Sunday, July 16, 2006

Dr Franklin's Island - Ann Halam

Ann Halam's Dr Franklin's Island is a sci-fi story for young adults, narrated by Semi. It tells the story of three teenagers who are the sole survivors of a plane crash near a tiny tropical island. They are all science students, on their way to spend time in Ecuador, their prize for winning a science competition run by the Planet Savers TV show. But Semi, Miranda and Arnie are the only survivors when their plane is hijacked and then crashes into the sea. They manage to swim to shore, to crawl up onto the beach and then collapse in exhaustion. The following morning they start to get to know each other whilst trying to figure out what to do next, and how to survive until help arrives.

Unfortunately, they're being watched by a scientist who has his own plans for them. Dr Franklin is a geneticist and he's been working on a transgenics project; which involves the genetic modification of an organism to contain genetic material from another organism. But rather than experimenting on plants, he's been experimenting with animals, birds - and humans. Semi, Miranda and Arnie are going to be his first full-transgenics - he will insert enough genetic material from other creatures into their genetic material to turn Semi into a type of manta ray, Miranda into a bird, and Arnie into a snake. But, horrifyingly, they maintain enough of their humanity to know what's happened to them and then they must try to figuire out how to escape the mad scientist and his island fortress...

I won't say any more because it will spoil the story, but I recommend this book. It's an interesting take on genetic engineering (of which I know little, but Halam explains the scientific terms she uses quite clearly). It's also interesting to see how the teenagers cope - both with the plane crash and surviving on the island, and then with their experiences at the hands of Dr Franklin.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

i highly recoomend this book.
It is a very good book for middleschoolers. It is very desrciptive and is a thriller for people who dont really like science fiction.