Monday, March 15, 2010

The Doom Machine

Teague, Mark. 2009. THE DOOM MACHINE. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545151429 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 8]

The ominous danger of the Doom Machine is offset by the fact that it is contained in a refrigerator. Thus begins a hilarious science fiction tale of giant alien spiders whose UFO lands in a small town in the United States during the 1950s. Seeking the Doom Machine so that they can conquer Earth, the aliens kidnap Jack, his Uncle Bud, the creator of the machine, and Dr. Shumway and her daughter Isadora, taking them to the aliens’ planet with several stops along the way. From a planet that defies time, to the polluted world of the spiders, readers are on an entertaining journey. This novel is fast paced, highly entertaining, and sure to please.

Interspersed with the contemporary problems of pollution and power politics, Teague has written a “what if” story that entertains and also elicits questions from the readers. What if a superior race were to come to Earth in the body of a large, ugly spider? What are our responsibilities for our technological discoveries? The technology in the story is questioned and understood based on today’s science knowledge, but was unheard of during the 1950s, thus creating an opportunity to consider today’s responsibilities.

This book provides an opportunity to discuss the culture of the 1950s, from the role of single mothers, to women in the work place as leaders or scientists, to inter-racial marriage and biracial children.

Other novels about future/alternative worlds:
Asimov, Isaac. I, ROBOT. ISBN 9780553803709
Kirkbride, Tom. GAMDIN: WORD OF HONOR. ISBN 9781934572061
Patterson, James. THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X. ISBN 9780316002929

By Christine J. Rayl

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