The Doom Machine Booktalk
Introduce students to author Mark Teague's The Doom Machine, a tale about aliens, an eccentric inventor, and a boy who can fix any engine.
Aliens, flying saucers, holes in space, time travel, a dimensional field destabilizer, an eccentric inventor, a boy who can fix any engine, and a Skreepish Commander ready for revenge. Anything could happen!
It was 1956, just after dawn, one cold morning in the tiny town of Vern Hollow, when Jack Creedle saw a huge turquoise flying saucer land in the woods just outside of town. A week later, the town was almost deserted. Everyone was afraid of the aliens, especially since their leader had appeared on television. It looked like a huge, ugly, and very dangerous spider. But Jack and his mother and his Uncle Bud, who was an inventor, didn't leave. Which was a very good thing for Dr. Shumway and her daughter. Their car had been making strange noises, and died just as they got to the garage Uncle Bud owned and Jack ran. But Jack knew he could fix anything, and sure enough, after a few minutes, he figured out the problem. He could find the part he needed at the junkyard, but he couldn't get there till tomorrow. They could spend the night at the boarding house his mother ran.
Just about that time, Commander Xaafuun was trying to contact her Finder, Ensign Fooney, who was supposed to be looking for the Special Item they had been ordered to find and take back to The Exalted One, their Queen. Unfortunately, all Fooney had found was a bunch of buurds that apparently belonged to one of the ooman bings that populated this heavy and uncomfortable planet. Time was running out, her Finder was acting like an idiot, and they were 153 light-years away from home.
The Commander doesn't know it, but in only a few hours, Fooney will have found the Special Item, captured it and six ooman bings, and brought them on board. They could finally begin the trip home.
That's how Jack, his Uncle Bud, Dr. Shumway, her daughter Isadora, police chief Webb, and his son Grady, ended up on the flying saucer, in transgalactic space, and in the middle of a great many unpleasant things that they had never wanted to know about, but now had to figure out how to survive. The little town of Vern Hollow doesn't seem boring after all.