Chapters 1 and 2

Chapters 3 and 4

Chapters 5 and 6

Chapters 7 and 8

Chapters 9, 10 and 11

End of Unit Test



Monica Hughes Wikipedia

CM Archive: Other books by Monica Hughes

Governor-General's Award for Children's Literature - 1981

Monica Hughes died on March 7, 2003
at age 77.

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Once upon a time the pursuit of science was quite uncomplicated. There was experimentation, usually by one man, hopefully leading to a new fact, theory or understanding. Science seemed to be a box filled with presents waiting to be discovered and unwrapped, and most people felt very optimistic about the future.

Then came the twentieth century and a new awareness. Science was becoming the abstract science of space-and-number, and mathematics became the key to everything. So overwhelming has to concept of science become today, that science is now no longer the business of individuals but of teams, sponsored by big companies, universities, and /or governments.

Science has made its impact on literature, and a specific branch of literature, called science fiction, or "sf" for short, has become a popular new method for us to anticipate what is happening in science and what the results of scientific experiments will be.

Like the scientist, good sf writers seek new knowledge, real or fancied, and try to apply it to human lives through the characters they create in their fiction. Good sf is not about machines alone. The "gadget" sf which was once so popular, now seems naive, because the stories rarely involved "real" human beings or believable human activities.

The stories you will read for this Unit deal with "real" people, who try to solve major problems in their lives, problems caused by new discoveries and new technologies.

The science fiction writer presents you with a "What if?", and then asks you to imagine the future.

What If?

  1. What would happen if the population of the world continued to grow at its present rapid rate?
  2. What would happen if we discovered intelligent beings on another planet?
  3. What would happen if intelligent beings visited our planet?
  4. What would happen if machines learned to think for themselves?


Compose some "what if" questions of your own, and then write answers to them. For example: What if..... schools had no teachers?


Sf writers have fantastic imagination. How good is yours? Try your hand at changing some common conditions existing on Earth today.

For instance:
What if all people grew 150 years old?

What if females were always taller than males?

What if all fossil fuels were exhausted (gasoline, coals, natural gas, etc.)?

Write a short story, involving "real" people, living under drastically changed circumstances.

Composition Workshop

Do you ever get stuck describing things? Would you have difficulties describing potato chips? What words would you use?

they rustle together in their thin cellophane bag

they crumble in your fingers

they crunch between your teeth

These kind of words are called sensory words. They add life and sparkle to what you say. They make your writing more vivid and exciting.

Here are some other sensory words:









tuckered out















Try to use these words in a story describing your experiences on a planet that had double the gravity of Earth. In other words you suddenly weigh twice as much, everything is twice as heavy, and going up one step is like going up two steps, etc. Of course, you are not yet used to the extra gravity. Describe your reactions as you go about what you consider to be normal routines, like walking, climbing stairs, eating, etc. Use your imagination!

The Guardian of Isis

Although The Guardian of Isis  is called a "sequel" to The Keeper of the Isis Light, the story told in The Guardian of Isis  can be understood very well independently of what has gone on before. Actually, not knowing what has taken place in The Keeper of the Isis Light, makes The Guardian of Isis  more mysterious and interesting.

Composition Workshop: "Settlement"

You have left the planet Earth at a time in the future, because your advanced technology has almost used up all the resources of the planet. Many countries already have nothing left, their mines, their wells, their soil exhausted. There are great food shortages and this has caused widespread social and economic problems.

After a long search in your spaceship, your group has finally found a suitable planet.

As you do not want to repeat the mistakes made by the population of Earth, you are going to be very careful with your environment.

- What type of a society would you want to establish?

- What alternatives to an Earth society do you have?

- How would you organize the food supply?

- What level of technology would you use?

- How would you organize the people?

- What type of government would you want?

You're facing a blank piece of paper and a difficult assignment. How are you going to complete it?

What is meant with society, food supply, level of technology, organisation of people, type of government?  These are all very abstract ideas. Therefore go slowly. Go step by step!

  1. You have left Earth because..... Write down the reasons why you left.
  2. What do you have to do to avoid making the same mistakes as the people Earth have made?

List them under the following headings:

a. food supply (crops, soil, water, methods of labour, level of technology, etc.)

b. organisation of work (number of people, management, education)

c. level of technology (advanced, primitive, tools, factories, mines)

d. form of government (leadership, voting, decision making, justice)

e. methods of communication (advanced, primitive)

f. religious beliefs (one, many, none)

You must be consistent. For instance, if you want a high level of technology, you must have the people with the right training. You must have the industry to support it, and you must have the mineral resources also. You must have a sophisticated communications network. But remember, industry, mining, transportation, etc. pollute!

Now brainstorm and use the above outline as a guide.

a. give point-form answers,

b. add details

c. express opinions

d. check if your society makes sense. Is one part consistent with another?

e. exchange with your partner and discuss if the societies you have developed

    will actually work

f. put your ideas in a paragraph format

g. organize your paragraphs in a logical order

h. write your first draft

i. exchange your compositions. Peer edit carefully

j. rewrite in final copy format

 Introduction - Chapters 1 and 2 - Chapters 3 and 4 - Chapters 5 and 6 - Chapters 7 and 8 - Chapters 9, 10 and 11 - Test: Question Booklet