Alastair Chisholm: Orion Lost (Nosy Crow 2020)
We are in the future. India is the leading space nation. The Orion colonizing ship sets off with its thousands of passengers to the Eos Five, their future home orbiting a dwarf star. To bridge a distance of 26 light-years – which would be almost 300,000 years at conventional speed – they have to Jump multiple times. They’ve been traveling in deep space for four months now, when after one of the Jumps, the adults don’t wake up from the then mandatory Sleep. The Ship can only wake Beth and his five friends, so it’s up to them to repair the damaged spaceship and get it to its destination intact. In their work, they can only rely on artificial intelligence, Ship, while space pirates and a mysterious alien species, the Videshi (stranger in Hindi), are also lurking on them.
With several great twists and exciting storytelling, the book seeks to answer important questions: Do we have to stick to commands at all costs? What makes someone fit to lead? How much do we know about the world around us? From the first moment to the last, it is an incredibly exciting book that is often tense and disturbing. I really enjoyed it, although I usually don’t read sci-fi stories.
Alastair Chisholm is a writer and puzzle maker. In addition to his books for children, he also writes Sudoku and Kakuro (a crossword puzzle with numbers instead of letters) puzzles. His other sci-fi novel is Adam-2, in which a robot holds the key to saving the world.