Book Review Spotlight - Ben Brown's Flying Machine by Michael Thorp
Ben Brown's Flying Machine by Michael Thorp is an exciting, well-detailed novella about space exploration for children of ages and adults as well.
The story begins right in the middle of the action. The crew of the first manned spaceship to Mars has vanished, but the CEV module that they were in crashes into a pasture on Ben Brown's farm. The CEV is not without a passenger, however, it contains an old man who is dying. Upon the old man's last breath, ancient words are spoken to Ben Brown that change his life forever.
After the crash, Ben is ridiculed by classmates after being accused of lying about the old man on the spaceship as there was no indication that a being was on the craft. Ben has to endure the backlash. But, when he takes his SAT exam shortly thereafter, he gets a perfect score on the test. This changes the direction of his life as he is taken under the wing of Dr. Bradshaw and given a full scholarship to college.
As the story proceeds, Ben finds that he now has knowledge of things he did not know before his encounter with the spaceship and the old man. Ben can now understand cuneiform and complex scientific theories. With this new found knowledge, Ben is compelled to build a "flying machine" and enters the device into a science fair. His contraption brings him fame and fortune, but Ben soon discovers that the machine is part of a bigger plan for him to fly to another planet - the planet where the old man in the CEV came from - and to find out what really happened to the crew of the CEV.
For a short read, this was entertaining, exciting and definitely worth the price of admission. I can ultimately see it as a movie and would love to see it on the big screen.
Well done, Mr. Thorp.