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Apollo's Outcasts Hardcover – November 6, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews
Book 10 of 10 in the Near-Space Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Steele adeptly mixes political intrigue, combat, and character development as he ushers Jamey through an action-packed trial by fire. Like the best Heinlein juveniles, the science is realistic and the concepts drawn from modern speculation, and there's even some chaste romance. This is solid, space-faring fun."
-Publishers Weekly

"[S]pectacular settings.... nothing beats learning what it's like to walk around the Moon and how the Earth appears from there.... [T]his is for anyone who's gazed longingly upward."
-Kirkus Reviews

"Steele combines the science fiction of Robert Heinlein with modern technical knowledge and political thriller sensibilities to create a novel that should have wide appeal."
-School Library Journal

"[C]an easily rank with Heinlein's best juveniles. Indeed, it reads like one of them… if it had been updated for modern science and modern sensibilities (unlike Heinlein's young heroes, Steele's recognize the existence of females, and their potential interest)…. [A]n excellent introduction to science fiction novels for the young adult reader, and also an excellent introduction to Steele's own, extended (more adult) tales of the near-future… Highly recommended."
-SFScope.com

"The idea of teenagers on the moon seemed too good to be true as I've read other books about similar topics and they always disappointed, but not Apollo's Outcasts. I'd recommend it for anyone who loves space travel, political stories, or has a love for science fiction in general."
-Night Owl Reviews

"[A] book for young adults about living on the Moon that gets the science right and that includes an engrossing, well-crafted story....The Apollo lunar base is totally believable....The way it is handled in this book ties up all the loose ends of the story yet leaves open the possibility for more adventures set in this future world. I sure hope there are more because I can't wait to get back to Apollo!"
-National Space Society

"[A] charming Young Adult novel that should go down well with readers on the younger end of the YA scale as well as older science fiction fans in the mood for a nostalgic trip back to their own Golden Age of SF."
-Tor.com

"Steele writes nice sci-fi action and intrigue.... The book is really great if you're just in the mood for some not-super-hard sci-fi, something there's just not enough of in YA these days."
-Forever Young Adult

About the Author

Allen M. Steele was a journalist before turning to his first love, science fiction. Since then he has published seventeen previous novels and nearly a hundred short stories. His work has received numerous awards, including three Hugos, and has been translated worldwide. A lifelong space enthusiast, he has testified before Congress in hearings regarding space exploration, flown the NASA space shuttle simulator, and serves as an advisor for the Space Frontier Foundation. Steele lives in Massachusetts with his wife and dogs. Visit him online at www.allensteele.com and www.facebook.com/Allensteelesfwriter.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616146869
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616146863
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,235,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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By Stefan VINE VOICE on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Jamey Barlowe was born on the Moon, but moved back to Earth as an infant following his mother's tragic death. Because his fragile bones can't handle Earth's gravity, Jamey needs a wheelchair to get around, but he has learned to live with his disability and lead a normal teenage life. Then, on his sixteenth birthday, Jamey's father wakes him up in the middle of the night and sends him back to the Moon to escape a military coup in the United States.

Jamey arrives in the lunar mining colony Apollo with five other refugees, including his kid sister and a young woman who seems to be more than she appears. At first it's a challenge to start a new life in an unfamiliar environment, but thanks to the lower lunar gravity, Jamey can now walk independently for the first time in his life, so despite everything he flourishes and finds himself taking on new challenges. Meanwhile, tensions on Earth continue to rise, and the lunar colony soon becomes the world's focus as the new U.S. President sets her sights on the Moon's crucial He3 reserves...

Apollo's Outcasts by Allen Steele is a charming Young Adult novel that should go down well with readers on the younger end of the YA scale as well as older science fiction fans in the mood for a nostalgic trip back to their own Golden Age of SF. Anyone who doesn't fall in one of those two categories may end up disappointed because the novel's plot and characterization are so straightforward and basic that it borders on the pedestrian, but for the right reader this book will be a blast.

Jamey is a great YA protagonist: a disabled teenager, woken up in the middle of the night and immediately cast in an unfamiliar situation.
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... because Apollo's Outcasts begins with a desperate flight to the safety of a Moon Colony and the action doesn't end until the hero saves his family, the Moon and Earth. Of course he manages to get the girl and do it with realistic and Golden Age SF appropriate adolescent clumsiness. And yes I was concerned when I began reading the make-out scene but yes you will see more explicit scenes on broadcast TV and Steele's prose is more age appropriate than some of Heinlein's juvies.

I'm going to be donating my copy to the local library. If you don't have an adolescent who needs to be lured away from vid-games why not buy a copy for yourself and then donate it to YOUR public library.
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I never miss a new book from Allen Steele. His Coyote books are hands down the best sf series of the new millennium. Granted, we've got well over 900 years for someone to top it, so that may happen--who knows? So, naturally, I was curious about this two-time Hugo award winner's effort into young adult territory.
No surprise--the novel is terrific, as usual. APOLLO'S OUTCASTS has been compared to Heinlein's young adult books. This is pretty high praise, but it is well deserved. Reading OUTCASTS, a tale of teenagers who barely escape capture to become political exiles on the moon, brought back my own youth (a long time ago) when I first became addicted to science fiction by reading SPACE CADET, PODKAYNE OF MARS and others before graduating to STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. My 11-year-old niece will find APOLLO'S OUTCASTS in her Christmas stocking this year, and when my grandchildren are old enough, they will be reading it, too. I am counting on Allen Steele to make them science fiction addicts like me.
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This is not a science fiction masterpiece. But it's a fun read and a page turner. It accomplishes what it sets out to do, and I think it would be a fine introduction to science fiction for a tween or teen. That's why I gave it five stars.

This is clearly intended to be in the spirit of Heinlein's juveniles, and it succeeds at that. The main character, Jamey, is sympathetic and interesting. Most other characters are at least two-dimensional. Remember, we're seeing them from a teenager's eyes, who doesn't have the life experience to see much nuance in others.

The exceptions to this are the villains. They're one-dimensionally evil. But that provides the fuel that drives the plot. As with all science fiction, you need to suspend a bit of disbelief.

And yes, the politics clearly parody some of today's players, even though the book is set well after all of them will have passed away. The name of the evil VP who becomes president is an anagram of Sarah Palin.
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3 1/2 stars, well written in the usual Allen Steele form, but definitely a YA book. A little simpler delivery than Steele's adult reads. Engaging premise of a child born on the moon, living until he is 16 on Earth as a paraplegic due to brittle bones, and regaining self-worth and mobility when returning to the moon. Portrayal of US President a little over the top, but sensible considering YA audience's view of adults and authority.
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Allen Steele has turned out a marvelous YA SF novel called Apollo's Outcasts that reads like a modern-day Robert A. Heinlein. That's kind of an oxymoron because Heinlein wrote about space and the future (even some that's set in the halcyon days of the 1990s!).

When I was a kid, I read every Heinlein juvenile SF novel I could get my hands on at the library. A librarian took me over to a shelf filled with Heinlein and Andre Norton, and I lived quite happily on those books for all that summer, and summers afterward. My first Heinlein novel was The Rolling Stones.

But I digress. Steele emulates Heinlein's plot devices in this novel: 1) young hero - check, 2) thrown into action almost immediately in an adventure that takes him out of this world - check, and 3) there's a boatload of political overtures that's definitely slanted. If you want to see that last quickly, examine the villain's name. Lina Shapar is an anagram of Sarah Palin. I don't think Palin would ever turn out to be the villain Shapar is in the book, but the point is clear.

Jamey Barlowe is an immensely likeable character. Because he was born on the Moon, his bones are too weak to support him on Earth. He's a cripple, only at home in the water. Instead of being depressed and lost, Jamey is a vibrant individual. Only a smidgen of his life on Earth is revealed in these pages, but it doesn't take much to figure out the parts that aren't there and what it's been like for him.

When the President dies and the Vice President assumes office while accusing others of murder, Jamey gets shipped to the Moon with other kids. The journey to the Moon, like the rest of the book, has a lot of scientific reality in it.
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