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John David Anderson and I talk about a little bit of everything in this far-ranging conversation between two Hoosier authors who like STAR WARS and Kurt Vonnegut. We chat about Anderson’s newest novel, STOWAWAY, as well as his classic, MS. BIXBY’S LAST DAY. Also discussed: writing two novels a year, leaving your heart on the page, space pirates, communicating messages to young readers, the Grateful Dead, flying saucer disclosure potentially messing with our science fiction, the value of writing during a pandemic, mythological action figures, cloning authors in the future, and so much more.
Leo knows this all too well. His mother was killed in one such attack, and soon after, his father, a Coalition scientist, decides it would be best for them to leave Earth behind. It’s on this expedition that their ship is attacked, Leo’s father is kidnapped, and Leo and his brother are stranded in the middle of space. The only chance they have is for Leo to stow away on a strange ship of mercenary space pirates bound for who knows where and beg the captain to help him find his father.
But the road is dangerous, and pirates, of course, only look out for themselves. Leo must decide who to trust as he tries to stay alive and save his family, even as he comes to understand that there aren’t many people—human or alien—that he can count on in this brave new universe.
Stowaway marks a new genre for Middle Grade mainstay John David Anderson, whose trademark sense of humor and strong talent for adventure, mixed with poignant emotion and strong character relationships, shine throughout this read. Dave has proven himself a beloved choice with middle graders and gatekeepers alike over the years, with realistic contemporary novels like Ms. Bixby’s Last Day and critically acclaimed, heartfelt, and imaginative fantasies like Granted.