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Teenager's debut novel hopes to shed new light on women in science fiction

11/07/2005. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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In a new millennium of rights and equality for women, science fiction remains a male-dominated genre, not only by authors but readers and characters alike.

Nineteen year old author Sarah Champion hopes to capture a female audience by introducing two strong, female lead characters in a novel of action, emotion and futuristic adventure. She does this with the gripping and dark story of Nyx and Billie, set on a physically and socially devastated Earth.

In July 2004, Australian teenager Sarah Champion published her first novel, "Untouchable" (ISBN 1411610067, Lulu Press, Inc. Trade Paperback, 259 pp, 6x9).

What started out as a sketchy storyboard to pass the time in a high school English class became a detailed and descriptive novel telling a fast-paced and engaging story of two women leading a war against a vicious invasion on a dying world.

Champion has always been a fan of science fiction, but she has always felt that something was missing.

"There were rarely any female characters," she says. "If they were, they were never central to the story. They weren't portrayed as anyone you could relate to, or take as a role-model."

Never quite being able to connect to the characters of the male-dominated genre, she set about writing her novel with two female lead characters as the focus. She intended to create three-dimensional female characters that were real; strong, no-nonsense women who could survive on their own, while battling their own demons, along with an exciting science fiction drama. She strived to encourage female readers to aspire to independence and self-reliance, as well as enticing new fans to the genre.

"Untouchable" is the story of Nyx, a girl who, at a very young age, finds herself alone and fending for herself in a hostile environment, where not only the people, but the planet seem to be fighting against her. Can a lifetime of prejudice and hatred ever lead to trust? Billie becomes the one person that Nyx opens her mind to, as they build a relationship in the midst of a hostile alien invasion that threatens to end the world once and for all. Will Nyx ever find the stability and solitude she longs for as she becomes caught up in a battle to save the very people who tried to destroy her?

Will Billie ever understand why Nyx is only fighting to save herself? Environmentally, socially and economically, the earth is crumbling, in the final stages of dying. With the remaining inhabitants either immoral elitists or subhuman foragers, is there any hope of survival? Escape? Redemption? The story follows Nyx's journey of self discovery, as she struggles to uncover the secrets of her past and learn the reasons behind her world's destruction.

Champion is currently undertaking a science degree which she feels will add a new level of depth, accuracy and dimension to her future science fiction works. She is also working on the sequel to "Untouchable," together with a new novel.

Untouchable is aimed at audiences thirteen and up. It is available for purchase online at lulu.com (content ID 64830), as well as Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and the author's official website http://www.sarah-champion.com, where information on upcoming works can also be found.

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