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Ashar of Qarius

New or Used: $8.60
New or Used: $8.60

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Gr 5-8-- A science-fiction adventure set in the far distant future on an uninhabited, desertlike planet, where a group of space scientists from Earth have come to build a new community. Kate, a likable teenager, and her young charges, William and his infant sister, are left behind when the rest of their recently arrived research team is abducted by insect humanoids from a nearby asteroid. How are they to survive alone on this hostile planet? Along comes Ashar of Qarius, the thinking, feeling, and talking computer that presents further problems--whether it's friend or foe, and its connection to the planet's pyramids and ancient Egypt. After some false starts, Kate and William begin to use their brilliant scientific minds and rigorous training to solve some of these problems and to figure out how to use Ashar to find their group. This complex story often moves ahead so quickly that it is difficult to follow important details. Cooper makes a particular point that the expedition brought along infants and pets as a humanizing influence, but this message becomes intrusive. More intriguing and better crafted science-fiction stories can be found in books by Helen Hoover and William Sleator. --Virginia Golodetz, St. Michael's College, Winooski, VT

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