Jumping Off the Planet By David Gerrold
Book/Novel Author: David Gerrold
Book/Novel Title: Jumping Off the Planet
**A trip to the Moon? Sounds like the perfect family vacation. Only, for 13-year-old Charles “Chigger” Dingillian, life is anything but perfect.**
His parents fight so much, they put the “dis” into dysfunctional. His brothers, Stinky and Weird, are impossible to get along with. And his neighborhood is a down-trodden tunnel community on Earth.
Its supposed to be a short vacationa trip up the Line, Earths space elevator, and then home again. Halfway there, Chigger hits on a plan: if his parents can’t find a way to work things out, why not just divorce them? The idea sounds crazy . . . until it works.
But Chigger soon realizes he has much bigger problems: The people they meet on the Moon seem overly friendly and way too interested in his family. Suddenly, the quick pleasure trip takes a detour into danger as Chigger suspects they are targets of an interstellar manhunt. Their only hope may be to jump off the planet. **
### From Publishers Weekly
Nebula- and Hugo-winner Gerrold, who scripted the classic Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” gives an engaging new twist to the “growing up novel”–growing right off the planet Earth. Costarring with Gerrold’s precocious 13-year-old hero, Charles “Chigger” Dingillian, is the Beanstalk, a dizzying orbital elevator system running on magnetic induction that lifts humanity from the exhausted Earth it is devouring to the Moon, the planets and, eventually, the stars. In this first volume of the projected Starsiders Trilogy, Chigger, the always overlooked middle sibling and neither child nor adult, is the human battleground for his divorced parents: a wimpy musician father who kidnaps his boys to give them a chance at a better life off Earth and a newly lesbian mother who venomously chases them into space. Chigger bridges the gap separating his older brother, Weird, and his younger, Stinky, as they ride the Beanstalk between the festering Earth, teeming with crazies and plagues, and the burgeoning new off-world societies. With the boys caught up in the smuggling and big-business intrigue that simmers in a world where international corporatism has made all borders irrelevant, Gerrold pulls off Chigger’s choices with just the right mix of preteen braggadocio and heartbreak. The science here is every bit as convincing as the fiction, adding a satisfying intellectual dimension to the start of a classy take on an old, old tale: an everyboy climbs a beanstalk to discover who he will be as a man. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
### From Booklist
Twenty-first-century Earth is desperately overcrowded, and Charles Dingillian’s father offers his three sons a trip to the moon. Actually, he is kidnapping the boys from their mother–and couriering key data in an illegal financial transaction. He is also a wimp, Charles’ mother is bisexual, and Charles’ older brother is gay. Oh–and the younger one is an obnoxious brat. Clearly we’re not in Heinlein’s Kansas. But cut through all the characterization-by-dysfunctionality, and a genuinely powerful coming-of-age story remains, with characters as sympathetic as they are bizarre and a vividly depicted future society. The legal scenes are worthy of Heinlein, and Gerrold’s depiction of the giant space elevator, the Beanstalk, vividly fills in its technological details, its appearance, the life aboard it, the society of its permanent residents, and its potential for disaster. The first book of the Starsiders Trilogy suggests that Gerrold is obliquely approaching the territory of Heinlein’s juveniles. Like much of Gerrold’s work, this is sometimes over-the-top but always recognizably the creation of a major talent. *Roland Green*
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