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The Unspeakable Unknown
Cover of The Unspeakable Unknown
The Unspeakable Unknown
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Guardians of the Galaxy meets The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in this wild, warm-hearted, and hilarious sci-fi companion to A Problematic Paradox.Nikola Kross has battled aliens and won. But her...
Guardians of the Galaxy meets The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in this wild, warm-hearted, and hilarious sci-fi companion to A Problematic Paradox.Nikola Kross has battled aliens and won. But her...
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Description-

  • Guardians of the Galaxy meets The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in this wild, warm-hearted, and hilarious sci-fi companion to A Problematic Paradox.
    Nikola Kross has battled aliens and won. But her father, who was kidnapped by evil extraterrestrials, is still missing, and now it's up to Nikola and her friends to find and rescue him before it's too late. He could be anywhere in the known universe, and they have little to go on except a desperate secret communication—"Kindly rescue me at your earliest convenience"—and an unhelpful clue that he is in a secure facility somewhere deep underground. But the extraterrestrials are still determined to capture Nikola. And if she gets abducted, she won't have to wonder where her father is . . . because she'll already be there. In this funny and exciting sequel, Nikola and her friends discover new and unexpected allies and come face-to-face with a strange and mysterious enemy, one so powerful and so dangerous, they dare not speak his name.

Excerpts-

  • From the book Chapter One: A Killer Pop Quiz

    A single flake of snow came to rest on the tip of my nose and balanced there weightlessly—one of those tiny reminders of just how subtle and lovely the world can be if you look closely enough. I tried to blow it back into the air so it might continue on its way, but I'd just taken a sip of hot chocolate. Instead of gently nudging the pure white snowflake into flight, I brutally murdered it with a tiny jet of still-warm fluid.

    As if that weren't bad enough, it also meant I spit a little hot chocolate at the person who had just sold it to me. From her point of view, the situation must have been completely bizarre. She'd sold someone a cup of hot chocolate from her little homemade trolley. They'd paid cheerfully, mentioned how lovely the snow was, took a sip, and spit it right into her curly black hair. The look she gave me was a mixture of bewilderment, irritation, and revulsion.

    I'm more used to that look than you might expect.

    Fortunately for me and any other complete morons wandering the streets of School Town that day, the snow had put everyone in a pretty jovial mood, and after a second, she went on to the next person in line.

    Technically, snow was strictly prohibited on school grounds during the week. At most schools, that kind of rule would be a bit difficult to enforce, but when you run a school located under an impenetrable force field, you get to exercise a little more control.

    Unless someone hacks the climate control system. Then they get to make the rules for a while.

    Just an hour or so before, everyone had gotten an email from Principal Patricia Plaskington reminding us of the School's weather policies:

    "Snow is allowed on weekends, winter holidays, and occasions when the pursuit of science calls for adverse weather conditions. The snow currently falling in town is UNAUTHORIZED, and because of this, students are NOT allowed to enjoy it in any way. If you are caught frolicking, gallivanting, or behaving in flagrant youthfulness in or around the snow, you may be subject to disciplinary action. If you have information that can lead us to the person or persons responsible for the contraband weather, you may be eligible for a reward. Just click the SNITCH NOW link on the administration home page, and you'll be taken to an anonymous form where you can betray the trust of your peers in complete anonymity!"

    I stepped along a path that led through the central park square, took a second first sip of my hot chocolate, and discovered once again why I was absolutely in love with the School.

    The School Town could have been lifted straight out of an unrealistically idealized 1950s movie, with pristine streets, a multitude of fascinating shops, and little parks here and there just begging to be wandered through. The only thing that spoiled the illusion is that the population consists of about 5 percent adults and 95 percent kids, which is not how the fifties were at all, unless I've been reading the wrong history books.

    The School is actually called the Plaskington International Laboratory School of Scientific Research and Technological Advancement. It's a long name, so we just call it the School. We're an independent learning community for humanoid aliens called parahumans and other folk who are unusually intelligent and don't get along in normal schools. It's a . . . unique place.

    I came to the School following a pretty bizarre string of events that involved my home being destroyed and my dad being kidnapped and taken to some unknown location. It's a long story, and if you're reading this, you probably know all about it. If not, just try to keep up....

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    In this sequel to A Problematic Paradox (2018), even superscience schools have field trips! In between explosively rigorous pop quizzes and mad science hijinks, Nikola gets to go on not one but two of the very special school's rare field trips. One sends the students in her electronic-combat class to the Ozarks to track down a suspected parahuman and invite them to the school. The other, for urban-camouflage class, is to practice blending in at a mall. These out-of-school adventures open up opportunities for deepening the lore of the worldbuilding and introduce the idea of a horrific new antagonist. They also allow the text to broach uncomfortable (in a good way) discussions on sources of privilege and murky loyalties, both artfully enough to avoid bogging down the action-oriented plots--which introduce new friends and foes and extensively progress storylines left over from the first book (namely, the fate of Nikola's father and the identity of the traitor at the school). Some of the best humor comes through educational moments, and only occasionally do the wry jokes tread too deeply into far less effective, too-edgy territory. While the nonhuman characters (Old Ones and parahumans) outnumber ordinary humans, human characters tend to lack racial descriptors, seemingly defaulting to white. The well-developed denouement provides solid closure while plot tentacles set up the next story. Lots of fun, packing both wacky humor and meaningful plot movement. (Science fiction. 10-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (Online Review)

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