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No one can write science fiction like Jack Butler can. The combining of science fiction with Santa Claus makes for an interesting twist.

J

ack Butler is a great poet and novelist, and this book is perfect for kids from 6 to 96. Grab it!

I

usually avoid Christmas stories because they’re too much alike, too formulaic. I always avoid futuristic stories because they tend to lack character depth, the one thing I must have in fiction for it to have value. Plus I gotta have excellent writing. But a good friend suggested this story as a break from the usual holiday sentimentality. Am I glad he did! This story is astonishing unique. The little boy stole my heart. I found myself rooting for him ……and the family seemed so very real….,like good people who cared about the minds and feelings of their kids. The writing is so good that I smoothly went from one scene to another. The author doesn’t miss a beat! And yeah, it’s Christmas so there’s gotta be a warm fuzzy happy ending. Much thanks to an original author.

J

ack Butler did what he always does–write a darn engagingly tale of a boy, Rammy, who simply wants to make sure Santa will be safe if the jolly old man comes a’callin’ to Rammy’s home out on the distant planet Outpost. Delightfully swoony, lovingly told, and deftly touched with comedy and genuine compassion, this book is a super read. Kids will want to read it and, speaking of, it’s suitable for pre-teens and young teens alike. Younger kids will love the wordplay when you read it to them. In fact, I highly recommend reading it aloud to embrace the lyrical language and its accompanying emotional heft. Christmas on a Distant Planet could very well become a “new” classic for your family.

V

ery interesting, unique and fun take about the spirit of Christmas on another planet in another time. My teenage son loves science fiction and got quite a kick out of this charming tale, as did I. Excellent writing and story telling.

I

t’s been almost 30 years since a new book by Jack Butler has been published. His novel Nightshade, a vampire-on-Mars tale of all things, was chosen as one of the New York Times best books of the year in 1989. His novel Living in Little Rock with Miss Little Rock was a New York Times bestseller and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1993. And then nothing until now with the release of Christmas on a Distant Planet, a young adult sci-fi Christmas story.

This amazing story begins with “Rammy and Cassiopeia and their parents were colonists.  . . .  Rammy’s mother was a linguist, cultural anthropologist, and medical doctor.  Her name was Dynaflo Remington.  Rammy’s father was a linguist and physicist.  His name was Jean de Remy.  You said it ‘Zhone d’Ray-Me.’  He was French.  Berber French, whatever that meant.”

Butler loves playing with word associations and puns. There are all kinds of word play in those few opening sentences and throughout the book. Eleven-year-old Rammy also loved words. He even wrote poems such as:

Interface and Outer Space,
who is which and when is place?
If then is now
how come the race
to lose yourself
in Outerface and Inner Space?

It’s almost Christmas and Rammy is afraid Santa won’t be able to make it to Outpost because Outpost is more than two hundred years away from earth. Earth years that is. But there’s a gate that allows for instant transportation. If he can even get to it. So he embarks on a dangerous-to-the-point-of-life-threatening adventure traveling alone through a treacherous snow-covered land inhabited by smiling white liondogs, bunny-hahas, crazydeer, snatchits and Harrakoom, the latter of which look like centaurs with rainbow-colored antlers growing out of their shoulder blades.

His mission: to open the gate for Santa.

Christmas on a Distant Planet is an edge-of-your-seat adventure story for young adults, but really for anyone of any age. It is funny, touching, and brilliantly written. It will leave you wanting to tell all your friends about it.

The illustrations by Gabi Clayton are as inventive, playful and as beautifully executed as the story itself.

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