What would you do if you controlled powers that were once attributed to gods? What if what you had heard was right: sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic? High school student Peter Van Meer finds an impossible treasure that seems too good to be true. Now, he must work with his two best friends to unlock its secrets before it threatens to spill out its unknown dangers into the world. Chased by the police, the FBI, and men in blue suits, they soon realize that Peter’s discovery is much, much more than they bargained for.
“Pandora’s Gun is a tender look at two teenagers who must save the world from a most dangerous thing. Van Pelt teaches high school, and his experience clearly helps him create heartbreakingly realistic teens for protagonists in a classic SF adventure story. Pandora’s Gun comes complete with a childhood friendship that’s falling apart, old relationships becoming new again, and families under threat. It’s also incredibly well-written. Van Pelt is, as he always is, brilliant.”
—Brenda Cooper, author of Edge of Dark
"Van Pelt, one of the finest short story writers of our time, has written a YA novel. It has a kind of sweet old timey feel to it . . . I really did enjoy this short novel that asks a lot of wonderful "what if" questions in the traditions of classic science fiction."
"An ingenious thriller set in a backdrop of current events like hackers vs. firewalls, cell phones vs. jamming, blanket school emails, phone encryption vs. GPS – all filtered through characters that manage to stay one step ahead of their pursuers via loyalty, friendship, shared memories of childhood, and parents who don’t have a clue but love their teens. To those who know James Van Pelt, the educator, there is almost an Easter Egg quality to his protagonist’s “super power” — being good at writing papers for school. These papers and their subjects are how VanPelt packs layers of meaning into a story you could wholeheartedly recommend to your favorite teen or tween, and enjoy on a deeper level as an adult."
—Abyss & Apex
"The action is pretty fast paced and entertaining. I was able to finish the story in a few hours. It was just the cure I was looking for when I was feeling a little down. Van Pelt did not pad the story with a lot of extra material to make the novel longer. This is a good thing. The story is set up, the action happens, and then there is a conclusion. It isn't a pure all loose ends tied up ending, but it is a reasonable ending that maintains a little hope."