Learning Space

Learning Space

Learning Space
Middle Grade Scifi


Rory Keener is eleven and one of the biggest nerds in the world. When his diplomat mother pulls him out of yet another boarding school, he’s sure the only place left is some sort of prep school in Antarctica. Instead, she tells him he’s been identified as gifted enough to be part of a special program. In space. 

Now his classroom will be a space station and his classmates kids from across the galaxy. And his curriculum? Learning how to lead the universe in intergalactic relations. 

When space pirates take over the station, Rory and five others, one of whom is his arch nemesis, are stuck in detention. Rory’s not sure which is worse – being stuck with his worst enemy during the siege, or finding out that his absentee father is leading the space pirates. He must convince the others he’s not part of the scheme, and lead them in saving the fledgling intergalactic alliance before it leads to war. Assuming they don’t kill each other first. Maybe they’ll even get the detentions expunged from their records.

First 250 Words:

It was late afternoon, and my butt was going numb as I sat in the back of a large, unmarked white van with two other middle schoolers. We were crawling through traffic along the interstate in Hampton, Virginia, and baking in the late afternoon sun streaming through the tinted van windows. Ethan Hanover was snoring, drool trailing down one cheek, and Annie Kimura had moved on to a game on a tablet, her fingernails clicking against the screen. We’d all been picked up at different places and still hadn’t done more than told one another our names.

Small talk isn’t something kids our age do well. When you’re a nerd, it’s even harder. I mean, we were the delegates from our countries, chosen for our smarts for an exclusive boarding school program. These were my people, and I still couldn’t think of a single thing to say. Not that it would have mattered. Annie made it clear she wasn’t interested in talking, and Ethan had fallen asleep about five minutes after he closed his eyes.

Wish I could do that.

Jack, our driver, muttered something under his breath and then eased the van forward again. We were close to the bridge, and traffic was backed up. I sighed. “You could tell us where to go, and we could probably walk there faster.”

Annie surprised me by adding a quiet, “Or run.”

I looked at her, and she lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “I like running.”

We only knew this school was somewhere remote, and Jack wouldn’t tell us more than that.