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Carol Matas.

Toronto, Gage Publishing, c1982.
144pp, paper, $2.95.
ISBN 0-7715-7003-1.

Grades 4-7.
Reviewed by Enid Dorward.

Volume 11 Number 3.
1983 May.

In this science fiction story, four Manitoba youngsters fall through a snow drift into another land, which seems to be a parallel universe. They are captured by the inhabitants and are scheduled to have their brain waves studied and to be programmed to do certain tasks. One of the plans of Kard, the leader, is to use genetic engineering to cut the DNA (the basis of life and heredity) in chromosomes and add new genes to produce the exact characteristics he wants in all the people. Then he will have everyone under his control. Norman, who has always been mean to the other three children, discovers the source of Kard's power and manages to gain control. He plans to program everyone to do whatever he wants. Through a series of adventures, Rebecca, David, and Beth meet people from an underground group, and they overthrow nasty Norman and the military. Using computers, they find out how to get back home and leave the other country in the hands of the underground group who plan to allow true freedom for their people. Back home, Norman still insists that when he grows up he will try to run the world his way. The others agree that they will have to fight hard to prevent him from doing so.

Good science fiction should be able to suspend the reader's disbelief through careful attention to detail and plausible scientific explanation. The author has succeeded in doing this and has also made a social comment on the dangers of such scientific developments as computers and genetics in the hands of irresponsible persons. This "denim" covered paperback, illustrated with rather stark black-and-white drawings, is recommended for science fiction fans in the upper elementary grades.

Enid Dorward, Winnipeg, MB.
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