Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult/Science Fiction
Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words
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A school teacher turned freelance author, Michael Thal has had over seventy articles published by magazines and newspapers including Highlights for Children and The Los Angeles Times. He has three other books, The Legend of Koolura and Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback, part of a middle grade series, and Goodbye Tchaikovsky, the story of a violin prodigy who loses his hearing. (Did I mention he was also one of our Pals?)
“A high school track star is abducted by aliens, explores strange worlds, uncovers genocide on a planetary scale, and is thrust into extraterrestrial politics that decides the fate of an Earth on the brink of war or unification.
The Abduction of Joshua Bloom tells the story of a teen abduction by an alien race who justifies their act in an attempt to save their people. Joshua finds himself in a world dominated by women, and men are subjugated to their whims. He travels to a dinosaur world, visits a water planet, and the alien home world doomed by a star about to nova.”
I believe The Abduction of Joshua Bloom is the subgenre of science fiction that is termed space opera, with most of the action happening in space and a romantic subplot. The latter aspect is mostly low key given the target demographic which the Amazon listing gives as ages 10 through 18 or grades 4 through 12.
As explained in the book description, Joshua Bloom is a high schooler , abducted by aliens. It’s quite an adventure for Joshua as he’s exposed to these aliens, learns about the differences in their cultures and the ways they’re more technologically advanced than on Earth. He also falls in love with Anita, one of the aliens.
The language Thal uses is a good fit for the target audience, especially those toward the younger part of the target age range. It might also be a good read for someone in the older part of the targeted age range who needs an easier read, but isn’t normally attracted to the subject matter of books aimed at their reading level. There is one scene that hints at sex which some parents of younger readers might feel is pushing the limit for their age.
Anita scanned me with a mischievous glint. Her eyes told me what she meant, and my hormones did flip-flops. She grabbed my hand and took me to her room. I couldn’t believe my luck.
Even though the story takes place largely in space and is full of enough action and adventure to stay entertaining, the story is full of subtext that is very applicable to the here and now. The alien race who abducted Joshua is a matriarchy which should provoke consideration of gender roles and whether they serve to help or hinder society. It also raises the question of whether nationalism is one of the things keeping us earthlings from growing to our full potential.
There is one scene that hints at sex which may be an issue for parents of some in the younger portion of the target audience.
No significant issues.
Rating: **** Four stars