Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Into the Light! The Jamie Drake Equation by Christopher Edge

I hear a beep from my cell phone. I see the low battery icon. Mom will start to worry if she can't get hold of me. I look around and my eyes fall on Professor Forster's laptop. A USB cable dangles emptily.

With a quick glance over my shoulder, I plug the cable into my phone. But as the USB connects with the familiar three-note sound, I see a pop-up appear on the phone's screen:


Oh, no. Panicking, I make a grab for my phone, yanking the USB cable out.

Jamie Drake lives on Planet Earth, the only one in our solar system in the "Goldilocks Zone," habitable for humans. His dad is an astronaut at the International Space Station, about to launch laser-powered nano-drones toward the star Tau Ceti to probe for intelligent extra-terrestrial life on a planet in its orbit, and Jamie's whole school is avidly awaiting watching his famous father in dramatic style do it all on television.

Jamie's got it made for popularity in sixth grade. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, first, Jamie can't do his math homework, a whole page of pre-algebra equations. And then his mom tells him that she and his father are planning to divorce--just as soon as he returns to Earth. It's all too much. His father is a celebrity, in orbit on the International Space Station. But Jamie can't help resenting his dad for being where he is and who he is, and for not being what Jamie needs at that time. He's too unhappy to concentrate on math. His life is a mess. But when he runs out of his house, holding back tears, something happens....

Jamie grabs his battered cell phone and heads out for walk, ending at a supposedly closed public observatory. But the door is open, and Jamie's curiosity is aroused. He meets up with a private SETI researcher inside who is quietly using the telescope for her own search for extra-terrestrials. She explains that she's waiting for a download from the Hubble telescope, and while she's taking care of some "technical difficulties," Jamie decides to charge his phone, plugging it into a USB port on her computer. What happens next is something that, despite his father's work, Jamie could never have imagined.

I hear a buzzing sound. It's my cell phone. I look at the screen. Then I see it. At the corner of the screen is a new icon. It looks like a golden spiral and it seems to spin in time with the phone's vibration. I try to drag it out of the way, but it won't move at all.

There's a strange tingle in my finger. A number appears. 0

Then another number appears, followed by another and another.

0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144 233 377....

Yes, it's a Fibonacci sequence from an alien intelligence probing to see if it is in touch with an intelligent lifeform on Earth. Not only is Jamie enabled to do his math homework, but the screen reveals that the alien he calls "Buzz" is a member of the Hi've, beings who have had to leave their own plane of existence and become pure energy by "swarming into the light."

And when a sudden massive solar flare strands his own father hopelessly in space, Jamie has no hope beyond following Buzz's instructions to save his father.


It's a crackerjack of a premise, in Christopher Edge's The Jamie Drake Equation (Delacorte Press, 2018 Am. Ed.). Despite its au currant theory and technical devices, this middle reader science fiction book has much in common with the plot and theme of Madeleine L'Engle's classic A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet), as Jamie must call on his own courage and inner light, and with the guidance of his own ET, travel through time and space to save his father. Like Meg Murray, Jamie Drake is a real kid with real concerns who follows his own heart into a plane of existence he never dreamed of, all the while grounded in his love of his earthly family and life. Author Edge skillfully draws young readers into the storyline, seamlessly melding both science and spirit. "With solid science and believable family conflicts, this will be very satisfying to readers whose wishful thinking can suspend disbelief," Kirkus Reviews reports.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home