Books·The First Page

Teleportation Gone Wrong by Jialin Luo

Jialin Luo, 12, is one of 10 finalists in the Grades 7 to 9 category of The First Page student writing challenge.

2018 finalist: Grades 7 to 9 category

Jialin Luo, 12, is a 2018 finalist in the Grades 7 to 9 category for The First Page student writing challenge. (Submitted by Cuiyu Chen)

Teleportation Gone Wrong by Jialin Luo is one of 10 stories shortlisted for The First Page student writing competition in the Grades 7 to 9 category. Students across Canada wrote the first page of a novel set 150 years in the future, imagining how a current-day trend or issue has played out. Nearly 2,400 students submitted their stories.

Luo, a student at Calvin Park Public School in Kingston, Ont., tackles environmental issues in Teleportation Gone Wrong.

"Gather around, ladies and gentlemen!" A loud voice announced.

Everyone's heads immediately snapped up, not wanting to miss this moment. A tiny man stood atop of a huge mountain of garbage, towering dozens of metres above the rest of us.

"My name is Mr. Martinez, and I proclaim that today, in the year 2168, you will all witness the greatest moment in history!"

An astoundingly loud cheer rose up as millions of people around us applauded. My mother and father were clapping and my little sister was hooting with excitement, her wide brown eyes shining.

"Ahem. As you all must know by now, this mere device," He thrust his arm up in the air, "can teleport all this," he gestured to the mound of trash, "to places it will never harm anyone or the environment ever again."

The crowd surged forward, ecstatic to see the tiny item in his hand. I was shoved ahead very roughly.

Irritated, I grumbled, "Time would be better spent on something I'd actually enjoy."

"It will be worth the wait." My mother assured me, before giving her attention right back to Mr. Martinez.

Mr. Martinez droned on and on, more than occasionally doing an ostentatious action. I felt all my patience drain from my body.

My sister's excitement had waned as well. She was now braiding her hair and talking about how her teddy bear would be bored too, although you couldn't exactly count on her to focus on one thing for very long.

Just as I was about to doze off, Mr. Martinez coughed loudly to get our attention again.

"Ahem. Let us not delay this marvellous moment any further." With a majestic flourish, he indicated for the cameras to start rolling.

"In five, four," He counted slowly and squarely. "Three, two," The crowd joined in on the last word, making it almost deafening."ONE!"

Mr. Martinez slammed his finger onto the bright red button.

The cheers ceased abruptly. It turned so quiet you could hear a pin drop. A hushed whisper spread amongst the crowd, as if each person was too scared to say anything.

Confused, I strained to see over the jumble of heads. Immediately, I caught sight of two distinct things. Or rather, two things that were not there.

The mountain of litter was gone.

But so was Mr. Martinez.

About The First Page student writing challenge

CBC Books asked students to give us a glimpse of the great Canadian novel of the year 2168. They wrote the first page of a book set 150 years in the future, with the protagonist facing an issue that's topical today and set the scene for how it's all playing out in a century and a half.

Two winning entries — one from the Grades 7 to 9 category and one from the Grades 10 to 12 category — will be chosen by award-winning YA writer Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves. The winner will be announced on CBC Books on Feb. 22, 2019.

Both winners will receive a one-year subscription to OwlCrate, which sends fresh boxes of books to young readers across Canada on a monthly basis. In addition, each of the winners' schools will receive 50 YA books.

CBC Books's next writing competition for students is the Shakespeare Selfie student writing challenge, which will open in April 2019.