Right from the start, this book is an environmental awareness spiel that you may or may not care about. It’s about us trashing the Earth although this story doesn’t take place on Earth. It takes place on Hallen, a colony planet settled far, far in our future. The humans of this planet did indeed exploit all the wealth of the planet for their own needs, some needs were excessive and unnecessary, I’m sure. So, having trashed the planet and almost making it unlivable, they decide to launch a colony ship of their own. This story is about that effort, but it moves along very fast!
Jerrell is our main character and he’s about 17 years old. He’s a very, very poor miner living with his only relative, his Grandmother. They have a very meager existence on Hallen where work is hard to come by and even the basic of living are a struggle. His life is not very promising since the planet Hallen is dying from pollution with the air already almost impossible to breath without a mask. Jerrell is so poor that he’s never worn shoes. What a wonderful world, right!
Then Jerrell gets a letter telling him he has been chosen for Selection! His selection was surprising in that his chances of getting selected just for this initial process were very low. The major criteria that he met was that he lived within hundred miles of the SpaceOut Dome. That’s it. Nothing he has done would have singled him out, it was just the luck of the draw and that he was in the right age group, not too young and not too old. So, he and the other 1,000 Selectees were to report to the SpaceOut Dome and begin the actual selection process.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, then just know that these 1,000 young people were the nucleus of a colonization effort that would soon depart Hallen for a new home world. Not all 1,000 were going so there were going to be a series of trials in the SpaceOut Dome which would weed through that large number to arrive at around 400 actual colonist. Jerrell didn’t know his chances, but he was very bright and had taken care to learn everything possible during his free time in the city library. The challenges he has to overcome have just started for him and a number of other young people that he’ll meet. He’ll soon find out that he’s going to have a lot more responsibilities than he had ever dreamed. He’s also going to find out that the selection process also didn’t weed out those who shouldn’t be in this colony effort. That was going to cause him trouble in his future.
I like the story and especially the challenges throw at the Selectees during the selection process. While the story moves rapidly through this part, it seems as though those in charge of finding the right mix of future colonist put a great deal of thought into the effort. The writing is also straight-forward and the author doesn’t come down hard on the why’s and reasons why the planet Hallen was trashed. He just writes that it is, but makes also makes sure that these new colonist don’t have to make the same mistakes as were done on Hallen. Except they do in the beginning because the selection process was flawed. I don’t think this is a series. I guess it could be, but the story pretty much states what the author set out to say and that’s about all there is to say!