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Updated: July 10, 2013 19:23 IST

For young sci-fi fans

RUFUS JOHN
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Forbidden Earth, by Sabina Anand.
Forbidden Earth, by Sabina Anand.

Artificial intelligence and human refugees come together in this sci-fi fiction which has plenty of adventure, romance and twists to keep you hooked.

The year is 3060 A.D. We are introduced to a small band of humans who have returned to their home planet after being driven off by artificially intelligent “Biological Computers” many centuries before. Macey, one of the lead characters, is kidnapped almost immediately; seemingly without any just cause. The ensuing conflict between creator and creation sets up the rest of the story with a generous dose of action and adventure thrown in for good measure.

Plot thickens

Right from the get-go, the author seems to be quite clear about her target audience and caters to the teen/pre-teen crowd with unabashedly juvenile descriptions. The story starts off immediately after that with Macey being kidnapped, while Leslie (her best friend) and the rest of the crew are rendered helpless during an attack by the new inhabitants of Earth — the Biological Computers or BCs.

Readers who are looking for a background (or an origin story) will not find what they are looking for here. The concept of a biological computer, though interesting, is never fully dealt with other than the fact that they are almost human, extremely efficient and hardworking with a distinct lack of emotions.

Their ability to reproduce sets them apart from other similar fictitious devices of the human imagination. The author has also used this dynamic well. Dylan, a BC, takes a keen interest in the human fugitive and an unlikely consortium of humans and the BCs begins with Macey trying to figure out the reasons behind her capture and Dylan being bewitched by her, a stark contrast to his own kind.

This book is aimed primarily at a younger age group and they will find much to their interest in the form of an easy-to-identify-with format of sci-fi, adventure and romance with even a couple of genuine twists thrown towards the end. The character motivations aren’t too detailed and the plot never really takes off.

Verdict

The book is strictly for the young. The concept of a biological creation — which would one day be able to live alongside us, establishing relationships and being part of our society, on an equal footing is intriguing — could have been explained further. Perhaps, a sequel is on the cards…

Title: Forbidden Earth

Author: Sabina Anand

Publisher: Rupa

Price: RS. 195

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