A fabulous science fiction read, the Sticky Pines series follows the lives of the residents of Sticky Pines, where odd lights, strange creatures and the mystery of the sticky pines themselves drive the investigations of local resident, Lucy, and her friend Milo. Lucy is convinced that aliens are real....
Author Dashe Roberts introduces the Sticky Pines series and tells us what makes it a science-fiction novel. We also asked for her top science fiction reads.
Chapter One: The Wrath of the Blob: In Sticky Pines: The Wrath of the Blob, the stakes are high and the future of the human race itself is under threat....!
What is science-fiction?
Hello, my name is Dashe Roberts, and I'm the author of the Sticky Pines series, a four-book epic sci-fi mystery saga exploring the nature of truth in a post-truth world, as well as friendship, empathy and lots and lots of monstery goo.
I'm an American, originally from California, and I've been living in the UK for the last seven years. I'm a lifelong fan of science fiction, adventure, horror, and mystery stories, and a lot of my fiction writing tends to roam across those genres.
I've always been drawn to science fiction because it's a genre in which you can explore life's biggest questions. Sci-fi takes a real-world scenario and asks, "What if…?" As a kid, I was a huge fan of the sweeping, epic stories by Madeleine L'Engle, like A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door, which take the protagonist Meg Murry across outer space and into the equally expansive microscopic world in order to save her family.
Science fiction delves into events that aren't currently possible in the real world, but could be possible given the right circumstances. For example, the development of new technologies, the passage of time, the new discovery of natural phenomena, or the possibility of a disruptive person or faction seizing power.
Great science fiction stories usually ask big questions about what is real, what is true, and what it means to be human. My Sticky Pines books ask, "What would you do if you discovered something monstrously frightening happening in your town, and powerful adults were actively working against you in your quest to reveal this danger to the wider world?"
So what are your favourite reads?
I also loved reading speculative fiction books like The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and 1984 by George Orwell, all very different in tone, audience and execution, yet which each explore the use of technology to exert control over a populace.
I also love the work of Kurt Vonnegut, who blends elements of comedy and farce into his inventive literary science fiction: The Sirens of Titan, for example, is a darkly humorous, time-and-space-spanning exploration of the meaning of life itself.
Lastly, television shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation and The X-Files were huge favourites of mine. These tightly constructed dramas investigate the nature of Truth and humanity's place in the universe in wildly different, yet equally compelling ways. I've probably watched every episode of these series a dozen times each.
And your top science fiction recommendations?
There are loads of great science fiction books out there for all ages, and I certainly plan to explore other elements of this genre in future. Some of my favourite titles include:
• The Giver by Lois Lowry is a novel set in a futuristic city where life is engineered to enable the populace to live without pain and suffering, at the expense of their emotional depth and individuality. One child inherits the role of "Giver", which enables him to discover the truth of what has been lost.
• Bite Risk by SJ Wills takes place in an isolated town where, when they reach a certain age, all the adults turn into werewolves. A group of teens are determined to unearth the reason why, and they discover some hair-raising secrets in the process…
• Orion Lost by Alastair Chisholm is about a group of children who awake to find they're the only passengers to come out of stasis on a massive ship bound for a new world. But they learn they're being followed, and something isn't right with the AI assistant on board…
• Where the World Turns Wild by Nicola Penfold is a thrilling eco adventure that follows Juniper and Bear as they escape their high-walled techno-city and journey through a plague-ridden wilderness in search of their mother.
• Crater Lake by Jennifer Killick is a fun, funny and heart-pounding thriller set in the great outdoors, featuring body snatching creatures that infiltrate your mind if you dare fall asleep. Perfect reading for the spooky season!
• When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is the story of an ordinary sixth-grade girl whose life is thrown askew when she begins receiving messages from a mysterious stranger who seems to know everything about her. The messages lead her to believe that only she can prevent a tragic death from occurring in the future.