Darrell Pitt, The Boy From Earth, Text Publishing, 26 Feb 2018, 256pp., $16.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781925603392
Bobby Baxter’s not the bravest kid on Earth. So when he learns that he’s the first Earthling ever chosen to attend the Galactic Space Academy, light years away from home, he’s terrified. And that’s before he discovers that someone at the Academy wants to get rid of him – permanently! Bobby’s not just the first boy from Earth at the GSA – he might also be the last…
The Boy from Earth is a great new take on the “school-but-different” genre of books for pre-teen children. The great thing about setting a story like this in space and populating it with all manner of beings from other worlds is that there are no rules about who or what your characters and settings have to be – there’s literally an unlimited universe of possibilities available, and Pitt has made very good use of them.
As a main character, Bobby is easy to connect with. We all remember being his age, being “the new kid”, struggling to find our place and make friends when it just feels like all the odds are being stacked squarely against us. There is also the element of that part of us that always wished that a story like this could really happen… that one day we too might be whisked away from our mundane lives (Bobby’s home town is even named “Blandville”) to have amazing experiences and adventures in a galaxy far away. The Boy from Earth picks up this theme and runs with it.
I liked Pitt’s sense of humour; the way all the other planets have this stereotypical view of Earth as “primitive” and keep asking Bobby questions about whether his people have discovered fire yet, and so forth.
The universe Pitt has crafted is imaginative and original, and will no doubt be the setting for many more adventures as we follow Bobby’s exploits across the galaxy with the Space League and beyond.
Reviewed by Christian Price