Schoolgirl Charly Holmes has an out-of-this-world experience!
Charly in Space by Tim and Cathy Walker, is an adventure story for young readers involving British schoolgirl, Charlotte Holmes (called ‘Charly’ by her friends).
13-year-old Charly and her friend Jenny must raise money by washing cars if they want to go on a school trip to the European Space Agency in France. With Dad’s help, they hit their fundraising target and embark on the trip of a lifetime that soon becomes the adventure of a lifetime for wannabe detective, Charly.
“The launch phase was successful.” Captain Tom’s voice crackled in Charly’s ear. “You can both unbuckle your belts and float to your workstations.”
Charly watched Lucia float away from her seat and move to a control panel on the side wall of the capsule and twist a knob before punching some buttons. Charly unbuckled her belt and floated up to the roof, banging her helmet and hovering there.
“Woah, Janine, let me help you,” Lucia said, floating over and grabbing Charly’s arm and pulling her to a keyboard and screen. Charly nodded and grabbed a hand-rail next to the keyboard, not knowing what was expected of her.
As if reading her mind, Lucia said, “You can start by monitoring the data on velocity and turbulence. If either of those dials go into red, give me a shout.”
That’s easy enough, Charly thought, staring at the pair of twitching needles, both well below the red zone. Out of the window she saw they were in space. Stars twinkled against a dark blue blanket as they moved onwards with a gentle growl of the engine and the occasional bump.
“What’s the turbulence reading?” Captain Tom’s voice crackled in her helmet.
That’s my job, Charly told herself, lifting her sun visor and looking at the turbulence dial. “It’s two hundred and fifty,” she said, mimicking her Mum’s ‘I-told-you-so’ voice.
“Great,” Captain Tom replied. “Space Station coming into view up ahead.”
Charly craned her neck to look out of her window and saw the outline of the three big chambers joined together by tunnels. Soon, she could make out dishes and spiky aerials on its outside shell.
“We’ll get into its orbit and come up behind, docking at the rear door,” Captain Tom explained.
Lucia returned to her seat and fastened her seat belt, turning to Charly and giving her a thumbs up. Charly did the same, buckling her seat belt and preparing for docking. She watched the big screen over Captain Tom’s head and listened to the chatter between him and the Space Station crew. Slowly, their module closed the distance and the black opening grew closer and closer, before filling the screen.
There was a bump as they connected to the Space Station. “Contact made. Link secured. Good job everyone,” Captain Tom said, twisting in his seat to give Charly a thumbs-up. She returned the gesture and waited.
“Let’s make our way to the exit chamber,” Lucia said, waiting for Charly to unbuckle her belt and then giving her a gentle push in the direction of Captain Tom. Charly floated to the back of the capsule and grabbed the sides of the doorway, following Tom into the decompression chamber. She sat on a bench and clutched her flight bag in her lap, waiting for Lucia to secure the door.
With a hiss of escaping air, the outer door opened, and Captain Tom floated into the tunnel to the Space Station. Charly followed, and then Lucia, who secured the doors behind her. Charly floated along the tunnel, looking out of small windows at stars winking in the darkness of space. She was getting the hang of moving in zero gravity, and expertly sat on a bench next to Tom. They waited a few seconds before a light came on over a door, and the door swung open. They moved through into the Space Station, Lucia closing the outer door with a loud ‘clunk’. After a hissing sound, a light came on, and Captain Tom removed his helmet. Charly turned to look at Lucia, who did the same. Charly fumbled with the release catch for her helmet, her gloved hands failing to get a hold of it.
Tom stood before her and released her catch, twisting her helmet free. He lifted it off her head and gasped in amazement. “But you’re not Janine!” he said, eyes wide in surprise.
Lucia stood beside him and they both stared down at her in disbelief. Charly looked up and grinned, as if she was the last to be found in a game of hide-and-seek.
“Who are you?” Janine asked.
“I’m Charly Holmes, a British schoolgirl.”
After a few seconds, Captain Tom broke the silence. “Well, Charly, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do. Let’s get into the Space Station and you can tell us your story.”
Charly in Space is a story of imagination and thrilling adventure that treads the border between scientific possibility and sheer fantasy, seen through the sharp eyes of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl.
This book is suitable reading for children aged 9+ and is the third book in a series, following on from The Adventures of Charly Holmes and Charly & The Superheroes.
Tim Walker is an independent author living near Windsor in the UK. He grew up in Liverpool where he began his working life as a trainee reporter on a local newspaper. He then studied for and attained a degree in Communication studies and moved to London where he worked in the newspaper publishing industry for ten years before relocating to Zambia where, following a period of voluntary work with VSO, he set up his own marketing and publishing business. His creative writing journey began in earnest in 2013, as a therapeutic activity whilst undergoing and recovering from cancer treatment.
He started an historical fiction series, A Light in the Dark Ages, in 2015, following a visit to the near-by site of a former Roman town. The aim of the series is to connect the end of Roman Britain to elements of the Arthurian legend, presenting an imagined history of Britain in the early Dark Ages.
The series starts with Abandoned (second edition 2018); followed by Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (2017); Uther’s Destiny (2018); Arthur, Dux Bellorum, which won two book awards in April 2019 and Arthur Rex Brittonum(2020). Series book covers are designed by Canadian graphic artist, Cathy Walker.
Tim has also written two books of short stories, Thames Valley Tales (2015), and Postcards from London (2017); a dystopian thriller, Devil Gate Dawn (2016); and The Charly Holmes Series of children’s books, co-authored with his daughter, Cathy – The Adventures of Charly Holmes (2017) and Charly & The Superheroes (2018) and now Charly in Space (2020).