Hautman, Pete. The Flinkwater Factor. Simon & Schuster 2015 256p $16.99 ISBN 978-1-4814-3251-1 ms Science fiction VG-BN
It must be fun to produce a book with as much humor, techie geek “stuff” and convoluted intrigue as Hautman did in this book. Flinkwater is a town much like Silicon Valley, with its famous ACPOD, a delightfully creative company that produces a wide assortment of the newest computer technology, robots, and other inventions of the contemporary technological world. Ginger is the protagonist who faces obstacles that are uniquely creative and humorous, along with her wannabe boyfriend, Billy George, beginning with the bonking of their town. With bonking, people who fix their gaze on their screen saver become drooling idiots. The list of supporting characters includes Billy’s brother, the psychopath who is always in trouble, animal lover Myke, a very moley Professor Little, parents, inventors, and business owners, all of whom develop relationships and connections that become apparent in the resolution. As the plot develops, the tech industry is at the center of all conflicts, and the teens must figure out how to help their town rid itself of an unscrupulous competitor to ACPOD that tries to control the robot market, and, unbelievably, the government itself! Ginger’s humorous narration is the key to this book’s success, as is the introduction of new ideas in technology that will thrill any readers with even a remote interest in science. In a wonderful post-script at the end, Hautman adds a section entitled “Science or Fantasy,” in which he clarifies all of the book’s concepts, both old and new.
This book is a very good choice for middle-school readers. With much of its content relating to the computer industry, less sophisticated readers will not be able to follow the technology. Nevertheless, it will be enjoyed by those who embrace humor, intrigue and fun in a book!
Summary: When Ginger discovers that many town citizens have been “bonked”, she quickly enlists the help of her friend Billy George. Together they face the digital dog Sasquatch, Homeland Security officers, and other formidable characters with humor and intrigue.
Technology-Fiction --Martha Squaresky