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Encyclopedia > Shade's Children
Shade's Children
Cover of the hardback edition
Cover of the hardback, first edition

Author Garth Nix
Cover artist Elliot Earls (paperback edition)
Country Australian
Language English
Genre(s) Science fiction, Fantasy novel
Publisher HarperCollins
Publication date September 1997
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 310 pp (first edition, hardback)
ISBN ISBN 0-06-027324-0 (first edition, hardback) & ISBN 0-06-447196-9 (paperback edition)

Shade's Children is a young adult science fiction/fantasy novel written by Garth Nix. It was first published in 1997 by HarperCollins. Image File history File links GarthNix_Shade'sChildren_HB.jpg‎ Licensing This image is of a book cover, and the copyright for it is most likely owned either by the artist who created the cover or the publisher of the book. ... Garth Nix (born 1963) is an Australian author of young adult fantasy novels, most notably the Old Kingdom Series and Seventh Tower series. ... In political geography and international politics, a country is a political division of a geographical entity, a sovereign territory, most commonly associated with the notions of state or nation and government. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Some notable science fiction novels, in alphabetical order by title: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke 334 by Thomas M. Disch An Age by Brian Aldiss The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard... Look up Fantasy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary For other definitions of fantasy, see fantasy (psychology). ... A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. ... HarperCollins is a publishing company owned by Rupert Murdochs News Corporation. ... A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) book is bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth or heavy paper) and a stitched spine. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... ISBN-13 represented as EAN-13 bar code (in this case ISBN 978-3-16-148410-0) The International Standard Book Number, ISBN, is a unique[1] commercial book identifier barcode. ... Young adult (YA) literature is literature written for, published for, or marketed to young adults. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Smaug in his lair: an illustration for the fantasy The Hobbit Fantasy is a genre of art that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. ... Garth Nix (born 1963) is an Australian author of young adult fantasy novels, most notably the Old Kingdom Series and Seventh Tower series. ... Year 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1997 Gregorian calendar). ... HarperCollins is a publishing company owned by Rupert Murdochs News Corporation. ...



Shade's Children takes place in a not-so-distant future where evil Overlords have ruled for fifteen years due to a catastrophic "Change" which caused all people over the age of fourteen to simply disappear, possibly into another dimension. Since then, the children have been rounded up and placed in prison-like dorms. No child may live past their fourteenth birthday (known as a "Sad Birthday"), when they are taken to the Meat Factory and his or her muscles, brain, and other organs are harvested to create cyborg creatures. These creatures are servants of the Overlords, and as such both fight in the Overlords' ceremonial territorial battles and hunt for the rare escapees who have managed to remove the tracer implanted in their wrist. There is only one exception to this rule: some young women are kept for "breeding" to maintain the supply of children, until a suggested maximum age of eighteen. A top-down view of skeletal muscle Muscle (from Latin musculus little mouse [1]) is contractile tissue of the body and is derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells. ... In animals, the brain or encephalon (Greek for in the head), is the control center of the central nervous system, responsible for behaviour. ... In biology, an organ (Latin: organum, instrument, tool) is a group of tissues that perform a specific function or group of functions. ... A cyborg is a cybernetic organism (i. ...

Escape is rare, based both on courage and ability. These teens are gifted, however, with "Change Talents" - side effects of the Change that are unique to each individual and generally fall into the category of psychic powers (psychokinesis, telepathy, precognition, etc.) These talents are also dependent on Change Radiation, a mysterious field distributed by Change Projectors. This radiation allows the Overlords to control the weather and warp certain physical laws, which is critical for some creatures such as the Wingers, which would otherwise be too heavy to fly. The strength of the field is greatly weakened by water. The term psychokinesis (from the Greek ψυχή, psyche, meaning mind, soul, or breath; and κίνησις, kinesis, meaning motion; literally movement from the mind)[1][2] or PK, also known as telekinesis[3] (Greek + , literally distant-movement referring to telekinesis) or TK, denotes the paranormal ability of the mind to influence matter, time... Telepathy, from the Greek τῆλε, tele, remote; and πάθεια, patheia, to be effected by, describes the hypothetical transfer of information on thoughts or feelings between individuals by means other than the five classical senses. ... In parapsychology, precognition (from the Latin præ-, “prior to,” + cognitio, “a getting to know”) is a form of extra-sensory perception wherein a person perceives information about future places or events before they happen (as distinct from merely predicting them based on deductive reasoning and current knowledge). ...

These escapees have one chance to survive. Several teams of escapees recruited by Shade live in a beached submarine, near a sewer pipe that allows access to an extensive sewer system. Shade is the only "adult" to have survived the Change. This, however, is mitigated by the fact that he is merely the uploaded consciousness of a real human scientist - a Dr. Robert Ingman. Shade knows that he is an uploaded consciousness and thus continually questions his humanity. USS Virginia, a Virginia-class nuclear attack (SSN) submarine Alvin in 1978, a year after first exploring hydrothermal vents. ... A sewer is an artificial conduit or system of conduits used to remove sewage (human liquid waste) and to provide drainage. ... In transhumanism and science fiction, mind transfer (also referred to as mind uploading or mind downloading, depending on ones point of reference), whole body emulation, or electronic transcendence refers to the hypothetical transfer of a human mind to an artificial substrate. ... For other uses, see Human nature (disambiguation). ...

Plot summary

Gold-Eye, a fifteen-year old, was born near the time of the Change. He was physically affected by the Change radiation and his eyes, including his pupils, are a bright golden color. He is also unusual in that he managed to escape and elude the Trackers and Myrmidons for a time. Yet as the story begins, he is finally trapped by the Myrmidons, and prepares to kill himself to prevent his organs from being harvested. This turns out to be unnecessary as he is miraculously saved by a team of strangers who stun the Myrmidons with a flashbang grenade and lift him to safety. These strangers are a team of Shade's Children, and after the group eludes some Ferrets by hiding in a tall building, he accompanies them back to the Submarine, Shade's Children's hideout. Mayor of Leipzig, Germany, committed suicide along with his wife and daughter on April 20, 1945. ... For the alcoholic beverage sold in New Orleans, see hand grenade (drink). ...

Cover of the paperback edition
Cover of the paperback edition

Gold-Eye joins Shade's Children, and is soon sent off on his first mission with the team that saved him: Ella, Ninde, and Drum. Each team member is unique, and has Change abilities that correspond somewhat to their personality. Image File history File links Shade's_Children. ... Image File history File links Shade's_Children. ...

This mission is a critical one: to retrieve the equipment and data from Shade's abandoned laboratory on the University campus in the Department of Abstract Computing, including a device that measures Change radiation. It is also one of the most dangerous missions: All of the teams who have previously attempted this retrieval have been killed or captured in the process. Ella's team is successful, even when the Overlord Black Banner surrounds and invades the building, alerted by Leamington, a pre-Change artificial intelligence who calls the police on detection of the intruders. Leamington is notably different from Shade in that he is an artificial intelligence as opposed to an uploaded consciousness. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Representation of a university class, 1350s. ... Radiation as used in physics, is energy in the form of waves or moving subatomic particles. ... Garry Kasparov playing against Deep Blue, the first machine to win a chess game against a reigning world champion. ...

After resting at the Sub, Shade unveils the reward created with the recovered data: metal crowns called Deceptors which scramble the sensory input of the Overlords' creatures, effectively making a human wearer invisible and non-olfactive to them as long as the power supply is maintained. It also is later revealed that scent trails are equally scrambled, although footprints are not. With this sudden new advantage and information, Shade is more curious about the method of distribution of Change radiation and sends Ella's team on a newer, even more dangerous mission: to steal a Change Projector from Fort Robinson, the stronghold of Red Diamond. This mission is not successful: on entry, the team discovers that the stronghold stretches underground, allowing for the presence of creatures. The team's Deceptors run out prematurely as they discover a Myrmidon barracks, and they escape with a conch-shaped Overlord device called a Thinker, but without Drum who, having been winded, stays behind to fight. It is presumed by the rest of the team that he is killed. A barracks housing conscripts of Norrbottens regemente in Boden, Sweden. ... Species Strombus gigas Strombus luhuanus Strombus pugilis A conch (pronounced konk(IPA: ) [1] is a sea-dwelling mollusk, and more specifically, a marine gastropod. ...

On return to the Sub, however, Gold-Eye has a vision in which he sees Drum being stored temporarily in the Meat Factory, indicating that Drum is still alive. The group presents the device to Shade, who appreciates the Overlord device Ninde took from Fort Drum but refuses a request to rescue Drum, as the Meat Factory is one of the most heavily guarded Overlord facilities.

The team, led by Ella, defies Shade's orders and infiltrates the Meat Factory, successfully rescuing Drum. They then leave cautiously, using the Deceptors to mask their trail. While resting among the branches of a large tree, Ninde telepathically detects an Overlord. The detection proves not only to be hard mentally on her since the Overlord is of human or greater intelligence, but also emotionally hard: Ninde discovers that the Overlords are essentially human. Despite the difficulty, she discovers that the Overlord may know something about "a mind in a machine" -a dangerous thing for them, since Shade - a machine intelligence- is their leader and benefactor. They continue, to discover on reaching the Submarine that it has been invaded by an Overlord, Red Diamond, and that all of the people inside have been killed or captured. Fortunately, Shade had realized long before that the Sub was not a permanent base, and established multiple supply caches throughout the city in case a team was stranded in the field or the Sub was taken. True to their training, the team heads immediately to the nearest cache - to discover Shade, who escaped, apparently by chance, while testing a mobile robotic body for himself based around the Thinker. Shade's escape is doubly fortuitous in that the Overlord used an electromagnetic pulse weapon to disable the Submarine; had he been within range of the weapon, he would have been incapacitated. Intelligence is a property of mind that encompasses many related abilities, such as the capacities to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and language, and learn. ... ASIMO, a humanoid robot manufactured by Honda. ... The term electromagnetic pulse (EMP) has the following meanings: electromagnetic radiation from an explosion (especially a nuclear explosion) or an intensely fluctuating magnetic field caused by Compton-recoil electrons and photoelectrons from photons scattered in the materials of the electronic or explosive device or in a surrounding medium. ...

Despite the loss of all of Shade's Children except for Ella's team, the meeting is a good one: Shade has discovered how to defeat the Overlords. Examining and measuring Change radiation, he had discovered that all known Change Projectors were actually redistributors of Change radiation from a single source, a so-called Grand Projector. Were this projector destroyed, all creatures would cease to function, and the Overlords would likely be removed whence they came. Having discovered the source of the Change Radiation - a Mount Silverstone - they set out with Deceptors to find and destroy the source, which would hopefully bring reality back to normal.

But soon the team is betrayed by Shade, who had made a deal with the Overlords. Desiring a body with which to survive the Overlords' destruction, he betrayed the children, bartering them and the knowledge of their Change talents in exchange for Overlord body technology. Gold-Eye and Ninde are taken prisoner. Ella and Drum, managing to escape, climb to the top of Mount Silverstone, meet a hologram of Shade, who though having been physically destroyed, is spread through the Overlords' computer systems. He guides them to the Grand Projector, when, about to disable it, they hear an Overlord approaching. Ella, desperate, destroys the Thinker which regulates the Grand Projector, causing it to overload. This has the positive effect of disabling all Overlord creatures and removing the Overlords, but exposes Ella and Drum to lethal amounts of Change radiation, killing them. The burst of Change radiation, while not lethal where Ninde and Gold-Eye are, enables them to respectively read the minds of thousands of newly freed children, and see a distant future, at which time he and Ninde are the parents of two children named for Ella and Drum. Barter is a type of trade in which goods or services are exchanged for other goods and/or services; no money is involved in the transaction. ... A volumetric display device is a graphical display device that forms a visual representation of an object in three physical dimensions, as opposed to the planar image of traditional screens that simulate depth through a number of different visual effects. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Radiation poisoning, also called radiation sickness, is a form of damage to organ tissue due to excessive exposure to ionizing radiation. ...

Characters in Shade's Children

Main characters


Shade was originally named Robert Ingman, who somehow managed to upload his consciousness into the machines and systems in his lair at a time before the Change occurred. He serves as a mentor to his Children, and sends them on missions for supplies and information. After transferring himself to the Thinker, Shade develops multiple personalities and one of these, "Shade", becomes so obsessed with gaining a human body that he does not care how many children must die or be captured for him to get one. His true personality, "Robert", tries to reason with Shade, but is usually over-ridden. While the Shade personality is obsessed with gaining a physical body, the true Robert attempts to proclaim his status as the original Robert Ingman personality, rather than the evil Thinker form. Once the Thinker is destroyed, the original Robert attempts to right the wrongs he has done to the children, regardless of the personal cost: his existence. Overview In psychiatry, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is the current name of the condition formerly listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) and Multiple Personality Syndrome. ... In religion, evil refers to anything against the will or law of the god(s). ...


Ella, the leader of her group, is resourceful and strong but cold and withdrawn emotionally. She was eleven at the time of the Change, making her nineteen and the oldest actual human in the world ('I was eleven years old then. Eight years ago, which means I am probably th oldest human alive'). Her Change Talent is the ability to summon or "conjure" inanimate objects of limited mass at will, usually weapons.This is how she escaped the Overlords' dormitories, conjuring a razor blade to cut a tracking device out of her wrist. She also wonders why Shade makes the videos of children who are about to go on missions, finding out how they escaped and if they return. She has a somewhat pessimistic approach to it - at the end of the first video she says " ... so now you're wondering, what got her?" During the raid on Shade's old laboratory, she used her ability to create a grenade, for use either against Overlord forces or as a method of suicide if captured. She seems closest to Drum, and there is evidence of a romantic attachment to him, but his permanent emasculation by steroids prevents any sexual relationship. Ninde once remarks sarcastically, "Sure! And Ella will care about someone other than Drum!" Throughout the story, Drum is the only person she confides to about her childhood. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Collection of Modern Safety Razors - Gillette Fusion Power, Gillette M3Power, Mach3 Turbo Champion, Schick Quattro Chrome, Schick Quattro Power, Gillette Mach3, Gillette Sensor, Schick Xtreme3, Schick Xtreme SubZero, and Schick Xtreme3 Disposables A razor is an edge tool primarily used in shaving. ... Pessimists see the world as uninviting and cruel. ... Grenade may refer to: The well-known hand grenade commonly used by soldiers. ... Note: This article primarily discusses philosophical ideologies in relation to the subject of romantic love. ... This article is about human sexual perceptions. ...


Ninde is somewhat childish and watches many pre-Change movies to escape from her reality to that older world, into which she would probably be integrated well —she is emotional, dramatic, and attractive. Her Change Talent is telepathy: she can read minds within a limited level of complexity (she can't comfortably read human minds or Overlord minds) and distance, and tends to chew her knuckles when concentrating. For other uses see film (disambiguation) Film refers to the celluliod media on which movies are printed Film — also called movies, the cinema, the silver screen, moving pictures, photoplays, picture shows, flicks, or motion pictures, — is a field that encompasses motion pictures as an art form or as... Telepathy, from the Greek τῆλε, tele, remote; and πάθεια, patheia, to be effected by, describes the hypothetical transfer of information on thoughts or feelings between individuals by means other than the five classical senses. ...


Drum is an embodiment of physical strength and is described as having to use special clothing on account of his size, but has been emasculated by steroids given to him by the Overlords since he was to become a Myrmidon. His Change Talent is telekinesis, limited by mass. Physical strength is the ability of a person or animal to exert force on physical objects using muscles. ... Steroid skeleton of lanosterol. ... Psychokinesis (literally mind-movement) or PK is the more commonly used term today for what in the past was known as telekinesis (literally distant-movement). It refers to the psi ability to influence the behavior of matter by mental intention (or possibly some other aspect of mental activity) alone. ...


Gold-Eye is constantly nervous and moving, still paranoid from his life spent constantly eluding the Trackers and Myrmidons that hunted him. His Change Talent is, unusually, not under his control, but comes to him in the form of visions of the future that he calls the "soon-to-be-now". Gold-Eye's English, both written and spoken, is bad after his years alone -he has not spoken to another human for some time as of the beginning of the novel, since his older brother Petar (probably a corruption of "Peter") and his brother's girlfriend Jemmie are recaptured before the story begins. Gold-Eye is attracted to Ninde. At the end of the story, he has a vision showing that he and Ninde will have two children, named after Ella and Drum. In parapsychology, precognition (from the Latin præ-, “prior to,” + cognitio, “a getting to know”) is a form of extra-sensory perception wherein a person perceives information about future places or events before they happen (as distinct from merely predicting them based on deductive reasoning and current knowledge). ...

Minor characters


Lost on a fossicking mission around a month before the novel begins, Alen's sleeping body is discovered by Ella's team as they infiltrate the Meat Factory to rescue Drum, who was caught while covering Ella and the rest of her team's retreat on a previous mission. Ninde is in favor of rescuing him, but Ella makes the difficult decision to leave him behind.


Brat is a former operative of Shade and friend to Ella, who was captured by the Overlords around two years (according to Shade) before the start of the novel. When Stelo's team captures a Winger and, later, Shade vivisects it, this Winger is revealed to be Brat upon the removal of one particular device. Drum, a witness to the vivisection, kills him out of mercy almost immediately after this is revealed. Etymologically, Vivisection refers to the dissection of, or any cutting or surgery upon, a living organism. ...


Lisa was the leader of one of Shade's teams until nine years before the novel begins, when her entire team is lost attempting the University mission later accomplished by Ella's team. She was dedicated to Shade and his cause, much like Ella, and is furious when her teammate Sal suggests leaving the Sub rather than tackling the dangerous mission.


Mac was one of the oldest of Shade's Children when Ella first arrived at the Sub. At one point, his team retrieved hardware for Shade's computer. He was lost on the University mission two years before the book began. Computer hardware is the physical part of a computer, including the digital circuitry, as distinguished from the computer software that executes within the hardware. ...

Sam Allen

Sam is supposedly captured at least nine years before the novel begins, after leaving the Sub in anger at Shade's ruthlessness. He is used in one of the elite Myrmidon guards that belong to no particular Overlord, which are ordered to drown Gold-Eye and Ninde near the end of the book. When the Change Projector is destroyed, the device controlling his brain is disabled, giving him a few moments of humanity during which he recites a small poem in English and tells Gold-Eye that he was once Sam Allen; after this, he falls into the water and dies due to the lack of Projector radiation energy. The human brain is the most complex organ in the human body. ...


Sim shows all of Shade's new recruits round the Sub, and seems to have some authority over the other children. He picks up on Gold-Eye's lack of sexual knowledge, and points him towards the relevant lessons.


Stelo is the leader of one of the other teams and - initially - the target of Ninde's flirtation, despite no apparent attraction on his part and Shade's attempts to discourage Ninde. On orders from Shade, his team sets out to capture a Winger. Stelo pretends to be injured as part of this trap. The Winger they successfully catch is later revealed to be Brat. Following the mission in question, Stelo requires medical attention, having been scratched. Somehow, Stelo and his teammate Marg survived the attack on the Sub. Stelo is shown carrying his dead teammate Peter and traveling with Marg through the sewer system. They encounter one of Shade's rat robots. Stelo begins to yell at the robot, and hits it, angry at Shade for a perceived betrayal. Shade then orders the rat robot to self-destruct, possibly killing Stelo and Marg. Flirting is often described as casual conversation with a romantic touch, but it need not be spoken interaction at all. ... A sewer is an artificial conduit or system of conduits used to remove sewage (human liquid waste) and to provide drainage. ...

The Overlords

The Overlords are evil beings from another dimension. They appear human but are subtly different. They view all life other than themselves as utterly worthless, referring repeatedly to humans as animals. As such, they have no moral problems with harvesting children and using them to construct their creatures for no purpose other than sadistic enjoyment of gladiatorial violence between the creatures. In religion, evil refers to anything against the will or law of the god(s). ... -1...

They do not normally use audible speech to communicate, though they are capable of it. Instead, they subvocalize, using their technology to carry their speech among them. When they subvocalize, their throat muscles twitch noticeably. Subvocalization, or silent speech, is defined as the internal speech made when reading a word, thus allowing the reader to imagine the sound of the word as it is read (Carver 1990). ...

There are three female and four male Overlords.

The Overlords disdain combat and never enter hand-to-hand combat themselves, but have a variety of technologically advanced weapons. Two are used by Overlords during the book: a "fusion lance:" a tube-shaped, laser-like ranged weapon, and an undescribed electromagnetic pulse weapon. Melée generally means hand-to-hand combat or mano-a-mano. ... The deuterium-tritium (D-T) fusion reaction is considered the most promising for producing fusion power. ... Experiment with a laser (US Military) In physics, a laser is a device that emits light through a specific mechanism for which the term laser is an acronym: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. ... The term electromagnetic pulse (EMP) has the following meanings: electromagnetic radiation from an explosion (especially a nuclear explosion) or an intensely fluctuating magnetic field caused by Compton-recoil electrons and photoelectrons from photons scattered in the materials of the electronic or explosive device or in a surrounding medium. ...

  • Black Banner

The first Overlord featured. He wears black, spiked armour with a horned helmet.

  • Red Diamond

A highly aggressive male Overlord who wears a red armour and a fire-like cloak. He is greasy, fat, and balding.

  • Blue Star

Very little is mentioned about Blue Star. Blue Star is the fourth male Overlord.

  • Gold Claw

Apparently the oldest of the Overlords, Gold Claw, a female Overlord, is also quite arrogant.

  • Silver Sun

An attractive female who wears mirrored armour, Silver Sun is very intelligent and sadistic. Her teeth are filed to points.

  • Gray Crescent

An old male, Grey Crescent was asleep when Ninde and Gold-Eye were brought to see the Overlords.

  • Emerald Crown

Emerald Crown dresses in flexible green metal armour and a crown of emerald spikes, is female.

List of creatures

The cover of the newest softcover edition is an artist's depiction of two Myrmidons and a Tracker in the Meat Factory.
The cover of the newest softcover edition is an artist's depiction of two Myrmidons and a Tracker in the Meat Factory.

The Overlords' creatures are numerous and vicious predators of several homogenous types. They are reasonably intelligent, being able to strategize and fear risks. This intelligence is particularly evident in the more advanced creations, such as the Myrmidons, which have a simple language. All of the creatures are created using human organs and body parts processed in the Meat Factory, and are heavily specialized for their purpose to the detriment of other attributes. Some creatures use amulet-shaped devices called "mind-calls" which allow for telepathic communication with fellow creatures or Overlords. Most, if not all, of the creature types have weaknesses or aversions exploited by the main characters. Image File history File links Shade'sChildren2. ... Image File history File links Shade'sChildren2. ...

  • Drones

Drones are the Overlord's workers: although they do not have enhanced senses or any defense, these workers who maintain and run the Meat Factory (and presumably other Overlord facilities) are super-strong; they lift Drum without strain. They are only found in Overlord installations, where there are invariably others nearby to defend them. A standard size of Drone groups is not mentioned in the book, although when Ella, Ninde, and Gold-Eye infiltrated the Meat Factory, they met a pair of them together.

  • Ferrets

Ferrets are similar to their real-life counterparts in appearance, but are notedly larger, more intelligent, and have hollow fangs with which to partially exsanguinate their victims. They are nocturnal, and seem to act merely as hunters of escapees rather than also fighting for the Overlords. They are mentioned to have great strength. Ferrets also have an affinity for underground locales, are afraid of heights, and hate water. They operate in "fangs" of five, and make hissing noises to communicate. Trinomial name Mustela putorius furo (Linnaeus, 1758) In general use, a ferret is a domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo). ... Exsanguination (also known colloquially as bleeding out) is the fatal process of total blood loss. ...

  • Myrmidons

Myrmidons, unlike some of the other creatures, are humanoid: Larger than most, (the teens of which they are made are given steroids) these creatures are always seen wearing full armour and usually carry a mêlée weapon or a net gun, used to capture escapees. They have barrel chests, long arms, spade-shaped hands, and six fingers. They use fist-sized glowing globes called witchlights for light, and are mentioned as using "battle sprayers" that spray acid. They are the shock troops of the Overlords and the primary fighting units. The Myrmidons have a language for battlefield communication known as Battlespeech. They appear in "maniples" of seven. In chemistry and biology, Steroids are a type of lipid, characterized by a carbon skeleton with four fused rings. ... A mêlée weapon is any weapon that does not involve a projectile — that is, both the user and target of the weapon are in contact with it simultaneously in normal use. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Stormtrooper. ... Maniple (Latin: manipulus) was a tactical unit of the Roman Legion, consisting of two centuriae within a single cohort. ...

  • Myrmidon Masters

A Myrmidon Master is a larger, more intelligent Myrmidon which commands other Myrmidons. In the field, they are second in command only to a visiting Overlord. Myrmidon Masters are not generally seen in groups with other Myrmidon Masters, but rather among groups of the lesser Myrmidons.

  • Screamers

Although no Screamers are ever seen in the book, they are heard - their scream is so loud as to be able to deafen and daze people far away from it. They are also the primary method of alarm for sleeping Myrmidons - only a Screamer can wake a Myrmidon quickly. They do not travel in groups.

  • Trackers

Trackers are the scouts of Overlord forces - their noses, ears, and eyes are larger than normal and further enhanced with Overlord cyborg technology. They travel in "trios" of three, using whistling noises to indicate their status. They wear leather armor and do not fight unless attacked. At the beginning of the novel, one of the Trackers the team fights is a "Senior Tracker." A cyborg is a cybernetic organism (i. ... Whistling is the production of sound by means of a constant breath of air from the mouth. ...

  • Watchwards

No Watchwards are ever seen in the book, but they are mentioned several times. Drum, in his video recording, mentions having strangled one to escape the Training Ground. Ninde mentions that there are no Watchwards guarding the Meat Factory, and when the burglar alarm in Shade's old lab is set off, a "vaguely human creature" with a mind-call is mentioned as having received the alarm. Watchwards are most likely sentries and guards in the Dorms and other Overlord installations. U.S. Army Combatives instructor Matt Larsen uses a chokehold to strangle an opponent in hand to hand combat training. ... Burglar (or intrusion), fire and safety alarms are found in electronic form today. ...

  • Wingers

Wingers are flying creatures resembling humanoid bats. They have no nose, and their lower jaw is extended for enhanced killing ability. As with the other creatures, a mind control unit is kept near its brain, which forbids human thoughts and speech (although speech becomes difficult anyway due to the repositioning of the mouth). When one Winger has this removed, it recognizes Ella and pleads for death. Wingers use Change energy anti-gravity boosters to help them fly, since they are theoretically too heavy to fly. There are also special, vehicle-sized Wingers used as the personal flying mounts of Overlords. Normal Wingers appear in "flights" of nine. “Chiroptera” redirects here. ... For the article about nose in humans, see human nose. ...

Main themes

The book is about survival at all costs against a seemingly invincible foe. Shade's increasing lack of humanity is a constant threat to the reader and characters in the book. Ninde and Gold-Eye's growing relationship throughout the story is a touching account of love against adversity. In contrast to this, Drum and Ella are more serious about the situation they are in. However, they are constantly supporting each other and provide comfort at the end of the novel. Ella is a strong leader, yet her respect for her teammates, especially Ninde, grows considerably during the book's events. One interesting literary device is the interludes between the chapters. They add to the books depth, and sometimes reveal events elsewhere. For instance, when the Sub is attacked by creatures, the interlude is part of the training session for creature attacks. All the interludes are "taken" from Shade's computer archive.


Shade's Children was jointly awarded the 1997 Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult novel with three other novels.[1] This means that it was the second book by Garth Nix to receive an Aurealis Award, after Sabriel in 1995.[2] It is also an ALA Notable Book. Aurealis Award for Excellence in Speculative Fiction is an annual literary award for Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror fiction. ... Garth Nix (born 1963) is an Australian author of young adult fantasy novels, most notably the Old Kingdom Series and Seventh Tower series. ... For the Khazar ruler who converted to Judaism, see Bulan (Khazar). ... ALA Logo The American Library Association (ALA) is a group based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. ...

Release details

  • 1997, USA, HarperCollins (ISBN 0-06-027324-0), Pub date September ? 1997, hardback (First edition)
  • 1998, USA, Eos (ISBN 0-06-447196-9), Pub date October ? 1998, paperback
  • 1999, USA, Rebound by Sagebrush (ISBN 0-613-10529-X), Pub date ? October 1999, hardback (library edition)
  • 2006, USA, HarperCollins Children's Books (ISBN 0-00-723212-8), Pub date August 7 2006, hardback
  • 2006, UK, HarperCollins, Pub date August 7 2006, hardback


  1. ^ Aurealis Award 1997 Finalists and Winners. Fantastic Queensland (1997). Retrieved on 2007-03-27.
  2. ^ Aurealis Award 1995 Finalists and Winners. Fantastic Queensland (1995). Retrieved on 2007-03-27.

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On the surface, it's a suspense novel, but it also could be called a thriller or a mystery or a ghost story.
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Many parents prefer polycarbonate lenses for their children's eyewear and sunwear since they are strong, durable and impact-resistant.
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