Space Stuff: Kids In Spaaaaaaaaace!

The Swinetrek from Pigs in Space

Source: Henson Associates

Yes, Dick (as in my Dick Bachman to the Steve King that is Jim Winter) is going YA with the SF project. And last week, as I started Part 2, I ran into some problems. Like I said last week, I know how it ends. I wasn’t sure how to get there.

Then a CNN article on YA popped up on my Twitter feed. I have to give a shout-out to Ashley Strickland, who wrote the article. There were three components to the best-known YA.

First, there is a clear line between good vs. evil. OK, that’s covered. Big, mean, human-like things drop out of the sky and start shooting the place up and even drop a couple of tactical nukes. If that’s not evil, it’s at least not very nice. So we were already covered. Harry had his Death Eaters. Katniss has the Capitol and the Game Makers. My kids have aliens with all the charm and etiquette of a lesser biker gang on crystal meth.

Second, the protags learn they have powers, they have skills they did not know they had, or they learn skills they never thought they’d need. Check. All the teens in this story are becoming soldiers at an age when they should be fighting acne, getting into gaming, and telling their parents “You’re not the boss of me!” My main male protag, out of sheer luck, has killed nine of the invaders. The main female protag has wandered for hours in a dark subway tunnel to flee an atomic blast. So, check.

Third, they have love triangles.


The male protag and the farmer’s daughter had just become an item when stuff in the sky started blowing up. My female protag has four friends with her, but given that a mushroom cloud erupted some twelve miles away, giving them barely enough time to run into the subway system, nobody’s really thinking about prom dates right about now.

So how did I handle it? Well, assuming this gets picked up as a series, my male and female protags have to start interacting. So, taking a page from Battlestar Galactica and jumping ahead a few weeks, I have my runaway showing the Girl Who Fell to Earth how to use the aliens’ favorite hand weapon. (Second favorite. They seem to like knives best.) This makes the Girl’s soldier boy friend jealous. Eventually, it will make the farmer’s daughter jealous. So now I have two love triangles, both of which my main protags were unaware of.

OK, I know how to get to the end. Back to work.