I have always liked science fiction, but lately I have not been able to get that type of book to review. Science fiction has often given rise to actual scientific inventions. Someone reads a book or watches a movie and begins to think, “Why couldn’t that really happen?” The biometric machines that are common-place in our hospitals had their inception in Star Trek. A machine that could travel to the moon and another that could go deep under the sea was born in the mind of Jules Verne. These are only a few examples of how science fiction has influenced reality.
The concepts that Helvig proposes in Burn Out are somewhat terrifying, yet intriguing. Could it be possible to develop suits that would be totally heat resistant and self-repairing? Is it possible to travel deep into space through a type of worm-hole? This particular story was a pleasure for me to read, not only because it is well-written and thought-provoking, but also because it promises more to come.
It is 300 years in the future, and seventeen year old Tora lives all alone in an underground shelter. The earth is quickly dying because the sun has become a red giant and is burning up everything as it dies. Her mother and sister were killed when they ventured outside and were burned alive by the sun. Her father, an engineer for the government, was killed by that government, so Tora can trust no one. She knows that her only hope is to escape from Earth to someplace else in the Universe, but she has no idea where to go and no spaceship – only the deadly weapons that her father had created that only she can fire because he set them to her biometrics. She doesn’t know if anyone else is even alive on Earth, but she sends out a broadcast every day, just in case. A family friend, Marcus, appears one day; and her world actually becomes worse.
Any high school Sci-Fi reader will love this book. It is also a type of political commentary because the government that is supposed to be trying to save the world is actually out to save themselves. I recommend it for high school readers and up because it is rather violent and there are sexual references.