Cover image for The 8th continent
Title:
The 8th continent
Author:
London, Matt, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Razorbill, a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, [2014]
Physical Description:
219 pages ; 20 cm
Summary:
Hoping to transform a giant floating garbage patch into a habitable eighth continent where people can escape an oppressive bureaucracy, Evie and Rick must race against time when a plastic-obsessed villainess tries to claim the continent to expand her power.
General Note:
"1"--Spine.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781595147547
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area
Searching...
Audubon Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Clearfield Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Grand Island Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Hamburg Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Kenmore Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
Searching...
Lackawanna Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Lancaster Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Orchard Park Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Marilla Free Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO CREATE A PLACE WHERE YOU COULD MAKE YOUR OWN RULES?

Evie and Rick Lane are determined to transform the Great Pacific Garbage Patch--a real life pile of floating garbage--into an eighth continent, using a special formula developed by their father. This new continent will be a place where their family can make their own rules and live free from the intervention of Winterpole, a global governing agency run by bumbling bureaucrats.

But eleven-year-old pink-and-plastic-obsessed Vesuvia Piffle, the secret mastermind behind the villainous Condo Corp, also has her sights set on this new land, and she wants to use it to build a kind of Miami-on-steroids.

Now, it's a race against time and across the world as the kids gather the items they need to create their continent. Because whoever controls the eighth continent controls our future. And the future can't be both "green" and pink.

BUILD IT - RUN IT - RULE IT
at 8thContinentBooks.com


Author Notes

Matt London (themattlondon.com) is a writer, video game designer, university instructor, and avid recycler who has published short fiction and articles about movies, TV, video games, and other nerdy stuff. Matt is a graduate of the Clarion Writers Workshop, and studied computers, cameras, rockets, and robots at New York University. When not investigating lost civilizations, Matt explores the mysterious island where he lives--Manhattan.

Follow Matt on Twitter @themattlondon and build your own eighth continent at 8thContinentBooks.com!


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Two spunky siblings are on a quest to turn the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into an eighth continent in this light sci-fi series opener. Rick and Evie Lane are determined to get their inventor father out of trouble with an icy global policing agency, and that means heading someplace immune to the agency's rules. Dad is in possession of one half of a formula that can change garbage into organic matter, and thus a mass of oceanic trash into a haven. But since he is under house arrest, the kids need to find their father's missing former partner, who has the other half of the concoction. Of course what's a quest without a villain, and Vesuvia, child CEO of a corporation determined to pave the world, is a doozy. In love with anything pink and plastic, she is the antithesis to the Lanes, who are so ecologically correct that their hovercraft is made from a repurposed tree trunk. It's all rather slapdash but nonetheless good fun in the tradition of M. T. Anderson's Pals in Peril series.--Cruze, Karen Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Like the Lane family's supersonic hovership, the Roost, which is carved from a giant sequoia, London's smart and humorous series launch hurtles along at a sometimes knuckle-whitening pace. Timid tech whiz Rick and fearless Evie accompany their father, George, a genius inventor and passionate environmentalist, to rescue a rare jungle bird threatened by toxic waste dumped by a corporation that plans to develop the land into the tacky "New Miami" resort. After international watchdog agency Winterpole, "dedicated to making sure that nothing ever changed," places George under house arrest for removing the bird, it's up to Rick and Evie to achieve his dream: transforming an expanse of garbage (based on the actual Great Pacific Garbage Patch) into a bucolic eighth continent. Adding to the comedy interwoven with London's ecological themes are several memorable characters, including Vesuvia Piffle, Condo Corp's plastic-worshipping young mastermind. Kids will especially enjoy George's outlandish robotic and vehicular inventions-including 2-Tor, the siblings' giant mechanical crow teacher-in this fun yet thought-provoking story, which features an online tie-in game. Ages 8-12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-In this first volume of a projected series, grade school students Rick and Evie Lane are on a quest to transform the Pacific Garbage Patch into the world's eighth continent. Their father, George, once invented a formula that would turn this mass of floating plastic into fertile land, but now he only has half of the recipe. With the help of their robotic tutor, 2Tor, Rick and Evie set out to locate their father's old partner and the rest of the formula. Matters are complicated by a classmate, the pink-obsessed, plastic-loving 11-year-old "super-secret CEO" of an evil corporation. Details of the Lanes's over-the-top inventions and posh school (students sky-dive to class every day) give an excessively cartoonish feel to the book without helping to develop the plot or characters. "Science" in this science fiction is minimal, and utterly disregarded if it interferes with plot or cool gadgetry. At one point, the kids must name the four principles of aerodynamics, but no explanation is ever attempted as to how their giant sequoia hovercraft is able to stay aloft. The terraforming fluid works like magic to instantly transform plastics into mud populated with plant and animal life. The writing is frenetic, with a rapid succession of settings and dialogue that reads like a list of one-line jokes. Some reluctant readers may appreciate the zippy pace and original premise.-Rachel Anne Mencke, Al Raja School Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

"IF YOU KIDS DON'T KNOCK IT OFF, I'M GOING TO TURN THIS TREE AROUND AND GO HOME!" At her father's command, Evie Lane removed the two fingers she had curled into her brother's nostrils. "But, Dad! We're so close to the Buhana Jungle I can hear the birdsongs! I can smell the mangoes!" Her brother, Rick, who at eleven was one year older than Evie and never let her forget it, released the grip he had on a lock of her wavy dark hair. "Mangoes aren't indigenous to the Buhana Jungle. Everyone with a hundred sixty IQ knows that." Evie leaned back in her wood-carved cockpit chair and made a long, drawn-out snorting sound, like a snore. " Zszszszszsog! If only you used that big brain of yours for something other than shooting laser beams at space marines in your video games." Rick adjusted the glasses on his blushing face. "Studies show video games improve spatial reasoning and hand-eye coordination." "Coordinate your way to the evac room. We land in the Buhana Jungle in t-minus real soon." Their father did not look away from the main viewport of the Roost 's cockpit as he spoke. "Nerds first," Evie said, offering Rick the chance to lead the way. "Jerks second," Rick retorted, racing toward the back of the Lane family's personal hovership. He ducked under the hollow branches that piped water and fuel throughout the aircraft. The Roost was unlike any flying machine the world had ever seen. It was carved from a giant sequoia named King Sargon that had fallen victim to a lightning strike in Yosemite National Park. Dad had discovered the great fallen tree while in the region rejuvenating bald eagle habitats. He took the remains back home to Switzerland, where he carved rooms and passageways through the trunk of the broken titan. Two custom repulsor engines had been grafted to its roots, which allowed the tree to fly at supersonic speeds. In fourteen seconds (a new record) Evie and Rick reached the evac room, a large compartment where the exit ramp deployed. Standing in the corner of the room was their robot teacher, 2-Tor, a seven-foot-tall mechanical crow. 2-Tor's eyes glowed with life. Colors swirled on the video screen in his belly. The birdbot stepped forward, flapping his chromium wings and cocking his head from side to side. When he spoke, his digitized voice sounded faintly British. "Aha! So you have deigned to grace me with your presences at last. Miss Evelyn, you are late for your algebra practice test." "Sorry, 2-Tor," Evie said with an innocent smirk. "Duty calls!" 2-Tor hooted like an owl that had swallowed a kazoo. "If you continue to neglect your studies, Miss Evelyn, you will flunk your math exam . . . again! Mister Richard has never flunked anything in his life!" Evie glared at Rick sourly. 2-Tor was always on her case. He never lectured Rick. Sometimes Evie suspected that her brother must have hacked into 2-Tor's software and changed his programming so that 2-Tor would let him do whatever he wanted. In this case, however, Rick came to her defense. "Difficult as it is to believe, 2-Tor, it isn't Evie's fault this time. Dad has us on another one of his ridiculous missions to 'save an innocent bird from the evils of trash.'" That was putting it lightly. In recent years, many of the earth's most beautiful regions had been turned into dumping grounds. Deserts were doused in trash. Caves were clogged. Forests were overflowing! The Buhana Jungle was no exception. It was a festering wound poisoning the earth, jammed full of junk no one wanted anymore. Evie's dad sauntered into the room dressed like a goofy astronaut. His pointed nose and pouf of auburn hair made it look like the sun was rising behind his head. He zipped up his brown flight suit. "I've set the Roost to autopilot. Now remember, kids, the Buhana Jungle is the only habitat of the rare bird known as the Buhana of Paradise. If we don't rescue this specimen, the whole species could be wiped out." Evie fidgeted as the Buhana Jungle grew large in the Roost 's portholes. The toxic storage site in this tropical paradise belonged to the Condo Corporation, a real estate and construction company that was owned by the father of the most popular girl at Evie's school, Vesuvia Piffle. She was Empress of the Academy, and if you wanted to be anybody at the International School for Exceptional Students, you needed Vesuvia's approval. Without it, you were nothing, a smear of mustard on the cafeteria floor that the janitor would mop up at the end of fifth period. If Vesuvia found out that Evie's family was raiding Condo Corp property, there was no telling what the platinum-blond monster would do. Maybe Vesuvia would hire a robo-shop quartet to follow Evie around school, and everywhere she went the robots would sing about what a poorly dressed and smelly loser she was. Then only Rick would hang out with her . . . and no one hung out with Rick. "Everybody ready?" Evie's father grinned like he had woken up to discover he had grown wings overnight. "Suits on! Grab your mouthmasks! Fresh water and cleaning supplies . . . check! Let's go get that bird." Evie glanced out the window again at the ever-approaching jungle. "Dad, it looks like we're coming in too fast." "Never fear, daughter dear! Compared to the Roost 's top speed, we will be landing at a snail's pace!" Compared to the Roost 's top speed, a snail's pace meant they landed at approximately a zillion miles an hour. Old car tires, broken logging equipment, and other trash-dump projectiles went flying as the rocket-powered tree roared across the jungle, carving a canyon out of the littered landscape. The Lane family hopped off the exit ramp and sank up to their waists in trash-filled mud. Evie struggled to pull her arms free of the sludge. "Trash." Dad retched, attaching a white respirator to his nose and mouth. "There is nothing I despise more than poorly discarded unsanitary waste products." Evie gagged. "Ugh! It smells like lasagna made with old socks." "Yech!" Rick added. "It smells like a toilet brush on an all-asparagus diet!" Dad fanned away a swarm of flies. "I invented those deodorizing mouthmasks to block out unwanted odors and unwanted complaints! It does me no good if you don't wear them." Evie fitted the mouthmask over her face and was surprised at how well it concealed the overwhelming stench. After so many missions with her dad around the world, swimming neck-deep in garbage and saving animals from damaged habitats, she was glad to have something to block out the nauseating smell. She turned to tell Dad that his latest invention was totally awesome, but he was already several feet ahead of her, cutting a path through the mud. The Buhana Jungle looked almost as Evie had imagined it, with densely packed trees, mud, tangled roots, and a grand canopy of leaves high overhead. Wrecked chainsaw trucks and demolition vehicles were upturned everywhere. Discarded power cables hung like snakes from the trees, and billowing plastic bags suffocated many branches. In the distance, a kapok tree emerged from the heaps of scrap metal, empty food containers, and bulging trash bags. This must have been where Condo Corp's deforestation crews dumped their waste when they weren't chopping down hundred-year-old trees to make room for one of the company's signature properties. A massive billboard hanging from a tree read: "Take a swing at all eighteen stories of Condo Corp's new Vertical Golf Course!" Evie shook her head. The corporation's willingness to destroy the environment for the sake of something pointless never ceased to amaze. When Evie and Rick reached the kapok tree, Dad was already shimmying up the trunk. He tugged on a branch and cooed softly. "Hey there, little fella. It's okay. No one's going to hurt you." "Did you find the bird?!" Evie squinted to see what or whom her dad was talking to. "Shh!" Rick nudged her. "You're gonna scare it away." Evie didn't want to frighten the bird, but she couldn't help hurrying. She had a bad feeling about trespassing on Condo Corp property. Rick must have felt the same way, because as their father hopped out of the tree, he said, "Dad, we really shouldn't be here. We're breaking the rules. You're going to get caught again, and Mom isn't going to like that." "But, Rick, we're saving the planet! What is there to complain about?" Rick flapped his arms like a grumpy eagle, spattering the ground with trash and mud. "Come on! I swore on my Game Zinger that I wouldn't let you get caught again." "Your mother will understand that I am doing this for the greater good . . . I hope." Dad opened his hands, revealing the limp shape of the Buhana of Paradise. Its sapphire-and-ruby feathers were so soiled with grime that it looked like it was covered in belly button lint. The remains of a plastic sandwich bag were knotted around its feet. "Aww, poor thing!" Evie said. "But, hey, we found him!" Dad said. "Yeah, we did!" Rick cheered. "Go Team Lane!" Evie gave Rick a high five, for the moment forgetting their differences. One thing they could agree on was that saving an injured bird was a good thing. Dad watched the exchange between the kids, grinning. Then he jumped back to work. "Evie, help me with the scissors. Rick, did you bring the wash bucket?" Rick slid the scroll of super plastic out of its carrying tube. He handed it to his father. With a flick of his wrist, Dad unrolled the flat plastic and popped it into the correct wash-bucket shape. Just as Evie cut the bird free of its bonds with her scissors, the hum of a hover engine filled the air. "Uh, what's that?" Dread filled Evie's voice. A floating petunia came down through the leafy canopy, its bright plastic petals spiraling like helicopter blades. The pink flying machine moved toward them, dodging branches, sirens blaring. Evie's heart sank. The pink flowercopter came down to eye level, where they could see its robotic interface, a number of multi-jointed grasping arms, and a video screen with a face on it. But not just any face: the face of Evie's classmate, Vesuvia Piffle. She spoke with a sharp, squeaky voice, like a cross between a cartoon princess and a homicidal maniac. "Intruders! This wilderness preserve has been claimed by the Condo Corporation as a waste dumping ground. You are trespassing on private property! Ha! Daddy will be so proud when he sees that all by myself I caught three thieving--wait. Evie?" Evie tried to hide her face from the rotating camera on top of the video monitor. "Evie Lane, it is you! I'd recognize that hideous taste in clothing anywhere. You're the one trespassing? You're the one stealing from Daddy's company?!" Evie turned to her father for help, but he was preoccupied with washing the bird. "Vesuvia, I can explain." "I bet you can!" Vesuvia sneered. "You can explain to the other girls at school why you're the biggest loser ever." "Please," Evie begged. "Give me another chance. We're just trying to save the bird. What are you going to do?" Vesuvia's tone turned angelic. "Oh me? Nothing." "Really?!" Evie exclaimed. "Oh, thank you. I'm so sorry. I'll never--" Vesuvia began to cackle, the sound drowning out Evie's frantic apology. "That's nice. Tell it to Winterpole. Something tells me they won't be as forgiving." The flower- copter turned to the sky, where several sleek hoverships burst through the canopy in an explosion of leaves. "See you at school, thief!" echoed Vesuvia's voice. Evie's stomach dropped. Winterpole, the international police agency dedicated to making sure nothing ever changed, not even a little bit, had been an icicle in the Lane family's side as long as Evie could remember. If something existed on any of the seven continents, Winterpole had jurisdiction over it. The bureaucracy of the organization was so impenetrable that they rarely accomplished anything, and they always slowed down the innovations of her father, who genuinely cared about helping the environment. All Winterpole did was follow its mission statement of "Organization and Documentation of Natural Property," whatever that meant. Fearful accusations filled Rick's eyes. "Dad, what's Winterpole doing here?" "Well, you know how the Buhana Jungle is the last remaining habitat of the Buhana of Paradise?" "Uh-huh." The kids shared a look. They knew how this story would end. "So, unfortunately, in order to protect the species, Winterpole created a law prohibiting anyone from removing a bird of its kind from its home." Evie could not contain her offense. "Wait a sec. So you're saying that to protect the bird, Winterpole made a rule that you can't take it out of the habitat that's killing it?" "Yes, that's exactly it." Dad shook his head. "Ridiculous, right? The operatives there just don't think; they issue statutes without regard to whether a particular environment is, say, a toxic dump. If I could just get in front of them, I'd--" One of Rick's veins was bulging so much it looked like it was about to leap free and go for a jog. "You okay there, son?" George asked. "Dad, we know Winterpole is far from super effective, but what you're telling us is that in order to save this bird, you broke Winterpole bylaws, risked the integrity of Lane Industries, and endangered the lives of your children?" "No!" Dad replied. "I haven't done all that." He tucked the bird into the front of his flight suit. "Okay, now I'm doing all that. Run! To the Roost ." They waded through the mud back to their enormous hovership, Rick nagging like their mother did the whole way. But Evie barely heard his complaints; the memory of Vesuvia Piffle's vile cackles still filled her ears. Evie would have to change her name and go to junior high in Finland. There was no telling what that perky pain would do. RICK STOOD ON A BALCONY AT THE BACK OF THE ROOST, WATCHING THE BUHANA JUNGLE VANISH beyond the horizon. A fierce breeze whipped at his freshly showered hair. The Pacific Ocean stretched out in every direction, an azure blanket. Two thousand feet below him, waves rose and fell like the belly of the Snorivore monster in Animon Hunters . He searched the sky for any sign of Winterpole hoverships that might be chasing them. Amazingly, Dad seemed to have given the agency the slip once again. Most people would feel cold and isolated when looking at such a vast, empty sight. For Rick, however, it was nothing special. He felt cold and isolated all the time. Sure, he went to a pretty cool school, with sushi bento boxes for lunch and a third period class in video game design, but he had zero friends. Zero. The boys were mean, the girls were gross, and his teacher had less personality than a robot (and with parents like Rick's, he knew a thing or two about robots). Evie was the only person who was halfway nice to him, even when it meant the girls at school would tease her for acknowledging the existence of a kid who preferred study hall to recess. He loved her for that. Evie once started a food fight at the mall with a high school boy who'd made fun of Rick's interest in obscure video games. The look on the kid's face when Evie catapulted a two-gallon barrel of grape pudding at him was something Rick would never forget. This happy memory faded as Rick, ever the focused perfectionist, brought himself back to the present. What bothered him the most was this trouble with his dad. Lane Industries had been developing cutting-edge technologies since the time of Rick's grandfather, the company's founder. He had encouraged George, a genius scientist in his own right, to focus his research on robotics, engineering, propulsion, construction, climatology, and other cool fields like that. After Rick's grandfather passed away, Dad continued the Lane family tradition, creating robots and hoverships that were now used all over the world, including--as they'd only just discovered--by Evie's nemesis, Vesuvia. Recently, however, Rick's dad had been spending more time on little pet projects, like saving rare birds and building them new habitats with roller coasters and birdbaths the size of Olympic swimming pools. Rick wanted him to focus on the important stuff, like keeping Lane Industries a viable business and not risking the future of the company--and their family --by breaking Winterpole's never-ending list of rules. 2-Tor's metallic voice blatted out of the splintering loudspeaker hanging over the door. "Richard! Your father would like to show you something important. Please report to the cockpit without delay." Tardiness had been known to cause Rick to break out in hives, so he sprinted to the front of the Roost . The interior of the cockpit looked like a palatial living room, with fluffy carpets, leather sofas, a holographic display table, and a control console shaped like a pipe organ with ninety- seven various buttons and gauges. A sloped glass window stretched across the front wall. Rick's father was sitting behind the flight stick, studying a few blips on the navigation monitor and letting his well-crafted hovership do most of the work. Evie sat in the copilot's chair, spinning in circles. Sometimes Rick didn't know how he and Evie were the same species, let alone brother and sister. That girl would rather scale the walls of their school with a grappling hook than sit inside and ace spelling bees. She was never happy in the moment, always looking for adventure. Meanwhile, Rick's own idea of adventure was swinging from vines in Jungle Joust 2 , an awesome retro arcade game he had downloaded the week before. He was glad that the game gave him the opportunity to, as the advertisement for the game suggested, "live life on the wild side." He would never do something like that in real life. He might fall and break his neck. "2-Tor told me it was urgent?" Rick said when neither his father nor his sister turned around to greet him. Still getting no response, he added, "I did a visual scan of the area. No sign of Winterpole hoverships anywhere. But that doesn't mean that they're not out there." His father continued studying the display screens, ignoring Rick like he always did when he had one of his crazy ideas. "Dad, I don't see why you insist on being Winterpole enemy number one. Is there some sort of prize? A coupon for fifty percent off birdseed?" "Yeah, uh-huh." George finally looked up. "I want to show you my new project." Rick breathed a sigh of thank-goodness. His father was actually involving him in Lane Industries' latest venture. The more Rick knew about the company, the better he would be at running the family business when he eventually took it over. "What's the project, Dad?" Evie asked. "Garbage!" Garbage. That didn't surprise Rick at all. His father had made a fortune creating new engines, robots, and other incredible inventions, but his passion had always been for ridding the world of waste. Whether turning old landfills into public parks or recycling bottles and cans into motorcycles, Dad was always trying to make the grass greener, the ocean bluer, and the air clearer. "What are we doing way out here, then?" Evie asked. "There's no garbage out here." "Quite the contrary," Dad replied. "Take a look out the front window." Rick wrenched his face in disgust as he peered down at the water. There was so much trash it made the Buhana Jungle look like the wastebasket under his bathroom sink. What appeared to be the world's largest collection of empty drink bottles covered the water. They bobbed on the waves, gray weathered plastic reflecting the sun's harsh rays. The labels that had not fallen off the bottles were faded white. "Did a Pepsi shipping freighter sink?" Evie asked. 2-Tor wagged a metal feather at her. "Evelyn, you know quite well that is incorrect." "Any ideas, Rick?" George asked. Rick adjusted his glasses. "According to the Roost 's Global Positioning System, at the moment we are flying over what's known as the North Pacific Gyre. It's an area in the Pacific where a bunch of ocean currents swirl together in a kind of vortex. That must be what brought all this trash here. People litter, then the trash gets washed out to sea. The trash floats along with the currents until it ends up here. But, Dad, we really need to talk about Winterpole. What's Mom going to say when she finds out--" His father interrupted, "Ocean currents! Exactly right, Rick. Well done!" Evie scowled. "Give me a second and I could have come up with that answer too." In the distance, what looked like a big island came into view. As the hovership got closer, Rick saw that it was a giant mountain of trash. It was so enormous he couldn't see the ends of it. It stretched to infinity in three directions. Rolling hills of milk jugs, soda cans, car tires, and shopping bags. Vast plains of yogurt cups and potato chip cans, dotted with little green baskets that used to house strawberries and crumpled plastic sheets peeled off the back of fruit roll-ups. There were a million specks of junk. Stretched and worn and waterlogged, the expanse of trash created a surface that looked almost dense enough to walk on. "Oh, I've heard about this!" Evie said. "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch." Rick had heard about it too--all the garbage in the North Pacific Gyre sticking together to create one immense island in the middle of the ocean. "Is it really the size of Texas?" he asked. His father chortled. "Oh-ho, no. It's nothing like that. Well, sort of. This here, what most people consider the garbage patch, is actually just a tiny piece of it. It's not as large as Texas. More like . . . Rhode Island. But we've scooped up trash from all over the oceans and transported it here. Most of the garbage patch, which is twice the size of Texas, is more like a filmy soup of chemicals with little bits of weathered plastic floating in it. Smells awful!" He pinched his nose for effect. "Are you trying to clean up the garbage patch?" Evie asked. Hearing her question, Rick knew that this couldn't quite be it. If it was, then why would his father have brought additional trash here instead of just disposing of the trash that already existed? Sure enough, Dad replied, "Not exactly! Look over there!" He pointed out the window at what appeared to be a trio of enormous metal elephants floating on the water. Each machine was so big that just one of them could easily fill Rick's school gymnasium. All stood rigidly at attention, gray legs and trunks locked straight. As the machines moved over the surface of the water, they gobbled up the trash in their way, depositing blocks of plastic as they passed by. "What are those things?" Rick asked, his eyes almost as wide as his glasses. "Those are my garbage chompers," his father said. "Aren't they cute?" Evie wrinkled her nose at the sight of the garbage-guzzling elephant bots. She patted Dad's shoulder. " Cute is not the word I would use, but sure, Dad. Sure." "Have I ever told you my dreams of island building?" their father asked. "A society on the sea?" Rick winked at Evie. "Lane Industries' Ocean Empire!" Evie said in her best imitation of her exuberant father. Rick rolled his eyes. "Only about two billion times." "Children!" 2-Tor interrupted. "It's time for a quiz. Mathematics. What is two billion in scientific notations?" Rick didn't miss a beat. "Two times ten to the ninth power." Evie stuck her tongue out at him. Rick made a mental note to design a mechanical grasping claw that could pinch her whenever she did that. "Excellent, 2-Tor! Excellent!" George exclaimed, sitting up straight and smug. 2-Tor's job was to keep Rick's and Evie's minds sharp with surprise quizzes when they missed school on their adventures. Dad looked quite pleased with the way the educational birdbot was working, but he didn't let his satisfaction with his invention distract him from the mission at hand. "Now, pay attention, children," he continued. "This trash-gobbling venture is my latest attempt at island building. Just think, with the garbage processed into plastic blocks, we can use the pieces as building materials to construct a landmass, right here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Then all the world's birds will have a safe place to live, free of toxic, glow-in-the-dark fish and plastic booby traps." Something large passed in front of the sun, casting Rick, his father, and his sister into shadow. Rick looked up to see two hoverships fly overhead. "Winterpole! I knew this would happen!" "Incoming message," Evie said, reading off the communicator screen. "'George Lane! We are locked on to your vessel. Attempts to escape will prove fuh-tilly.'" "It says futile ," Rick groaned. The Lanes had no choice but to set the Roost to hover mode and listen to Winterpole's demands. George pushed away from the console and headed out of the cockpit. "Come on. Let's go see what they want." Rick followed Evie and their dad through the winding, wooden passageways and returned to the balcony overlooking the garbage patch. The Winterpole hoverships looped around the Roost , pulling up in front of the Lanes' hovership. A sliding door on the side of the lead ship opened, revealing a middle-aged man in a trim gray suit. His eyes were the color of faded jeans, and he wore a fedora that covered his hair, save for his graying sideburns. "George Lane!" the man shouted over the wind and the roaring engines. "I have caught you at last." "Who are you?" George asked. The man looked offended. "What? It is I, Mister Snow." "Sorry, the name doesn't ring any diamonds." The offense on his face turned to annoyance. "I'm a penalty enforcer for Winterpole." George continued to stare at him blankly. "Mister Snow? We've met six or seven times." George shrugged. "Never mind!" snapped Mister Snow. "You are in violation of Winterpole Statutes 23-12, 41, A-76, and 31-B. Statute 31-B is kind of a big deal." George snorted. "Your alphabet soup doesn't mean anything to me. What was my crime?" "You removed a bird from its protected habitat." Evie couldn't contain her fury. "But the bird couldn't live in the habitat anymore! He'd die there. We saved him! Why don't you go annoy the people who created the dumping ground?" "Winterpole has rules against removing birds from protected habitats. There is no such rule against dumping waste on a protected habitat." "Well there should be," Evie spat in disgust. "Careful," Mister Snow replied. "There is a rule against suggesting new Winterpole rules." While Evie screamed for a while about double standards and justice, Rick wondered what his mother would say about Dad's latest run-in with Winterpole. Sometimes Rick thought his dad was the dumbest genius he had ever met. Rick never had trouble following the rules, but his dad was a different kettle of fishsticks. It was almost like he enjoyed behaving badly. The thought of acting that way made Rick sick from his nostrils to his knuckles. Mister Snow continued. "The penalty board has evaluated your crimes and determined that the price you will pay is the immediate destruction of these machines. You will be placed under house arrest pending further case review." Rick had to restrain Evie to keep her from leaping off the balcony and attacking Mister Snow. She shrieked, "You can't do this!" "I'm just doing my job, miss. Your father is a known bird thief. He must be brought to justice." "Bird? What bird? I don't see any bird around here, do you?" It was one of Evie's obvious ploys. Rick didn't know what she hoped to accomplish. "Wark!" Excerpted from The 8th Continent by Matt London All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Google Preview