Deerfield teen pens science fiction novel
Deerfield High School senior Scott Becker shows off his recently released book "Mektar, Clash of Ideals" on Sept. 27 in front of the high school. It took Becker two years to pen the 118-page science fiction novel. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 8, 2012 1:20PM
DEERFIELD — Scott Becker may prefer comic book conventions to high school dances yet that’s not necessarily what sets him apart from his peers.
Authoring a science fiction novel at 17 years old, on the other hand, may raise a few eyebrows.
Last week, Becker’s book “Mektar, Clash of Ideals” was released for sale on Amazon.com.
The Deerfield High School senior spent the past two years penning the 118-page novel for young adults.
His advice for aspiring authors is simple: “The best way to learn how to write a good story is to read a lot of good stories,” said Becker, who admires science fiction authors like Michael Crichton and Douglas Preston.
Becker wrote to share his ideas of science, religion and politics.
“It’s amazing how (novelists) manipulate the words almost to control your emotions,” Becker said. “I just wanted to be part of that community and maybe get other people to think about a concept.”
“I’m a pretty creative person,” he added. “I have lots of ideas for stories.”
The plot line for his debut novel focuses on two doppelgängers on different paths and whose fates collide when they engage in conflict that threatens humanity.
Nuclear physics, good versus evil, and tenuous relationships are some of the heavy themes Becker explores.
The book is geared toward a young male audience, though girls might also pick it up, he acknowledged.
“I don’t think they’ll like it as much as “Twilight,” he joked.
Becker explained that his characters embody some of his personal struggles as much as his passions.
The protagonist has weak conversational skills, he said, which hints of the difficulty in social interaction for people with Asperger syndrome.
Becker was diagnosed with the pervasive developmental disorder as a child.
Though her son may come across as socially awkward, his ability to focus linearly is unparalleled, said mother Steffi Becker.
“He is very visual and that is a common trait (of Asperger’s), too,” she said.
Scott Becker was proud to point out that “plenty of people” with his same condition have been successful. His mother hopes the book helps inspire others who live with a disorder.
“I think it’s nice to be a role model for other kids on the spectrum,” she said. “That was his huge motivation for agreeing to go public.”
In order to make the book accessible and quickly available, Scott Becker used a self-publishing website and kept the price point low, at $4.99.
A graphic designer polished his artwork for the cover, and a former teacher from Deerfield’s Shepard Middle School, Michelle Ditzian, edited the manuscript.
Ditzian said she recognized Becker’s talent when he took her seventh-grade language arts class.
“If I recall correctly, he told me writing wasn’t ‘his thing’ early on,” she said. “By the end of the year, I knew how wrong he was. I hope he did, too.”
Ditzian said while she sees glimpses of preteen Becker in the book, he has become a “much more mature writer.”
“With a good deal of high school under his belt, he now interweaves principles of real science in his science fiction, and he is so very much more focused on his audience,” Ditzian said.
Becker can’t say yet whether writing fits into his future career plans, though a sequel is in the works. He is now in the process of applying to six highly selective colleges with renowned science and engineering programs, and aspires to someday earn a doctoral degree.
Yet publishing a smart, entertaining and suspenseful book is reason enough to make mom happy.
“How many times have people started something and just not followed through?” said Steffi Becker. “I am extremely proud of his persistence, his determination, and his desire to see a vision to come life.”