Genre: YA science fiction
Published December 29th, 2015
Nadin’s planet is dying. As its atmosphere drains away, her people are forced to live huddled in domed cities for protection. With only enough resources to support the population for one more year, time is running out. Nadin thinks she’s found a way to save Iamos, but it will mean defying the planet’s rulers, the geroi—and betraying the geroi could cost her everything.When a strange boy from another world appears out of nowhere outside the citidome’s glass walls, Nadin knows for sure that her plan will work. But to build the device that can save her people, Nadin must first find the legendary city of Elytherios. And to do that, she’ll need the help of the mysterious alien boy named Isaak.MARS, 2073 C.E.
All Isaak wanted was to get through his senior year at the Academy in one piece. Everything would have been fine if he hadn’t found that ancient coin among his missing father’s possessions. The coin seems to have a strange connection not only to Isaak’s family, but to Mars’ ancient past.But how is that possible, on a planet that was supposed to be dead until just forty years ago?Now Isaak’s got agents of the Earth’s government on his tail and a deranged factory worker stalking his every move. Everyone is desperate to get their hands on something called the Key. And the only way to escape is to unlock an even bigger secret, one that could change his life—and the fate of Mars—forever.
About the Author
http://lyssachiavari.com – my author website
My new book, Fourth World, is a sci-fi story in the flavor of the classic sci-fi books and TV shows I grew up loving—complete with life on Mars, interplanetary colonization, alien archaeology and time travel. I’ve always adored space-centric science fiction, even when the trends have veered toward Earth-based dystopias or post-apocalyptic stories, so writing the book was a great adventure through my imagination. One of my favorite aspects of science fiction is imagining contact between humans and life forms on other planets, be they humanoid or something different altogether. So here are some of my favorite books featuring Interplanetary Visitors!
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Meyer is best known for being the author of the fan-favorite Twilight Saga, but to me, The Host has always been number one. I absolutely love the universe that Meyer created in this book. The alien invadors, known as Souls, are symbiotic creatures who have visited many planets across the galaxy—and the protagonist, a Soul named Wanderer, has lived on almost all of them. The vivid description of the different worlds, and the life forms that inhabit each of them, is beautiful and sets the imagination on fire. And, of course, the other reason I love this book so much is because it so intricately explores the nature of humanity: the Souls, even though they are invaders and might be considered to be villains in any other series, are genuinely good and kind. They believe that they are doing the planet and the universe service by eliminating the violent and cruel humans. Yet, as Wanderer gets to know the people who live in one of the last remaining pockets of humanity, she realizes that humans are a lot more complicated than she realized. I loved the perspective of an “alien invasion” from the eyes of one of the aliens, and the insights into what makes someone human that that point of view gives us.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
This is one of the first sci-fi books I ever read in elementary school, and it had a huge impact on my understanding of science in fiction—plus, it’s just a fun story! I love all the different worlds that the Murry family visit on their journey, and all the amazing different creatures that they encountered, from Mrs. Whatsit to Aunt Beast. This book (and its sequels) are full of so many amazing scenes and endearing characters… and it managed to explain an ultra-complicated concept like a tesseract to a nine-year-old and make it understandable. An all-around win!
Ultraviolet and Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson
We don’t see much of the Interplanetary Visitors in this series (they are a bit more prevalent in Quicksilver, but still largely offstage), but part of the fun is the mystery. From the few glimpses we catch of them, it’s obvious that the society on the other side of the wormhole is a huge, complex one that I’m dying to know more about. Similar to Earth but also different in crucial ways, with fascinating—if terrifying— technology, I’d love to see a new series that takes place there (at least partially) rather than being centered on Earth.
Natural Selection by Malinda Lo
The Imria in Malinda Lo’s Adaptation duology are some of my favorite “aliens” in fiction, and I love the fact that she wrote an entire novella—the tie-in Natural Selection—to let us spend some time on Kurra, getting to know them better. The descriptions of the planet, a world made up of vast oceans, islands that are more like rocky cliffs, and cities suspended on cables, are breathtaking. But my favorite part of Natural Selection getting to know Amber, an Imria girl who was raised on Earth and feels caught between the two worlds. Not quite Earthling, not quite of Kurra, Amber’s story feels amazingly grounded and realistic despite involving space travel.
The Relic Master Series by Catherine Fisher
Catherine Fisher is my all-time favorite author, and the Relic Master quartet is one of her absolute best. It takes place on the world of Anara, an alien planet made up of multiple humanoid species living under the oppressive rule of the Watch. Though the series at first seems to be a straightforward dystopian fantasy, it has a number of shocking, really unexpected twists that take it in a true classic sci-fi direction and blew me out of the water when I first read it. I wish I could gush about it more here, but everything I want to say involves spoilers and this is really one series that you should not be spoiled for!
The Forever Star by Sarah Diemer
This beautiful novella takes place at the end of the world, but it’s full of so much hope despite it all. That hope is really what makes the book shine. The story follows Maggie, an engineer who’s doing everything she can to protect her city from solar flares caused by the dying sun, and Elaine, a magical being who creates stars—and who is running away from her fate. Another hybrid of sci-fi and fantasy, this one is among my favorites in any genre ever.
Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
The Across the Universe trilogy follows an interplanetary spaceship traveling to a new world in the Alpha Centauri system, and Shades of Earth shows us what happens when they finally get there. This book shows us a different sort of encounter than (most of) the others on my list, because in this case, humans go to the aliens rather than vice-versa—and what they find on the new world is nothing like us at all. There are dinosaur-like creatures, strange animals and plants and an energy source strong enough to power (or kill) a whole world. Like the other books in the series, this one is full of twists, turns and red herrings, so I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that I love the world Revis created in this book. It’s beautiful and scary at once, and encapsulates everything I love about sci-fi that explores the galaxy: showing us a world completely different from Earth, and yet somehow familiar.
The sky looked red.
That was all I could think as I gazed out over the desiccated plain. The once-gray rocks and boulders, strewn about the old dry coastline, were now almost completely covered with rust. Orange-tinged clouds swirled above my head, the air thick with choking dust kicked up by the harsh wind that raked over the parched ground.
Even though we’d been forbidden to leave the safety of the citidome, I’d decided to take the risk that night. I had wanted to see the sunset—really see the sunset—for what could be the last time. It had been so long since I’d seen the sky, I couldn’t remember what it looked like.
But I certainly hadn’t expected it to be so red.
The oxygen was too thin. It made breathing difficult, painful. I couldn’t believe how quickly it was depleting now, at the end. Last year on my annual we’d still been able go outside. But now we had to huddle in our enclosed cities, looking out at the world through the tinted filter of smooth blue glass. And even that option wouldn’t last much longer. The world really was ending.
It was much too soon. This was the first day of my eighth year, my enilikin. I still had my whole life ahead of me. I hadn’t even completed my schooling yet, thanks to Gitrin. It would be at least another year, now, before I was ready to take my place in the ranks of the geroi.
But in their last report, the scientists said that our planet couldn’t sustain us another year. My heart stuck in my throat at the thought. Standing here, looking at this, I knew it to be true. Sometime in the next six-hundred days the last of our atmosphere would be gone. The energy sources used to power the citidome would be entirely depleted. And if the colony on Hamos wasn’t stabilized—if we didn’t complete evacuation by that time—we’d all be dead.
I’d be dead. Before I even got a chance to live.
We needed more geroi. And still she told me I wasn’t ready. Everything was so hideously unfair.
I shivered as the biting wind dragged over me, pulling wisps of colorless hair loose from the tight braid encircling my scalp. There was briefest hint of the fragrance of flowers on the wind’s breath, but it was overpowered by the dry, metallic scent of the ever-reddening earth. What if this was the last time I’d ever smell Iamos? The last time I’d ever see the sun, or the sky, without something in between me and it?
I took a final shuddering breath, and, tucking a flyaway hair behind my ear, I made my decision. I was not giving up. It was not over. No matter what it took, this would not be my last annual.
It was only as I turned to head inside that I saw him.
I might have missed him otherwise, but the light from the setting sun threw his form into relief. A boy was sprawled across the ground. He wore no breathing apparatus. He was completely unprotected. And he wasn’t moving.
Panicked, I raced to his side. I was out of breath by the time I reached him, even though he lay only a short distance away. “Are you all right?” I asked, wheezing. When he didn’t respond, I rolled him over onto his back.
He was young—probably close to my own age. I realized instantly he couldn’t be from my city; his traits were all wrong. He must have come from another citidome. But how? He couldn’t have walked. All that way, unprotected? He would never have made it…
I reached for my earpiece, then hesitated. I was invisible right now—the System couldn’t track me—but if I called for help, I’d be back online and the geroi would know I’d broken the edict. Not to mention that it could draw their attention to the fact that my earpiece had been altered. Ceilos would never forgive me.
But there was no way I could shift this boy’s dead weight on my own, not when I was already feeling the effects of the thin air.
Before I could give myself a chance to change my mind, I pressed the button. “Gerouin Melusin,” I called.
“Nadin?” Melusin’s voice was soft in my ears, like the drip of water in the caverns.
There was no time for explanations. “I need help outside the dome,” I said as calmly as possible.
“‘Outside’?” she repeated, her gentle voice faltering almost imperceptibly. “What are you doing—”
“Just hurry,” I interrupted her, breathless. “I found someone out here. He’s injured.”
The gerouin said nothing more, simply disconnecting. I turned back to the boy. He was still unconscious, but he was breathing—barely. I crouched to get a better look at him. His hair was coated in the red dust that the wind kicked up in swirling eddies, but I could see it was curly and dark. His skin, on the other hand, appeared bleached like an old man’s, even though he was clearly young. Could unprotected exposure to solar rays have done this? The atmosphere was so thin now…
I inhaled shakily, my lungs burning. It was already painful for me to be outside, and I couldn’t have been out for more than five minutes. This boy… how did he get here?
1 signed copy of Fourth World + a bookmark, open US only