Special Janet Edwards’ Earth Girl Three Part Review: Earth 2788 (July 4, 2015 by the author), Earth and Fire (July 31, 2015 by the author), and Earth Flight (US release by Pyr, September 8, 2015)
In order to prepare new US readers for the release of the third part of the trilogy and to give UK readers some new material, Janet Edwards has been posting short stories about the characters we see in Earth Girl, the first volume of the series. These were originally on her website, but this made them difficult to read offline as the formatting was not intended for e-readers. The novel sticks to the viewpoint of Jarra, so we only get information about other characters when they share it with her. Now the short stories are available on Amazon as a volume called Earth 2788. They all tell a small piece of the background stories of the characters in Earth Girl. Only one story features Jarra; the rest are about her classmates, relatives, and bosses. The stories really add to the complexity of the Earth Girl universe and give some viewpoints and insights which could never be seen through Jarra’s eyes. They are all excellent stories with a great deal of emotional content. If you like science fiction with “feels” then this is an excellent volume for you. This volume is also a good way to get into the Earth Girl universe, and particularly since the price point is low ($.99) you can gift it to someone else you think would like it (appropriate for anyone over 12).
In Earth Girl it is clear that Jarra starts her college field experience with many skills which other students lack, including the operation of the machines used for the dig and having a license to fly a plane. Since Jarra is eighteen years old at the beginning of the novel, it is clear that the pilot’s license must have been a recent acquisition from the summer before college. How she gets it is described in the novella Earth and Fire. The first two chapters in the novella are the short story from the Earth 2788 volume but it has 15 new chapters. Jarra learns to fly a plane and helps fight a forest fire that threatens the ruins of Athens. It is an exciting and dangerous adventure set mostly in the skies above New York and Athens.
Earth Flight is the long-awaited third volume in the Earth Girl trilogy. This volume tells what happened after they sent the signal to the alien probe in Earth Star. In order to complete the task required of her, Jarra must undertake a medical procedure which could end her life, make her lose her memories, or change her physically in dramatic ways. While all this is occurring she is also trying to join the Tell clan and continue her relationship with Fian. Fian is the most understanding significant other in the universe, as he has to put up with Jarra’s lack of communication about “feels” and also make decisions about Jarra’s health when she is not able to do so. He stands by her through her hard times and gets rewarded in the end, but as he wants, his main reward is Jarra.
This volume shows much more about the politics between the clans and different planets. You also see more detailed views of the Tell clan and their history. The clothing design descriptions and scenery make these sections of the book very visual. It would be great to see art of some of the things described here. Primarily, it is a story about a young adult trying to find her place in a family she doesn’t know and form long-term bonds with her partner, all while undergoing medical treatment and serving with the Alien Contact Programme in order to save the universe from an impending disaster caused by an alien infestation.
So, female young adult main character who obviously takes after her grandmother who was a famous commander, no love triangle (instead we get a normal relationship with young adults trying to find their way together as a couple), no dystopic future, disaster is approaching but it is more a natural one which everyone is hopeful they can avoid, and politics rather than conspiracies. All these things make this our favorite science fiction series in many years, probably since we were obsessed with Miss Pickerell and Danny Dunn as primary school students in the 1970s. If you like science fiction buy these books! They are appropriate for anyone over twelve, and so make excellent family reading material. The insight of the young adult characters into their parent issues or lack of parents would make some interesting family discussion topics for teens.