Thursday, August 26, 2010

Children No More by Mark L. Van Name

Science Fiction

I like to go to Science Fiction Con’s to meet and listen to the authors I read. Mark L Van Name is the author of the Jon and Lobo series published by Baen and he was at Reconstruction Con. I like his series and found his writing style fascinating. He holds a full time job, writes late at night, and his goal is to write one book a year. Unlike many authors who have beta readers no one sees his work until he is finished and ready to turn in the manuscript.

Children No More is the fourth book in the Jon and Lobo series. Jon is asked to help rescue a group of children who have been trained as soldiers. I found the book to be very different from the previous books. There is less direct action and more reaction to the situation Jon finds himself in. The rescue is only the first step in the process of returning the children to a normal life. . Jon identifies with the children and instead of leaving after the children are rescued he stays. This is a more introspective book and adds a deeper dimension to the character of Jon.

The theme is one close the author’s heart. For 3 years starting at age 10 Mark became part of a “youth group that trained boys in how to be soldiers”. In the Afterword Mark states that on his first day he “stood at attention in the hot Florida sun while this grown man screamed at me and when I cried punched me in the stomach so hard that I fell to the ground and threw up. He put his boot on my head and ground the side of my face into my vomit. That was not the worse day I had in those three years. It wasn’t even close.” Those three years changed Mark in many ways and lead to the theme of Children No More. Throughout the world there are children forced to become soldiers and those children need help returning society. All of the proceeds from the hardcover sale of Children No More will go to a group that helps reintegrate child soldiers back into society.

Baen published Children No More by Mark L. Van Name in 2010.

I went to the Baen Slide Show at Reconstruction Con and received a free copy of the ARC for Children No More.

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