World-Building at Teignbridge Community School
The Earth has been ripped apart by mining; all that remains is a huge cloud of rubble, loosely held together by a gravity machine at its centre. But the machine is failing, and the people who are trying to repair it are endangered by the radiation the machine gives off, and by mutant lizards with half-metre-long claws who infest the rubble-cloud.
Everyone else has relocated to a number of other nearby (man made?) planets, which are linked together by a series of vast bridges. You can travel across these bridges in air-filled balls propelled by hamsters, although you have to be able to pay the hamsters with something that they need - otherwise they will eat you. The most useful form of hamster-currency is baby hamsters, since the hamsters are too busy rolling balls around to have babies of their own.
The planets include:
Aquatica: a water-world, where mermaids and dolphins rule over a population of sea creatures; there is a middle class of whales and sharks, and an underclass of fish. Sand dollars are used as money.
Rookaly: a robot world. Originally populated by nerds, who built the robots to defend themselves. However, the robots took over (although, unbeknown to them, the robot king is actually a nerd in a robot suit!).
‘Sweet World’ A divided planet, populated by intelligent sweets, who are locked in constant warfare with equally intelligent cheeses. The cheeses are getting the upper hand, but they are themselves threatened by the mysterious being called ‘Pizza Boy’ who putters from planet to planet on his space scooter delivering pizzas, and has been known to grate the cheeses up to use as toppings.
Slinka: a small planet with snake-shaped continents, populated by mythical beings.
All the planets are endangered by the flocks of zombie chickens which infest the surrounding space.
Our hero, living among the machine-repair crews in the rubble of earth, sets off to explore the other worlds. On Rookaly he meets Lukenza, who has always felt out of place among the robot people there because she is only half robot - her mother was a Medusa-like being from Slinka...