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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon Oh, hey, I've been reading about this thing called "plot." Better put some of it in here!

Jack McDevitt, a science fiction author whose works I admire, has a way of evoking worlds that seem futuristic yet still completely human. His imagined societies have music, and art, and politics that make sense and are integrated into his novels carefully. An example that has stayed with me is a painting of an interstellar warship mentioned in the novel A Talent for War, which at the same time contains an important bit of plot information (finding the ship is a goal of the book's protagonists) and points out gently that painting will survive as an artform, even after we've all got digital cameras built into our keychains.

I mention this because the high school debate team is one of those things that will survive into the age of artificial intelligences and commercial manned spaceflight. So will high schools. If you don't believe me, wait and see. If we get to 2148 and there are no high schools any more, I'll pay you five bucks.

(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs OK, so we've finally had the obligatory drawing for manga-style comics of the female lead looking sad and clutching an adorable rabbit-eared mascot tightly to her chest. I guess we can all go home now.

Anyway, I'm not sure what this has to do with high school but allow me to second the recommendation of Jack McDevitt. His novels usually center around a theme of exo-archaeology -- painstakingly digging up and figuring out the secrets behind long-gone alien civilizations (or, occasionally, our own.) Unquestionably his best book is A Talent for War, but Eternity Road and The Engines of God are definitely right up there, as is his short story collection Standard Candles. I also liked Moonfall a lot, but I gather I'm in a distinct minority there.

Furthermore, Go Cubs.