Summary: In the dazzling conclusion to the epic story of Atherton, Patrick Carman takes readers on the most rewarding journey of all, to the perilous realm of The Dark Planet: Earth.
When Edgar discovers a way to leave the mysterious satellite world of Atherton, he couldn't have imagined the gloom that awaited him on the dark planet, where the oceans are toxic, the forests are full of mutant monsters, and children toil in darkness, controlled by ruthless maniacs. Max Harding, an orphan of the Silo, the maker of Atherton, and the last hope of a dying world, left this place behind, and now Edgar is determined to complete the mad scientist's spectacular plan, revealing Atherton's true purpose.
Edgar's quest to discover Earth's dark secret leads to an out of this world adventure in the final book of the Atherton trilogy. -- Little, Brown Kids
On May 1st, the last book in Patrick Carman's Atherton trilogy for middle grade readers was released -- THE DARK PLANET. I have not read any of the books in this series (yet), but I have to say that Booking Daughter and I both think these books looks great! Patrick Carman is the best-selling author of some other terrific book series including Skeleton Creek, Elliot's Park Adventures and The Land of Elyon; and he has also won numerous awards for his books. Check out this very interesting Q&A with Mr. Carman:
First, let's talk a little about Atherton:
Which character in the book do you most relate to? Why? Which character do you WISH you were like?
Oddly enough, I relate to AND wish I were more like the same character, and that would be Edgar. Some of the things I love doing the most are also things I prefer to do alone. While Edgar likes to climb alone, I like to fly fish, write, and mountain bike alone. I enjoy doing the outdoor activities with friends and family too, but I like these things better when I can go off by myself. I’m not entirely sure why this is, but I do enjoy my own company (maybe too much!). I also feel as if Edgar and I are both risk takers, though I’m not as crazy as Edgar. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time skateboarding, snowboarding, paragliding – that sort of thing, so Edgar and I share a love of risky endeavors as well. I think if Edgar lived in our time he’d be endorsed by a lot of extreme sports companies!
Why did you choose to place this story in an alternate world instead of on Earth?
I wanted to explore (and get readers talking about) the idea of a future earth that’s been abused to the point of no return. What would happen if we really did go too far and Earth was pushed to a point of no return? In addition, I’d been playing with the idea of a made world for awhile and this seemed like the right combination of ideas. A broken world, a mad scientist who makes a new one, and then what?
Is The Dark Planet supposed to be Earth? If so, why do they call it The Dark Planet now?
You guessed it! It’s called the Dark Planet because of the way it looks. This is a future earth of very little green and blue, a lot of pollution, and thick brown skies. Earth in the future has become colorless and dead. From space it’s no longer white clouds and blue oceans – it’s a dark planet.
What’s up with Dr. Harding?
What a loaded question! All I’ll say for sure is that he’s a mad scientist and that he’s managed to mysteriously disappear. Oh, and we might see him again someday.
It seems that a lot of responsibility is placed on Edgar, Isabel and Samuel by the adults in the book – why did you choose to make them responsible for so much?
Interestingly, on Atherton, the young characters know about as much as the adults do for reasons you’ll only understand if you read the book. But more than that, the story is told through the experience of young people who must face the conflict of a changing world. They know how to operate in this world as well or better than the adults, so they have a big role in how things play out.
Can you give us a sneak preview of the next book? C'mon! Just a quick teaser?
If you’re looking for Dr. Harding, you might find him in the second book. Also, the world of Atherton isn’t through changing. It has a ways to go!
OK, enough about the book – let’s talk about you!
Did you have a favorite superhero growing up?
Many! I was a comic book nut when I was in grade school, and I especially liked the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and Batman.
What kind of books did you read back when you were a kid? And how about now?
The first books I loved that weren’t comic books were tales of adventure like Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, and Swiss Family Robinson – for some reason, I had a real thing about being stranded on a desert island or finding buried treasure. I also liked books about growing up by SE Hinton, which I read over and over again (The Outsiders, Tex, That Was Then – This Is Now, Rumble Fish).
Do you like pizza? If so, what’s your FAVORITE topping (OK, we’ll give you two!)?
I do enjoy a good slice of pizza, especially when it’s homemade. My favorite toppings are sun dried tomatoes and pepperoni, preferably both at the same time.
If you had to choose between ice cream and JELLO, which would you pick?
That’s like a trick question, right? I can’t imagine anyone liking JELLO better than ice cream unless the ice cream was melted and there was a lot of dirt floating around in it. On that same topic, I’d offer these favorite ice cream flavors: peanut butter chocolate, tin roof sundae, and just about any flavor of Ben and Jerry’s (by the way, why haven’t they come out with a flavor called Neapolitan Dynamite yet?)
What else do you like to do besides writing?
Playing with my kids, talking to my wife (she’s a very good listener),off road motorcycling, fly fishing, hiking, listening to music, watching a really good television series all the way through in about three days on DVD, and reading great books.
When you were in school, what were your favorite subjects? Did you know then that you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I liked recess the best. I was VERY good at recess. I guess I was pretty happy with writing, art, and social studies, but I didn’t care for math. I do remember liking books from early on, though it wasn’t until I hit college that I started thinking seriously about being a writer. After that, I couldn’t stop thinking about it!
How can I become a writer when I get older?
You’re already a writer! Everyone that can put two words together is a writer, it’s more a question of what sort of writer you want to be. If you love the craft of writing so much that you want to be published, then it’s pretty simple: spend a lot of time writing and reading. And when you write, write things you care about. Things will fall into place if you keep at it long enough.
I thought this was a great Q&A especially for kids who are interesting in reading Mr. Carman's books! If you'd like to learn more about Patrick Carman and the Atherton series, as well as other exciting extras such as excerpts, virtual tours, videos and free downloads, visit AthertonSeries.com and PatrickCarman.com. Readers can also play a game by visiting UnlockDrHardingsBrain.com.
And now for the really exciting part, I am happy to announce that I am going to giveaway not only a copy of THE DARK PLANET, but also the first two books in the series -- THE HOUSE OF POWER and RIVERS OF FIRE. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment with your e-mail address telling me something you found interesting from the Q&A. To double or triple your chances, you can blog and/or tweet about this contest with a link back to this post. This giveaway will be open until Friday, May 15th at 11:59 p.m.; and I will announce the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only -- no p.o. boxes please. Good luck!