Monday, 14 November 2016

Guest Blog Post for Kid Zero: Harriet, the Thing from Beyond Part #1 by Conor Daniel (Children's, 9 years +)

September 2016, Ebook, 192 pages,  

Book summary from Amazon (condensed by Nayu)
Kid Zero's Robot Attack Troopers are out of control, wreaking havoc and devastation on a world to which Harriet has been shifted along superstring, where she is known as the Thing from Beyond.
Has she brought this carnage with her? Is it all her fault?
She has to stop Kid Zero's destruction to save her friends. But how?
Nayu's thoughts
While not quite what I want to read at the moment, I liked the concept of Harriet's tale enough to invite Conor to write a guest post, and he kindly did! 

An insight into Harriet's world by Conor Daniel
The series of stories I'm writing about Harriet, the Thing from Beyond, began with a vague image of a child running from a school.
But where would she go? What's she running from? Who's going with her?
Harriet turned out to be a kind of Gulliver. In fact the ruling people on Mineoyster (the world she reaches in the first book, Kid Zero) are called Hoohahs – I'd have called them Yahoos but Gulliver had already met them on his Travels. Because she is a feisty, curious child, she can freely mock the stupidity and absurdity of adult life and its weird, self-important ways. By shifting her to alternative worlds where recognisably human people do recognisably human things – but in slightly different ways to us, and to what Harriet is used to – Harriet is able to explore contrasting ideas behind the ways humans organise their societies.
But these are children's stories. So the first task is to write characters and situations which will appeal to a younger readership. Kid Zero himself (who Harriet is initially mistaken for on her arrival in Mineoyster) is a spoilt, misunderstood brat whose essential human needs – warmth, love, companionship... – have been replaced by an excess of material wellbeing, alienating him from normal childhood behaviour and experiences. Although this will not become apparent until later in the series, he is living vicariously through Harriet – and in the end it is she who will provide the catalyst for change in his own life.
Harriet's father is crucially involved in Kid Zero's meddling in the parallel world of Mineoyster as he researches superstring, wormholes, shifting dimensions... His parting gift to his puzzled daughter is a scruffy old teddy bear – she is after all too old for teddy bears – who her dad tells her sternly to take great care of. She calls him Bruno, and he proves to be the critical link between her and her dad.
So Harriet shifts worlds in the attempt to get back to her father – giving me the opportunity to satirise to my heart's content. But above all the books must stand alone as being able to entertain children. I hope that beyond the satire, the wordplay, puns, anagrams and so on, younger readers will find a story that may challenge them but that they also enjoy.
I hope you will, too.
Thanks Conor - no one is ever too old for a teddy! Here's Kitomi from Clannad with her extremely symbolic bear.


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