The Highest Frontier by Joan Slonczewski

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One of the most respected writers of hard SF, it has been more than ten years since Joan Slonczewski's last novel. Now she returns with a spectacular tour de force of the college of the future, in orbit. Jennifer Ramos Kennedy, a girl from a rich and politically influential family (a distant relation descended from the famous Kennedy clan), whose twin brother has died in an accident and left her bereft, is about to enter her freshman year at Frontera College.

Frontera is an exciting school built with media money, and a bit from tribal casinos too, dedicated to educating the best and brightest of this future world. We accompany Jenny as she proceeds through her early days at school, encountering surprises and wonders and some unpleasant problems. The Earth is altered by global warming, and an invasive alien species called ultraphytes threatens the surviving ecosystem. Jenny is being raised for great things, but while she's in school she just wants to do her homework, go on a few dates, and get by. The world that Jenny is living in is one of the most fascinating and creative in contemporary SF, and the problems Jenny faces will involve every reader, young and old.

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About Joan Slonczewski

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Slonczewski is professor of biology.
Published September 13, 2011 by Tor Books. 448 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Highest Frontier

Kirkus Reviews

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However, Earth politics still demand her attention, as she’s linked to several key figures in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, a hotly contested race between the liberal, science-embracing Unity party (read: Democrats) and the Centrists (a conservative, Tea Party–like faction which insist...

Aug 15 2011 | Read Full Review of The Highest Frontier

The Columbus Dispatch

Do shoppers who are increasing their purchases of ammunition have reasonable concerns over future regulation of gun and ammunition sales?

Oct 30 2011 | Read Full Review of The Highest Frontier

Fantasy Literature

It’s been about a decade since Brain Plague, Joan Slonczewski’s last novel, came out, but I’d bet good money that more people instead remember the author for a novel that’s by now, unbelievably, already 25 years old — the wonderful and memorable A Door into Ocean, which won the John W.

Oct 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Highest Frontier

Strange Horizons

It's this unique feeling of dislocation and transition that Joan Slonczewski captures in her novel The Highest Frontier, by placing her young protagonist Jenny Ramos Kennedy (youngest heir to the political dynasty) in a liberal arts college that is actually in space, in its own self-contained lit...

Jan 06 2012 | Read Full Review of The Highest Frontier

The Agony Column

The real power of a great science fiction novel is that readers can experience art that need not be prophetic.

Sep 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Highest Frontier

Shiny Book Review

Jenny is a trained first-responder — meaning she has advanced first aid skills, which are aided by advanced technology — and as ultraphyte has been called, more or less, one of the top “enemies of the state,” she’s used to decisively dealing with ultraphyte in a way that leaves behind as little a...

Jan 12 2012 | Read Full Review of The Highest Frontier

Whatever the reason, that's also the time when climate change will be impacting us, so if science fiction writers shy away from that time zone, an unintended result is there is no easy way to write about climate change.

Feb 27 2012 | Read Full Review of The Highest Frontier

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