill, so his dad has to help her and there's no time for Jeff.

For his parents, it's a matter of life and death - they believe other scientists, who are developing a plan to stop global warming, will plunge the earth into a global ice age instead, and they must get proof before it's too late. Meanwhile, Jeff is left to his own devices, supervised by an unsympathetic robot named Nanny who has unexpected talents.

Meanwhile, Rat is desperate to get off the space station.

How these two lonely beings find each other and become friends makes for an exciting tale that all children will enjoy.


1. Rat
2. Jeff
3. Study Time
4. Pen Pals
5. Rat Makes a Mistake
6. The Hunters
7. Narrow Escape
8. Hunting
9. Bad News
10. The Rat
11. The Chase
12. Discovery
13. Emergency
14. The Rescue
15. Rough Beginnings
16. Where's Nanny?
17. A Warm, Dark Softness
18. Too Much Attention!
19. Nanny Found
20. Some Advice
21. A New Nest

The science aboard the space station is plausible and described well. The characters are three dimensional. Jeff is an average boy - by no means a saint, but with flaws and strengths, which come in handy when it's time to help Rat. And Rat has her flaws as well, but she can learn, too. We grow to like these characters and care about them.

There's excitement, there's suspense, there's mystery. And best of all, there's some unanswered questions that mean we're in for a sequel!

Highly recommended for boys and girls.

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