Another world and they still can't spell my name right.
September 17, 2009 9:37 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to remember the title and author of a young adult sci-fi novel from the early '90s (or earlier) with a character named Alana (or Alanna) and a boy who gets taken to another world. Help!

In one of those particularly nagging flashes of memory, I am trying to recall a young-adult, sci-fi / fantasy book that was read to me in installments back in Grade Three (1992-93).

The book starred two young people (I would guess early teens, but since I was eight my ideas of age might have been skewed), a boy from “our” world, and, from the world he visits, a girl named Alanna (or possibly an alternate spelling; this is my one concrete detail, because what made the book particularly memorable as a child was that the heroine had a name a lot like mine).

Story fragments (some more sketchy than others) include:

-The boy wakes up in middle of the night, to a (blue?) flash outside, when he goes to investigate he gets taken to another world.

-There is something important about a bubble; the boy winds up in one. Either it takes him somewhere or he can breathe underwater. Possibly another kind of bubble freezes people.

-The nemesis is some sort of evil queen, probably one who lived underwater.

-To get underwater, a sea snake or monster had to be bypassed.

-A final, chess-like duel that involved real, possibly frozen people, who were killed as the pieces were lost (and I’m sure this isn’t some kind of bastardized Harry Potter memory)

-There may also be a scene high up in a tree canopy.

-As far as I can remember, the cover is predominantly blue in hue.

- All I can say is that it is definitely not the “Alanna” book series by Tamora Pierce, which are the only novels I was able to find in my search.

Does anyone remember a book anything like this? I fear that over the years it has become far enough entwined in my library of dreams that I’ll never figure out what it is. Thanks!
posted by ilana to Writing & Language (1 answer total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I remember that book very well, though not the title. I suspect it might have come out in the late 80s, or a bit earlier.

More details of the plot as I recall it:

The bubble takes him underwater, and you travel underwater in bubbles; the cities, or maybe just the buildings, have air. It does end with real people who are killed in a chess match, either by being thrown to the sea monster or into a bottomless pit, or into a bottomless pit where the sea monsters live. I think the people/pieces are paralyzed but otherwise awake. One of the important plot points is using a bubble wand to make the bubble cars (only the boy can do it), and there being a difference what material it was made of. (Plastic versus metal? Only one is available underwater.) The evil queen has some sort of control over bubble technology, perhaps she owns all the plastic or metal wands. The character who you think is named Alana is some sort of princess, I think, and the queen usurped the throne. She may be the aunt.

I cannot find the title of the book, though.
posted by jeather at 10:20 AM on September 17, 2009

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