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Ermahgerd. Berks.

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Caliban's War
James S.A. Corey
The Shining Girls


Singularity - William Sleator I have been complaining a lot lately about the young adult authors of the '80s that I somehow missed out on, but William Sleator thankfully wasn't one of them. Interstellar Pig, which I discovered in fourth or fifth grade, is probably the first sci-fi book I ever read. I picked up Among the Dolls around the same time without knowing who wrote it and spent 1999 - 2009 trying to piece together my hazy memories to figure out who was responsible for the terrifying dolls that haunt my dreams (thanks for solving that one, Goodreads! Not sure why google wasn't more help).I never read this one though. I picked it up after Orson Scott Card called it one of his favorite sci-fi stories, unfairly stuck in the YA ghetto. Say what you will about OSC's politics (or ask me; I will say it), but Ender's Game was another formative SF book for me, and I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.I'm glad I did! This is a time travel story, my favorite kind, and even though I never read it as a youngster, my vintage 1986 paperback took me right back to elementary school (I blame the terrible cover art. What is it with the weirdly drawn young adult books of the 1980s? You'd think all of William Sleator's books were about gangly, unfortunately-coiffed fashion disasters [is that a fanny pack? I do believe that is a fanny pack!]).After their parents inherit a Mysterious House from their Spooky Uncle, 16-year-old twins Harry and Barry (gee, thanks mom and dad! What are their full names? Harold and... Barold?) are allowed to travel from Boston to just outside Champaign, IL (Prairie State represent!) to watch over the property and keep it safe from vandals. Never mind that it is located in an isolated part of a one-street town and has a reputation for mysterious animal death likely to keep young hoodlums at bay.Everyone assumed Uncle Cracker was crazy (the rooms full of mutant, taxidermied skeletons put no one's mind at ease?), but H/B soon discover he might not have been nuts after all when then find the keys to a strange cabin on the premises where time seems to function... differently. William Sleator has a lot of fun with the time-twisting cabin, making an effort to explain the rules governing it and figure out creative ways to play with them (You hear that, LOST? If you are going to introduce a Mystical Cabin of Mystery, do something interesting with it!). And while I wouldn't call the characters deep or anything, he uses the cabin as a device to shed (see what I did there?) light on the strained relationship between the twins (Barry is bossy and mean, and cry-baby Larry feels like the unwanted brother). The dynamic is fairly applicable to any sibling relationship, and probably would have spoken to me in elementary school.And, sigh, I can't believe I have to mention this again, but there is a long section near the end of this book where one of the twins (young teen boys, you will remember) is naked for pages and pages, so long that after a while you're like, no, surely he is not still naked? But then you are reminded that he is. And, like, OK, you are twins, but put on some pants.