Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Spotlight On… Scott Westerfeld

--by Hanje Richards & Peg White
Scott Westerfeld (born May 5, 1963) is an American author of science fiction. He has written five science fiction novels for adults (Polymorph, Fine Prey, Evolution's Darling - which was named a New York Times Notable Book in 2000 - and the two-book "Succession" space opera series, The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds). He has also written one stand-alone novel and four series for Young Adult readers (“Leviathan,” “Midnighters,” “Peeps” and “Uglies”). Westerfeld was born in Texas and now divides his time between Sydney, Australia and New York City. This post will focus on his Young Adult titles.


So Yesterday - Ever wonder who was the first kid to keep a wallet on a big chunky chain, or wear way-too-big-pants on purpose? What about the mythical first guy who wore his baseball cap backwards? These are the Innovators, the people on the very cusp of cool. Seventeen-year-old Hunter Braque’s job is finding them for the retail market. But when a big-money client disappears, Hunter must use all his cool-hunting talents to find her. Along the way he’s drawn into a web of brand-name intrigue – a missing cargo of the coolest shoes he’s ever seen, ads for products that don’t exist, and a shadowy group dedicated to the downfall of consumerism as we know it.

“Leviathan” Series

Leviathan (Book 1) - It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron ma
chines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. The Leviathan is a living airship, the most formidable airbeast in the skies of Europe.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way - taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

Behemoth (Book 2) - The Behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British Navy. It can s
wallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.

Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.

Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.

“Midnighters” Series
The Secret Hour (Book 1) - Moving when you're in high school is difficult enough, especially when your parents can't seem to hold their own lives together and your younger sister is being more obnoxious than usual. However, for 15-year-old Jessica Day, these concerns pale when bizarre things start to happen and she discovers that she now has unwanted magical powers. Part science fiction, part horror story, this novel is the first in a series about the midnighters, a select group of individuals whose birth at the stroke of midnight gives them the special ability to move about in a mysterious 25th hour. As Jessica takes her place among these extraordinary teens, she must battle the increasingly dangerous slithers and other darklings that have suddenly become more violent and aggressive.
Touching Darkness (Book 2) - Bixby, Oklahoma, is full of secrets. Some come out at midnight. Some should stay hidden. As the Midnighters search for the truth about the secret hour, they uncover terrifying mysteries woven into the very fabric of Bixby’s history, and a conspiracy that touches the world of daylight. This time Jessica Day is not the only Midnighter in mortal danger, and if the group can’t find a way to come together, they could lose one of their own... forever.

Blue Noon (Book 3) - The five teenage Midnighters of Bixby, Oklahoma, thought they understood the secret midnight hour—until one morning when time freezes in the middle of the day. The noise of school stops. Cheerleaders are frozen in midair. Everything is the haunted blue color of the midnight hour. As the Midnighters scramble for answers, they discover that the walls between the secret hour and real time are crumbling. Soon the dark creatures will break through to feed at last... unless these five teenagers can find a way to stop them.

“Peeps” Series

Peeps (Book 1) - A year ago, Cal Thompson was a college freshman more interested in meeting girls and partying than in attending biology class. Now, after a fateful
encounter with a mysterious woman named Morgan, biology has become, literally, Cal’s life.

Cal was infected by a parasite that has a truly horrifying effect on its host. Cal himself is a carrier, unchanged by the parasite, but he’s infected the girlfriends he’s had since Morgan. All three have turned into the ravening ghouls Cal calls Peeps. The rest of us know them as vampires. It’s Cal’s job to hunt them down before they can create more of their kind…

Bursting with the sharp intelligence and sly humor that are fast becoming his trademark, Scott Westerfeld’s novel is an utterly original take on an archetype of horror.

Last Days (Book 2) - A mysterious epidemic holds the city in its thrall and the chaos is contagious – black oil spews from fire hydrants, rats have taken over Brooklyn, and every day, more people disappear. but all that matters to pearl, Moz, and Zahler is their new band. They ignore the madness around them and join forces with a vampire lead singer and a drummer whose fractured mind can glimpse the coming darkness. Will their music stave off the end of the world… or summon it?.


“Uglies” Series

Uglies (Book 1) - Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license – for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repell
ent Ugly into a stunningly attractive Pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks, Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the Pretty world – and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

Pretties (Book 2) - Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she's completely popular. It's ev
erything she's ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun – the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom – is a nagging sense that something's wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally's Ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what's wrong with Pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life – because the authorities don't intend to let anyone with this information survive.

Specials (Book 3) - The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious Ugly. Back then, Specials were a sinister rumor – frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary Pretties mig
ht live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary.

And now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the Uglies down and the Pretties stupid.

The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more…

Still, it's easy to tune that out – until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the Rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.

Extras (Book 4) - It's a few years after rebel Tally Youngblood took down the Uglies/Pretties/Specials regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. “Tech-heads” flaunt their lates
t gadgets, “kickers” spread gossip and trends, and “surge monkeys” are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. And it's all monitored on a bazillion different cameras. The world is like a gigantic game of American Idol. Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes. Popularity rules.

As if being fifteen doesn't suck enough, Aya Fuse's rank of 451,369 is so low, she's a total nobody. An Extra. But Aya doesn't care; she just wants to lie low with her drone, Moggle. And maybe kick a good story for herself.

Then, Aya meets a clique of girls who pull crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are. But doing so would propel her out of Extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity... and extreme danger. A world she's not prepared for.