‘As Ethan stared at it, he saw a stream of data shooting through the walls of the house. He instinctively latched onto it and was suddenly whooshed along at incredible speed. The stream split into more streams, which split into more streams, which became myriad complicated fractals…full of possibilities.’
Best-selling author, and one of Australia’s best-loved storytellers, Anh Do has been extremely busy over the last 12 months. His junior fiction series WeirDo, Hotdog! and Ninja Kid are adored by millions of kids around the country, having sold in excess of 2.5 million books have been joined by three new series’.
In his new series E-boy, Wolf Girl and Rise of the Mythix, Anh brings his talent for break-neck plots and brilliant, relatable characters to a slightly older audience.
E-Boy, out this month is aimed at readers in the 10-14 age range. This is often an age when it becomes harder to keep young readers interested – however most will have grown up with Anh Do so he is already known and loved. Focusing on technology and AI with some super hero added to the mix should also be a draw card.
As you would expect, there is action from the first page. Teenage Ethan is in a medical facility preparing to undergo surgery to remove a brain tumour. He wouldn’t normally survive this surgery intact but the surgeon is an android robot, Gemini, who is capable of amazing feats.
Ethan’s doctor, Penny Cook, a prodigy and leading global expert in neuroscience and artificial intelligence, created Gemini and is giving Ethan his last chance.
When the medical facility is struck by a lightning bolt during surgery, Ethan’s prospects don’t look good. Strangely, when Dr Cook runs tests after completion there is no sign of a tumour. It appears that Ethan is cured but nothing can be that simple can it?
Meanwhile government agents pay a visit to Dr Cook as they are keen to take Gemini for their own purposes.
It’s only after Ethan gets home that he starts to notice some changes – some special abilities that appear to be a result of the surgery. He can sense everything in the house that contains a computer chip. Whatever has happened to his brain during the operation has given him the ability to manipulate any computer.
In true superhero style – with great power comes great responsibility. Due to the pressure of this new development Ethan finds himself feeling irritable, stressed and tired – there is a cost for electronic telepathy.
Meanwhile, Dr Cook appears to be missing and Gemini is struggling with the ethics of his new role under the instructions of the military. He’s also noticed some changes since the lightning strike. Is Gemini more than just a machine?
Anh Do gives older readers a fast-paced intriguing plot full of technology and AI. There are also a number of ethical issues that arise and questions about responsibility around AI to consider.
E-Boy is also filled with fantastic illustrations by Chris Wahl, an award-winning Australian illustrator and comic artist whose list of clients include Marvel, The Phantom, MAD magazine, Titan Comics, Lucasfilm and Hasbro.
It could be the perfect solution for getting the 10-14 year-old-reader off screens – bring the tech into their stories and let their imaginations run wild.