TITLE: Savage Jungle
GENRE: Middle-grade Science Fiction
I rip the wrapping paper off the present without removing the bow, lift the lid off the large cardboard box, and peer inside. A small chip rests on the bottom.
“It’s a book,” Uncle Tonas says, eyes wide in his thick-jawed, tightly muscled face. “Go on, download it.” He leans forward, monstrous broad shoulders and all, a cigar between his pointer and middle finger. The total opposite of me. Sure, I’m only twelve years old, but my overly large black sweatshirt and baggy jeans hide the fact I’m as skinny as Uncle Tonas’s pinky finger.
As I pick up the tiny chip and insert it into my Multipurpose Bracelet, I feel his gaze as my parents look on from the couch. My MB registers the chip, and asks if I would like to download the book The Top 200 Most Treacherous Creatures in the Universe.
“Yes,” I say, and it starts to download. I turn to Uncle Tonas and force out, “Sounds val.” Slang for “valuable resources,” they’re all anybody cares about these days now that humans have explored every planet in the universe.
But don’t get me wrong. The book really will be a val read, especially since I live on the most boring planet in the universe. But I’m confused. Uncle Tonas usually gets me the coolest presents. Last year for my eleventh birthday he got me a fluorescent slug from planet Zambor in the Orion Arm.