Reviews of the first 50 pages of recent books by local authors.
FREEFALL. Joshua David Bellin’s third book of young-adult science fiction (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 361 pp.) takes place in 3151, as the fortunate few who fled an uninhabitable Earth wake up deep in space after a 1,000-year sleep. But teen-age protagonist Cam has landed on the wrong planet, with his fellow 1,017-year-old childhood friends but without the girl he loves, whom he first encountered in 2050, when he was a privileged Upperworld kid and she was a Lowerworld revolutionary. Early chapters alternate between present action and 22nd-century backstory, with Bellin loading Cam’s first-person narration with hints that the story he’s been told about his corporate-run society (and the impoverished people who live outside it) are false: Was it really the brown-skinned Lowerworlders (including the one he first fell in love with after glimpsing her illicitly on the 22nd-century internet) who ruined the planet? Bellin (Survival Colony 9) writes in a brisk style with a fair amount of emotional insight, and his detailed and thoughtful world-building is a viable backdrop for an improbable Romeo-and-Juliet narrative.