Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock series, published by Fremantle Press and distributed by Penguin Australia. He recently put his teen/adult series on hold to write science fiction for younger readers. Hal Junior: The Secret Signal is available in print and ebook. Details can be found at http://www.spacejock.com.au/HalJunior.html.
Over the past few years I’ve attended dozens of schools, libaries and literary events, where I’ve enthused about science fiction to thousands of middle-grade readers. You might be wondering why I speak to this age group when I write for adults and teens, but that’s easily explained: I fell into it by accident. The teachers at my childrens’ school asked me to rev up a year six class, and it snowballed from there.
Thing is, I love talking to middle-graders about science fiction. Start a conversation about teleporters or space travel or robots and their eyes light up, boys and girls alike. They’re fascinated by the possibilities. Robots who take their owners for walkies after school, the security implications of teleporters in the home (what if someone sent a hand-grenade through? What happens to your health if you don’t even have to walk to the bus stop?), teleporters which subtract your excess body fat when you go through … it’s fantastic to throw out crazy ideas and get them thinking about the implications.