Authors: Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Publisher: Bantam Press
223 pages • £17.99
A health warning: if you hate fantasy or SF novels that feature talking animals or cutesy kids, the entire Twins of Petaybee series (of which this is the third book) will bring you out in hives.
The two main characters are ten-year-old Selkies, ordinary-looking children unless they get wet, when they turn into seals. They can communicate telepathically with each other and many other sorts of animals, including an otter who likes nothing more than hanging around with the twins.
The twins’ home planet, Petaybee, is a cold place where the main culture is a mix of Inuit and Irish (it’s an intriguing world, and it would be great to see something more grown-up set in the same environment.) In the preceding book the twins helped bring humans whose culture is distinctly Hawaiian in tone from a planet where their lives were endangered to Petaybee. Unfortunately, this arouses the ire of the Company Corps, who immediately arrest the captain of the ship that did the transporting and cart all the transferred people off to a prison planet. Cue plucky kids to the rescue.
Children in their later middle-school or early high-school years will love Deluge – it’s got plenty of adventure for the twins (fights with giant squid, escape from a prison camp, capture by a mad scientist), with a bit of support from various adults, and a civilisation of aliens disguised as giant otters. Adults will probably find things too shallow, and all the cute animals can get horribly saccharine, but it’s hard to be too sour about Deluge – or the other Twins of Petaybee novels. It’s harmless fluff.