For budding speculative /sci-fi fans: ‘Future Friend’ by David Baddiel
November 16, 2020
Future Friend, a chapter book for middle grade readers, will be a sure-fire spark to ignite interest in stories that, like the best sci-fi and speculative fiction, asks readers to consider ‘What if…?’
Pip is a girl from the year 3020, who accidentally enters a time-travel portal and lands in the home of Rahul, a thousand and one years earlier, in the year 2019.
Once over their shock, the two marvel at the amazing differences between their world, while trying to figure out how to get Pip back to her own time. Pip’s future world certainly has some very cool technology – sentient robots, gravity defying boots, MindLink, animals and birds that can talk. (If you grew up in the 1960’s or thereabouts, you might remember the mix of amazement and envy at the futuristic world of the early Star Trek series or even cartoons like The Jetsons.
But the world of 3020 has its definite downsides and Pip wishes that she could be like Rahul and play outside, go to school with other children, and eat real (not lab-created) food. These are all impossible for her because of Earth’s extreme temperatures, rampant viruses and frequent floods.
There is a gentle, and timely, dig at conspiracy theorists and people who refuse to listen to science and instead choose to believe whatever disinformation they are fed by others.
Future Friend deals with some big themes, with an emphasis on friendship, humour and working together to take care of the future planet. It’s a perfect way for youngsters to embark on some enjoyable and accessible sci-fi reading.
Future Friend is published by HarperCollins Children’s Books on 18 November 2020. My thanks to the publishers for a review copy.