Review by Stuart Douglas
‘The Infinity Trap’ is the first in a series of young adult science fiction novels from Nottingham-based author, Ian C Douglas, in which Zeke Hailey, an apparent non-psychic, cheats his way onto Chasm, an off-world school for the training of psychic space pilots, in hopes of finding his missing father.
It’s easy to guess what everyone’s now thinking. Teenage boy, absent parent, school for the gifted, befriended by a couple of fellow misfits, has all sorts of adventures as he discovers himself and the power he has within. It’s true that the influence of the Harry Potter books casts a shadow over a large percentage of young adult science fantasy books, but it would be doing this particular book a gross disservice to suggest that JK Rowling’s bespectacled hero was in any real way reminiscent of Zeke.
In fact, ‘The Infinity Trap’ reminded me most of another giant of science fiction for children, Andre Norton. There’s a ‘classic’ – in a positive sense – feel about the book, a belief that this is the sort of solid, imaginative, ‘real’ science fiction that I would have read in a sitting as a child. Douglas has a pleasingly relaxed writing style, which should prove appealing to teenage readers, and eye for a plausible future society, and at no point writes down to his readers.
He also, crucially, has a sense of humour. The children in this book aren’t the po-faced dullards of so much young adult science fiction, but instead have fun in amongst the more fraught moments, with believable romance, genuinely affecting friendships and moments of perfectly written tension. In short, nothing at all like Harry Potter!