The Left Behinds series so far contains two different historical fiction novels with time travel adventures in which preteens must save the day. In The iPhone that Saved George Washington, three kids travel to 1776 to discover that George Washington has been shot. Can they reverse this alternate history before history is changed forever? In Abe

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Tomorrowland by Steven Kotler (New Harvest, May 2015) is a collection of previously published essays about the new frontiers available in science. The subtitle suggests that the text provides examples of how science fiction has become “science fact.” I am not a scientist, so as I read, I found myself impressed with where humankind has

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Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka (Abrams, August 2014) is a bizarre and amusing story about a boy scientist named Frank Einstein who, with his best friend sidekick and two intelligent robots, is determined to win his science fair project. Of course with a grandfather named Al Einstein (no, not that one

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The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (published 1897) is another fascinating science fiction look at the implications of a changing world of acceptance. The titular character in this story, Griffin, is an albino who had once studied medicine. Tired of being marginalized for his strange appearance, he undergoes medical experiments, ultimately succeeding in creating a

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The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (originally published 1895) is a short novella that, on the surface, is about a man who invents and then uses a time machine to travel 800,000 years into the future. More specifically, however, The Time Machine is about class division. In the futuristic world the Time Traveller visits, the evolved

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Supposedly, Jules Verne is, in France, considered a “travel and adventure” writer, and is considered one of the great French authors, along with Zola, Hugo, and Dumas. Although I don’t consider him one of the greatest authors I’ve read, I have no doubt that Jules Verne is a great author, and well deserving of his

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In Kindred by Octavia Butler (1979), a modern black woman’s ancestors haunt her, calling her back to them for assistance. Dana comes to terms with her own family’s history and comes to understand firsthand just what her predecessors dealt with. Kindred is not a pleasant story. After all, it deals with slavery and the question

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I have never watched a “train-wreck” reality show. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever watched a reality show, unless you count the cooking shows like Iron Chef America. I have no desire to watch reality shows (beyond learning to cook, that is), and I don’t understand the appeal. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins,

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After reading both Crime and Punishment and The Three Musketeers this month, I really needed something quick and easy, engaging, and yet unique to catch my attention and give myself a break from the excellent but long masterworks my mind has been wrestling for the past three or four weeks. The Invention of Morel by

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During the first two weeks of March, I read three lighter genre classic authors. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring took me to the fantastic Middle Earth, Georgette Heyer’s The Talisman Ring was an amusing foray into romantic historical fiction (albeit an unrealistic one), and Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was an

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In 1934, an African-American doctor invented a surgical procedure that allowed black people to become white (specially, Nordic) in all respects. Black No More, Incorporated, became a highly profitable business, and the people of world were forever changed. Such is the premise of George S. Schuyler’s Black No More. It caught my eye because of

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I did not like being a teenager. Particularly ages 13 through 17. I was awkward. I was easily embarrassed. I was unpopular (or so I thought). I was nerdy. I was shy. I felt powerless. I wanted to be someone, and I was stuck just being me. I suppose that’s why I’ve always avoided reading

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