TeenLit Book Reviews

October 2000

The Xenocide Mission

Ben Jeapes

Before you read this book, I'm going to ask you to do something that may seem a bit odd. Trust me; once you find out about the author, you'll better understand the often complex, always challenging nature of his first science fiction novel. Here's what I want you to do: visit his web site at http://www.jeapes.ndirect.co.uk/ Yes, Mr. Jeapes is British and this shows up throughout his writing. But as you can see from his web page, he is also a very, VERY free spirit. "The Xenocide Mission" is one of those rare young adult sci-fi books that respects the reader. Sure, it's got slam-bang action good enough to be brought to the attention of some Hollywood studio, but it's the characters that dominate the action, not the other way around. The year is 2154 and human beings have developed a race of robots known as 'First Breeds' (and also by a less-than-nice term 'Rustie') Lt. Joel Gilmore is introduced to the reader on the very first page as a young, inexperienced soldier finding himself in an impossible situation. Even with the aid of First Breed 'Boom Round', Lt. Gilmore is facing certain death....and you're only on Page Ten. Joel's father isn't doing much better; he's on a runaway space-ship carrying a Doomsday device and headed on a collision course with the sun. Ben Jeapes knows how to grab the reader on Page One and not let go until the action-packed, nail biting ending. Here is a new author to science fiction who will definitely make a place for himself in the small circle of intelligent sci-fi writers. Rating: 3