I am trying to remember the title of a children's SF book I once read, maybe 20 to 25 odd years ago.

I don't have a great number of details (and some of what I recall may be completely wrong), but the details (such as they are):

  1. A war between two alien groups ended, and some technology that should have been destroyed was instead imprinted into a human baby. A few years later, both groups find this out and attempt to retrieve it.

  2. The main characters are the child, and an alien that I believe was called "Yacob" (or similar) who was sent to protect the child/retrieve the technology, and the antagonists were the other group of aliens that had previously lost the war and were trying to get the technology to start it up again (again, I don't remember the exact details, but I think it was a fairly simple black & white/good vs. bad scenario, being a children's book and all).

  3. There was a scene in which Yacob/the alien gives the child blue food, who complains that it's blue, and the alien states "close your eyes and it's just food".

  4. The alien had a space shuttle/some other piece of tech disguised as a van. I vaguely recall a scene in which it is under attack and it flies or something.

  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Book about a teenager and alien Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 22:06
  • I propose to leave that one open and dupe-close the other way. The present question is better, and the answer can be edited with a blurb
    – Jenayah
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 22:34
  • @Jenayah: So keep this one open and modify its answer? Or the other way around? :)
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 20:24
  • @FuzzyBoots let's put a blurb or quotes into Tercano's self-answer. Only OPs can improve story-id questions, but everyone else can certainly improve the answer. This way we'll have a combination of nice Q and nice A as the master dupe-target :)
    – Jenayah
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


Found it!

The book I read was Strange Hiding Place #1: Hard Drive by Graham Marks

Book cover of *Hard Drive*

This was the first book in a trilogy (Originally published in 1995/6 by Scholastic as a trilogy (Hard Drive, System Crash and Download) that was later re-written and abridged into a single book simply called Strange Hiding Place

Review copy from the author's site:

Eleven years ago the Tylurians, an alien race, hid something on Earth in a very strange place. Now they need it back. Only they need to find it first. The Tylurian’s secret is so terrible that it would mean the annihilation of their arch-enemy the Vad-Raatch. The Vads will do anything to stop the recovery of this secret, and thanks to a well-placed spy, they are very close. The Tylurians have Dez, an eleven year-old earthling.

Strange Hiding Place is first-rate science-fiction. The action is non-stop. Graham Marks describes phenomenal aerial and space combats as well as a gritty street-fight in Nigeria and urban warfare in New York. Wherever Dez and the Tylurian Yakob go there is fear of subterfuge. People are not always what they appear, and sometimes Dez cannot even trust what he hears! The science is fantastically futuristic. Yakob travels around in a biologically engineered bio-syntonic intelligence that can morph from car to plane to space ship as well as warp in time. Amusingly Dez calls her Bess. She can cloak and display a sophisticated surveillance array as well as worm out intelligence from computer systems.

The characters Dez and Yakob are central to the story. They are in many ways both homeless. Dez’s parents are dead and Yakob is 300,000 light-years from home. This shared circumstance becomes a realistic basis for their friendship. It also gains the reader’s sympathy. Consequently there are moments of genuine sadness and cause for concern. As the story progresses, Graham Marks perfectly balances Dez’s change from teenage sloth to galactic hero without diminishing the underlying pain of his circumstances. Strange Hiding Place is a highly entertaining and recommended read for children aged 10 years plus. Be prepared for a surprising twist at the end!’ – WriteAway

‘An adopted 11-year-old boy and girl and a Jack Russell dog are the unwitting carriers of the code to end a war between two alien groups, which could easily bring about the destruction of a planet. Whilst the two factions struggle to gain access to the DNA of this unfortunate trio, they are subject to terrible dangers and barely escape fatality innumerable times. It’s very exciting stuff!

  • Nice one. Well done.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 0:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.