Nebador Archives presents an epic young-adult science fiction adventure - Ask Kibi

J. Z. Colby's NEBADOR takes place in the wide universe around us ...
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Kibi and the Search for Happiness
Rini and the Old Slave
Buna's New World
First Taste of Freedom
Neti's Temptation
What're Friends For?
Sata's Strength
Boro and Sata
Buna's Search
The Magic Needle
Still Voices
Floating Away
The Lonely Space Dragon

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The Ghost Host

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The Donkey Sanctuary, Ireland

MENSA International


As the home team, Nature Bats Last.

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Kurt Cobb's Resource Insights

Kids vs. Global Warming

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Hesperian Health Guides presents Speaking Truth to Power

Ask Kibi

the shaggy girl with dark eyes With the completion of the NEBADOR series, Kibi has now moved on to more challenging universe assignments, and is rarely on star stations, so she is no longer available for questions. However, the author might be able to catch her for a quick opinion during one of her rare appearances, so questions can still be sent to him, and if they are of general interest, he will post them on the Questions page. The questions Kibi has already answered remain below for reference.

"Ok, Kib I'm asking YOU because maybe youll spill when HE wont. My best friend thinks theres a secret code in the numbers in book9. she says she can fiugure out when every things supposed to happen in OUR time. True?" Shadow Buffalo-walker, Wyoming, Nebador citizen

Well ... gosh ... er ... um ... maybe. Melorania told me not to tell.

So, if you and your friend think you have the code, or formula, or whatever you want to call it, then you can compare some events in the story to events in your planet's history, and so test your theory, right? Let me know what you find! Since I'm not on your planet, I can't help any more than that.

"I hope you are over your animal lust. My best friend went through that but the animals here aren't so well behaved. She got hurt." Yukika, Nebador citizen

I hope I am too, Yukika. Sometimes I wished I had some easy excuse, but Toran Takil is completely a person to me, and always will be. That's different that just some wild tiger on your planet. I'll always have a special place in my heart for him, but I think the situation with the other tiger finally broke the spell for me.

"Are you going to be happy being just a stewardess all your life??" Felix, Nebador citizen, 17

That made me bristle for a moment, Felix, but I settled down and figured out what you meant. You're thinking about stewardesses on airplanes on your planet, who mostly pass out drinks and snacks. If that was all my job was, I might bet bored.

Instead, I'm still studying cross-training manuals for pilot and navigator, and I still need to get familiar with engineering and sensors. Of courses there's everything I have to learn as second-in-command, but a lot of that is stuff I have to experience while being in command. Arantiloria arranges that a lot, I assure you. After all that, I've got several things I'm working on in Psychic Development: one you might call psychotherapy, another quick-thinking skills, and another self-confidence.

If I get half of all that done by the time I'm old and ready to die, I'll be lucky! Bored? Not in Nebador!

"What about you made you ready deal with the little ghosts [in Book Eight]? I think i could but not my friends!" Artemis Girl, 18, Ontario, Nebador citizen

I guess it was being a steward. Even before I joined Ilika, I was often taking care of others. That made me grow a thik skin, and it forced me to feel a little less that I liked to, but it was who I was, so I kept at it.

You seem to be like that too, Artemis, not exactly the same as me, but ready to do some difficult things your friends aren't.

"im almost to the end of book 5. u didnt do very well on the ice planet. Do u know why?" Jordan

I didn't know very well then, but I think I do now. Back then, I still had some feelings that the world, the whole universe, was there for ME. Slavery knocked a lot of that out of me, but not all. When I had to get ready to die, it felt like the whole universe was dying.

Now that I'm part of Nebador, I can see how the universe goes on, unfolding in a beautiful way, even when I'm asleep, or sick, or (someday) dead. It feels really good knowing that. It feels like everything will be okay, even when I'm gone.

I hope that helps, Jordan.

"Is Jenny [in Book Seven] in heaven now?" Yukika, Nebador citizen

I feel like I'm going out on a limb to answer that, Yukika, but I'll try. For a while, after I got to Satamia Star Station in Book Six, I thought I knew most everything about Nebador. Well, I didn't. I'm still being surprised all the time. So the answer I have to give you is: Yes and No.

Keep reading! Yes, because Jenny is in the real heaven now. No, because its not the Heaven that the priests on my world talked about, and probably not the Heaven that the priests on your world talk about either.

Does that make it the "wrong" Heaven? I guess it depends on who you ask. Those priests, on both worlds, would say it was the wrong Heaven, or a false Heaven that doesn't really exist. That's what priests do.

And you know what? Kerloran, Melorania, Arantiloria, and all the other spirit people I work with, NEVER say they are right or real, and the things the priests say are wrong or false.

What does that tell you?

"Ok I'm good with the relationships now after reading 5 and 6 (and 7!) Now I'm wondering if your relationship with Ilika might be the weakest one ... ?" Jenna, UK

No! Well, okay, there might be some truth to that, but only in the sense that it hasn't been tested as much as the others yet. Mati and Rini went through the biggest tests already, as you know. Boro and Sata had some rough spots, but are taking it slow and steady. Me and Ilika have had it easy so far (except for the Toran thing). I'm sure we have challanges ahead. Will we handle them? I hope so.

"HOW did you find the courage to help the spider? I know they're not bad but I just CAN'T keep my cool around them. Any suggestions appreciated." T. Q., official arachniphobe

Ah, you must have gotten Book Seven already! Believe me, T. Q., official arachniphobe, it wasn't easy for me either. I guess what made it possible was that it was my JOB. When you MUST do something, you find a way. You live in a place where arachniphobia is accepted, almost rewarded, but I'm in a civilization where irrational fears just aren't okay. If I can't grow out of my little problems, I get to go home and be a shepherdess ... or a slave.

"If you could have gone to school,whats one thing youd want to learn?" anonymous

Hmm ... of the things that you CAN learn in school ... I would have liked to learn math better and younger. When I finally had to learn it, I was seventeen, and it was MUCH harder than it would have been when I was younger. Sata and Rini, and sometimes even Mati, are always getting it faster than me. Of course, learning math means having a good, patient teacher, and I've heard there are lots of not-so-good math teachers out there. If I couldn't find a good teacher, the next best thing would have been to teach myself. But I didn't have that chance. I hope you have that chance.

"I think these book are preparing us for something. Want to spill?" Felix, Nebador citizen, 15

All stories prepare us for things, Felix. Remember the story-telling we did in Books Two and Three? We could not have survived that journey, and stepped onto that ship, without those stories to help us make sense out of the things we had gone through.

But by "us" I think you mean you and other young readers. Think about what's going on in your world, and whether or not there are any BIG decisions coming up that your whole world will have to make, together. Although some people dream of angels or aliens coming to the rescue, do you really think that's how the universe works? I think you have a saying: "God helps those who help themselves." Are you starting to see how useful it might be to know what the universe WILL help with, and what it WON'T? More info about this in Books Seven and Eight.

"I've been reading the chapters in the previews for the books that are still coming. With new characters coming in are you and the other five going to get lost?? That would be sad." Terri, Nebador citizen, 13

No, not really, but we'll have to share the story with some others. Remember those passenger seats behind my steward's station? Some really wonderful Nebador citizens are going to be in those seats, doing the technical parts of the missions, or sometimes being transported for important reasons (like the young lizards in Book Six). But the 6 crew members of the Manessa Kwi will always be there to run the ship, and often help with other things. We just can't do every mission alone, because they're going to get harder, longer, and more complicated.

You'll also see us learning each others' stations soon. You've already met our training supervisor in the Book Seven sample chapter. She's fun, and she and I both have nicknames for each other that have something to do with our hair!

"I'm goona try this so dont wimp out on me and just say I have to wait ok? I see a coffin in book 7 and a dark creepy old roller coaster in book 8. Is nebador turning into a horror story???" Shadow Buffalo-walker, 17, Wyoming, Nebador citizen

Well, Shadow, I can't say that our missions get easier, and they certainly sometimes scare us, but no, our stories won't turn into cheap horror with people walking backwards in haunted houses scaring themselves. But, as I'm sure you know, Nebador only gets involved with BIG problem. All the little problems that happen to people might make nice, simple stories, but Nebador isn't sending out response ships and life monitors. Even the death in Book Seven is not the real reeason we are there.

But before I say any more, I want YOU to try to put into words the kinds of situations that make Nebador take notice. I'll understand if you need to read Books Seven and Eight first.

Hey, by the way, congratulation on becoming an honorary Nebador citizen!

"Ok, what would you have done if Toran Takil was single and wanted you? :)" Pixi, 12, Nebador citizen

Pixi! That's low. But I suppose someone was going to ask it someday. Hmmm. Let me think. Gosh. I don't know! I guess I was following my heart (too much) and my brain was asleep. I really don't know how much trouble I would have been in. Well, I would have been in a LOT of trouble with Ilika. I probably would have had to crawl to Melorania, on my knees, and ask for a different job. That's why usually it's not a good idea to have relationships with people you work with. But in Nebador, they expect us to handle stuff like that. I almost didn't. I really do love Ilika, but I suppose my heart will always throb when I see Toran. I think I'm going to be on a mission with him someday, I'm just not sure when. I know, I'm rambling because I'm embarrassed.

"Dear Kibi, What is the meaning of life and why is my boyfriend a TURKEY???" Paige

Gosh, Paige, I'm not going to even TRY to answer either of those until you answer MY questions. What have you experienced so far in life? Have you been a slave (of any kind)? A steward (of anything)? Most people don't know the meaning of the word "steward." The answer to your first question cannot be GIVEN to you my me, or anyone else. You have to FIND IT by living! Do some things in life, write back, and then we might have something to talk about.

Now to the boyfriend question. Or was it a turkey question? I guess you mean he's far from perfect, right? How about you? How close to perfect are YOU? If you want an "eagle" instead of a "turkey," are you prepared to fly like an "eagle"? Have you tried loving him? I've heard you have a story about a frog and a prince ... you know the one. When I first met Ilika, he was little more than a hope in my heart. Sure, he had some money. But I couldn't find out what he was made of without going on a "journey" with him. You know, Book Two. What have you experienced with your turkey ... I mean your boyfriend ... that is worthy of making a story about?

"Kibi, why did you had so much trouble getting ready to die?  we all die." Artemis Girl, 16, Ontario, Nebador citizen

Tricky question, Artemis. As a slave, I had seen lots of death. I think it was my personality. I have one that doesn't give in gracefully to the irresistible forces of the universe (like death). Rini is much better at that. I fight tooth and claw to find good in situations and in most people. (If you're a slave trader, forget it!) It's hard to find something good about death. I'm guessing your question is from Book Five. I make lots of progress accepting things I can't change in Book Six.

"I'm not as far along as some people just book 3 but I wondering if theres a reason for premartal sex in the story? It seems to cheepen it." Jenna, UK

I see what you mean, Jenna, but there really is a good reason, although you'll learn about it slowly (Books 4, 5, and 6). I don't want to give the story away, but it's all about freedom (important to ex-slaves!) and "standing on your own two feet" (like Sata learned in Book 2). I come close to making a huge mistake in Book 6, but I manage to fix it. It's also about (as Mati and Rini discover) marriage being something we choose and create together, not something a "priest" or some other authority figure does "to" us.

I'd love to hear back from you after you get to Book 6 and see what you think about it all then!

"This is fun! Ok first you know I KNOW what nebador is right? Ok so i know theres no ship coming to get me [but if there was i'd go!] so I have to do it the oldefashioned way right? I wont say it i promiss but I want EVERY idea you can give me!!!!" Ryn, Nebador citizen, 13

It's a good thing I know what you're talking about, Ryn. Just like you, I prefer to not come out and say it. People are very touchy about that subject, especially in a medieval kingdom like I came from! They might ... try to burn your ship!

I think you've already guessed one of the big things that seperates Nebador people from all the other people who live on planets. We never quit learning. We learn from EVERYTHING. Hate school? Fine. Learn everything you can anyway. Got all school can give? Fine. Get into a library. Most of it's garbage, of course ... find the nuggets! Listen to other people (who FEEL like Nebador people) about where the nuggets are, but also decide for yourself.

Why? I think you know already, but I'm going to say it: there's barely enough time in a normal human lifetime to learn what you need to know to quality for ... you know.

It will be fun to talk to you again after you read Book 6, Ryn.

"Thats soo cool that Bror and Sata are kissing! do you think their old anough??" Pixi, Nebador citizen, 11

Well, gosh, Pixi, are you old enough to think kissing is cool? People grow up at all different speeds. Boro and Sata are both large and stocky, so their bodies developed earlier than most people. But as you saw in Book 5, Sata was a little more ready than Boro. They seem to be committed to each other, so they will hopefully be able to grow into their relationship together, even if one of them needs to put on the brakes at times. I hope Ilika and I are that lucky!

"Whats it like being a character in a story? i feel that way some times." Tess, 16

That's a tough one. I guess if I was REALLY just a character in a story, I wouldn't know it. But since I share a life with the author, the proofreader, and the actor who is my voice in the audiobooks, I have a larger perspective.

Some characters in stories have a very limited existence. People usually call them "flat" or "one-dimensional" or something like that. They're very limited and predictable. That would be like the baker or one of the guards in Book One.

But the character Kibi is as rich and full of life as we (including you, the reader) can imagine her. I have some problems, like claustrophobia, and a tendency to act on my feelings, but I'm working on them. And in Book Six: Star Station, I get the opportunity to really start developing parts of myself that we (living on a "backward little planet") usually don't even know about. It's hard, but I'm sticking with it.

So if you ever feel like you're trapped in a story, or any other kind of trap, just start looking around, and don't be afraid to look in unusual places. There's a path out of your "trap" somewhere, you just have to find it. There are people who will help, too, but they won't be wearing signs that include your name. You'll have to use your intuition and your heart to find them.

"Sooo..if you like Miko before was it wird when he was picked but now you liked ilika???" Pixi, Nebador citizen, 11

That's a great question, Pixi, and it definitely made me blush. Yes, I guess at first it was a little weird. There was definitely some tension between us, especially when Miko first saw that I was falling for Ilika. But he and I had already decided to move on and not let the past effect our friendship. I don't know how Miko felt about Ilika and me, but he seemed happy for us, just as I was happy for Miko and Neti.

"I totaly know what you went thru when you ran away [Book Four, chapters 4 and 5]. Ive done it 3 times now. it is SO hard to go back. My parents look at me like i'm dead, and my goodygoody sister rubs it in for months. Its all about school. But just like you i got hungry. What do I do?" Christa, 13

There's a lot I don't know about you and your situation, Christa, so I can only say a few general things. You're talking about a powerful human emotion called shame. We use it to control each other, and to control ourselves (usually by limiting ourselves). Slaves know all about shame, believe me. One of the biggest things that keeps slaves in slavery is believing it's their fault.

Somehow, you need to find a totally new vision of the person you want to become. You need to do it yourself, because school, parents, and sister all have you labeled, and it will be hard for them to change those labels. What kind of person do you want to be? Keep it simple and doable. If your family is poor, your grades are so-so, and your new vision requires a master's degree from a fancy university, it may not be doable.

BECOME that new person, step by step, decision by decision. Probably ten times a day, you will have to ask yourself, "What would the NEW me do about this?"

Sound easy? It's not. Welcome to the very small club of people trying to pull themselves out of some kind of trap. The club of people who stay in their traps is much larger. I hope you pick the smaller club, and that I meet you along the path someday.

"Why did you think the ship was a dragon?" Mark, 13

At that time, Mark, I had never seen any kind of air ship or space ship. I didn't even think "ship" at all because I wasn't seeing a wooden hull on water, and sails. Manessa was changing shape to get rid of the mud, and the only thing I could think of that could do that was a dragon. I know, dragons don't really change shape, but since the sight before my eyes was so outside my experience, "dragon" was the only thing I could think of that MIGHT be right.

"I know its stupid to ask but please tell me if theres anyway off this stupid world." Wen, 14

I really feel your pain, Wen. I wondered that for so long. Please believe me when I say that there's a way out of every "stupid" situation, but there's no way to predict what it will be. It's different for everyone. All we can do is live the best we can, and prepare ourselves for that day. For me it was a ship. It could be completely different for you: a friend, a job, a journey ... I have no way of knowing. What kind of person do you want to be when your "ship" comes along? That's your task right now. Being in a bad situation is painful. Not being ready when an opportunity comes along is much, much worse. Please keep in touch, Wen.

"I just got a little job. Guess what I'm doing?" Karina, 16, Australia

Serving food? I know I'm right from the rest of your letter. Just like you were asking before, you'll probably be humiliated many times. Welcome to the club! Those times will be valuable lessons in separating what's really important (getting the job done) from nursing a wounded ego. I'm honored to know someone walking the same path I walked in the NEBADOR stories. Ilika has told me more than once that a good commander (which I'm in training to be) has to make decisions WITHOUT his ego, or they will be bad decisions.

"I haven't tried to make any frinds for awhile but I think I bragged a little in class when I won the [writing contest 2nd place] prize. Was that bad?" Terri, Nebador citizen, 12

No, it's not "bad" Terri. In fact it's pretty normal for us human beings. Sure, someday you might feel enough confidence that you won't need to do that, but right now, you're young, and it's okay.

Now that you feel on top of the world, you can look around and see if there's anyone near you who might be creating something -- a story, an artwork, whatever -- who doesn't have the courage to tell others, but might need a kind word from you.

"Don't you feel humiliated being just a stewardess?" Karina, 16, Australia

You made me smile, Karina. After thinking about it, I had to admit to myself that there is something humbling about taking care of the ship and passengers. There is also something about it that makes me proud. Fact is, we can't learn to run until we can walk. Someday I might be able to stand in Ilika's shoes and command a mission. At the end of Book Three, I wasn't ready for that, but I had a chance to prove myself, and get ready. How's that for a "yes and no" answer?

"I listened to my heart and asked a boy but he hooked up with someone else. It hurt but I remembered Mati and the goat man. Now i feel like Rini." Running Cat, Nebador citizen, 14

I honor your courage, RC. Asking another person to hook up with you is a huge thing, and it can't help but make you stronger, no matter what the other person does. Now that you've been in Rini's shoes, maybe that will help you find your own Rini, like you wanted (and avoid boys who aren't like Rini). Thanks for writing again, RC!

"What do you do if Ilika never asks you to be near him, but Toli did? I'm in that shoes." Yukika, Nebador citizen, 18

That depends on what kind of person you are, Yukika. Would your "Toli" make you happy? I think, from your letter, probably not, but you have to decide that. Also, is your "Ilika" important enough to you to make YOU do something about it? Some boys are shy. Remember, Neti had to give Ilika a hint before he found the courage to ask me. If there's no "Neti" handy in your life, you may have to give the hint. I know it goes against your culture, and maybe your personality too. I was in your shoes in Book One. But please believe me: being with the wrong boy is too high a price to pay.

"I know someone like Toli and he WANTS to get over being nerdy so girls will like him and stuff but it never works. What should he do?" Joshua, 14

FOR BOYS ONLY! I bet he wants to be more like Miko, right Joshua? Well, both Miko and Toli have surprises coming in Book Three. But back to your real situation -- just like you say, it never works to try to ignore what you are. It's like beating your head against a wall. But there ARE things you can do to be more lovable. I don't know much about you, Joshua, but here are some questions to get you -- I mean your friend -- thinking:

When he interacts with girls, is he being respectful? Is he taking care of himself with good food, personal hygiene, and all that? Most important, is he chasing the RIGHT girls? If he's drooling after the glamour girls, he won't be the first nerdy boy to make that mistake.

"So what do you do if you have feelings for someone that NO ONE would ever let you be with in a million years?" anonymous

What a difficult question. I really had to think about it. I'm not sure who "no one" is (parents?), but my advice is to find out why people wouldn't like you two being together.  That might give you a clue about what to do. If the other person is interested in you too, then maybe something could spark. But you can't change the way other people feel about you, they have their own free will. That's my advice without knowing the situation. If you want to write back with more details, I'd be more then happy to give you a better response.

"Why didn't you like Boro? He's so cute." Pixi, Nebador citizen, 9

FOR GIRLS ONLY! You're right, Pixi, but I saw right away that he had his eye on Sata. And I'm not the type to compete for a boyfriend, or try to turn his attention from someone else. One of the reasons I picked Ilika was that I figured none of the other girls would think of him, at first, beacuse he was a little older. I wanted to win his heart before anyone else even thought of it. If I hadn't, I bet Buna would have tried.

"How do you make a friend when you live in a stupid little town where no body thinks about anything?" Terri, Nebador citizen, 12

It sounds like you want a friend who thinks about things, Terri. So, the first thing to remember is to be true to yourself. You will naturally attract the right kind of friend IF you be yourself, grow toward the person you want to become, and find the strength inside yourself to wait. No one can predict when your friend will appear. But believe me, if you forget who you are and settle for someone who hurts you or drains you of energy, you'll wish you were alone again.

And beware of assumptions. You're not the only person who lives in a "stupid little town" but thinks deep thoughts. Keep your eyes open. Maybe there's another like you hiding there somewhere, perhaps of a different gender or age than you expect, thinking the same thing.

"So what kind of things can I ask you about? Can they be private like?" Belinda, Nebador citizen, 14

Anything you want me to try to answer from the point of view of a girl who started in the "gutter," and is going to the ... well, you'll see. You can ask questions anonymously (just don't sign them, and I'll know you don't want your name attached, even if I recognize your email address). If the question is really private and personal, and not interesting to others, I'll just write back to you.

"Please tell me how to be happy when my life is falling apart. My dad lost his job and we might lose our house.  I might be a citizen of nebador ... it's better then a citizen of [my city]." Cobra, 12

When I was a slave, there were many things I didn't like and those things could have made me a very unhappy person for the rest of my life.  But I figured out that the only real freedom I had was to think my own thoughts.  I chose not to think about the bad things over and over again.  I chose to think the best thoughts I could.

For example, if I were you, I would think ... even if Dad loses his job, we will still have enough to eat and clothes to wear.  And I would think ... even if we lose our house, my family will still be loving and we will have warmth and shelter elsewhere.  Thinking good thoughts just makes you feel better than thinking bad thoughts and, over time, it makes you a happier person.  It takes practice.

The really great thing about repeated thought is that it has power.  The unseen forces of the universe always try to give you experiences that match up with your thoughts.  So ... better thoughts ... better experiences in life.  It's true! Love, Kibi.

"Were you jealous when Ilika was with Buna in the other room in the dark in the tunnel?" Sam, 10

Wow, that's definitely a hard question, Sam. I guess a part of me was a little jealous at first. But I was proud to see Ilika lending Buna a helping hand, and the knowledge she needed. Now I trust Ilika to always follow his heart, and stay loyal to where his heart lies. I might have been jealous if he went into the dark room with someone I didn't know, or if he ever gave me reason to doubt. But I trust him to stay loyal, and I also trust Buna to not try and take who has my heart. Thanks for the great question, Sam!

"I'm ok with girls and I've had some girlfriends, but there's a really shy girl I like. What's important to a shy girl?" Sean, Nebador citizen, 13

Gosh, Sean, let me think. I'm not shy, even though I can be very introverted, but I've known some. The first thing I think of is respect. She's got a rhythm of getting to know people, a slow rhythm, and you'll have to respect that, or forget it. Your could start by being friendly and respectful in all situations, and just get to know her by watching and listening, without asking anything or pushing anything. Tell me how that goes, and then we'll talk some more.

"Ok, this is weird. you're just the author, right?" Material Girl, 13

Advice from Kibi is created by the author and several female friends. They are almost as familiar with the story as the author because they are part of his team of critiquers, publishing assistants, and audiobook voice actors. The author, J. Z. Colby, approves all answers, and takes complete responsibility for the content of the Ask Kibi page.

"I thought students weren't allowed to have relationships with teachers." Mark

It's tricky, Mark, because the teaching relationship can get mixed up with the romantic relationship, or they can clash, one pulling your heart one way, the other a different way. But there's a good reason we had to handle it. Ilika wasn't just any normal teacher, his ship wasn't just some ship, and I had lessons to learn that I couldn't even imagine at the time. You'll see all that in later books.

"I liked you in book 2 cuz you wanted to see the desert. I live in it! I love sitting under a meskeet and reading. is that crazy?" Christina, 9, USA

After I found a picture of a mesquite tree, I wished I could join you, Christina, so I'd be just as crazy as you. Everyone needs a special place or two where they can be alone, maybe someday take a friend and read to each other. Thanks for writing, Christina.

"This is too weird. The girl named Running Cat likes Rini too. Does Rini maybe have a Cat soul?" Felix, Nebador citizen, 13

I wouldn't be surprised, Felix. Cats have that same attitude Rini has, sort of untouched by everything, almost aloof. There's a cat in my future, Book Six I think, but I can't say anything about it.

"How did you sleep outside all those places without being afraid? In the woods at night my heart pounds and screams at me to go inside but somthing tells me I'll have to sleep outside someday." Tabitha, Nebador citizen, 11

Having a friend with you really helps. Nine of them is even better! Fear is just fear, but always remember to be honest with yourself about any REAL dangers around. Maybe you can find a camping club and go camping with other people. "Summer camp" isn't the same, as it's usually in cabins.

"Ok, this'll be fun. How do I find my own Rini? Seriously." Running Cat, Nebador citizen, 14

Hmm. I'm better at finding my own Ilika ... but I'll try to help. First, always listen to your heart. But that doesn't mean jump in bed with the first boy you like. I knew I liked Ilika the first day, but it took me half a year to be sure. Next, think about what you want and need in a boy. You will never find exactly Rini. What are the most important things about Rini to you? Once you've got that clear in your mind, write back and we'll talk about the next step.

"WHY did Ilika put up with whining lazy Toli so long???" Jen, Iowa

I know from the rest of your email that you've read Book 2, but you'll learn even more about that in Book 3. Pretty much for the same reason he put up with Mati ... and me. He wasn't looking for perfect people, just people who could keep growing and growing ... you'll see.

"I've set my mind to learning all the lessons in the books, but I HATE math! Any suggestions?" Robert, Scotland

I really understand. The thing that saved me was I could sort of see the numbers in my mind. Not the numbers as written, but the values of them. But maybe you have to set your mind to one more thing - getting over your hate, and saving hate for things that are much worse than math.

"How did Neti find love for Miko after what she went thru? I've been there, and can't figure out how even tho I know a nice boy now." Latitia, Texas

That question's bigger than me, Latitia. I'm pretty sure you need to tell him, find out if he'll willing to walk the long, slow road of healing with you. If he's not, you need to know, so there'll be room in your life for someone who is.

"Why were the questions in the test so easy?" Jason, Utah

For you maybe! How about the story of the girl and the man with a knife? Was that easy? Did you understand the logic mistake Sata made at Doti's house? Did you feel what Buna felt, trapped in the underground room? Boys!

"What are you supposed to do if your parents would rather die than let you do anything hard or, you know, important?" Billijean, South Carolina

Good question. Sounds kind of like my time in slavery. And you know what I had to do? I had to wait. Someday things will change, whatever kind of cage you're in will open, and you can spread your wings. Until then, use your brain and think of things you can do to get ready for that day. Want to learn something they don't have in your school? Find a book about it! Want a good boyfriend? Watch boys and learn to tell the good ones from the bad ones!

"Why was it hard to let go of your rags? I would have been glad to see them go!" Katie, Nevada

I guess ... because that was all I had. I didn't even own a comb! They had the sweat and dirt from almost of year of my life in them. I couldn't take anything else with me from that year but a few memories and dreams. I finally let them go because I knew they stank. I couldn't smell it 'cause I stank too, but I knew.

"Were you gold-digging when you picked Ilika?" Susan, California

No! Okay, maybe a little. I really did like him as soon as I saw him handle that room full of kids. Some were my friends, but some were just, you know, brats like Kodi. I think it's natural for a girl to like a guy who can stand up tall, and make some food appear. Some girls like a weak guy they can play mommy with. Not me.

Book by Book

the narrow streets of a medieval walled city
Book One:
The Test
Spring 2010




Letter to Readers

Dramatic Audiobook

Audiobook Chapter 1 (6MB)



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

Screenplay 1

a lonely beach along a wild seashore
Book Two:
Summer 2010


Letter to Readers

Dramatic Audiobook

Audiobook Chapter 13 (8MB)



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

Screenplay 1

the colorful aurora above majestic mountains
Book Three:
Fall 2010


Letter to Readers

Dramatic Audiobook

Audiobook Chapter 5 (13MB)



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

Screenplay 1

stranded on a frigid ice continent
Book Four:
Flight Training
Spring 2011


Letter to Readers



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

fascinating planets with strange life forms
Book Five:
Back to the Stars
Fall 2011


Letter to Readers



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

a shining jewel floating in the blackness of space
Book Six:
Star Station
Summer 2012


Letter to Readers



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

unseen guests at an event of universe importance
Book Seven:
The Local Universe
Summer 2013


Letter to Readers



Where to Get It

stillness and silence where movement and sound should be
Book Eight:
Summer 2014


Letter to Readers



Where to Get It

Heather's meeting circle at a top-secret military facility
Book Nine:
A Cry for Help
Summer 2015


Letter to Readers



Where to Get It

a strange eco-system deep underground
Book Ten:
Stories from Sonmatia
Summer 2016


Letter to Readers


Where to Get It

Nebador Archives

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by J. Z. Colby
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