One Giant Leap


One Giant Leap

by Ben Gartner

GENRE:   middle grade hard science fiction action adventure

"I’m pretty sure I’m about to die in space. And I just turned twelve and a half."

Blast off with the four winners of the StellarKid Project on a trip to the International Space Station and then to the Gateway outpost orbiting the Moon! It’s a dream come true until space junk collides with the ISS, turning their epic trip into a nightmare of survival. Alone aboard the Aether starship, the kids have to work as a team to save the adults before the ISS is destroyed. Suit up, cadet, and launch into adventure with One Giant Leap!


My recurring nightmare starts out awesome. I’m the pilot of an F/A-18 Navy fighter jet, rip-roaring through the atmosphere at Mach 1, the speed of sound, almost 800 miles per hour. I tip my wings and can feel the extra vibration shudder through the frame. It’s an extreme feeling of power, and I love it, but then my jet jumps, and I know something is wrong even before the alarm starts blaring and the red lights start flashing. 

The computer tells me one of my turbofan engines is on fire.

I’m losing altitude. The impact with the earth will kill me, but I’ll explode before that if the fire hits my fuel.

EJECT EJECT EJECT flashes on my heads-up display. I’m frozen. I stare at the HUD. 

The jet jerks violently to the side, and I’m thrown against my harness. My helmet smashes into the canopy. I see stars. 


I know it’s going to hurt if I do it, if I abandon my aircraft. I’m terrified. But there are no good options here, and I know what I have to do.

I yank on the ejection handle, and the canopy explodes up and away. My eardrums burst. The wind howls. A bomb detonates underneath me and shoots me up and out like a bullet. The launch whips my head forward, my chin crushing into my chest, cranking my neck too hard, much too hard. The pain is incredible. My body compresses with unbearable g-forces, I can’t breathe, my vision blurs, and . . .

That’s when I wake in a cold sweat.

I try to wiggle my toes, but I can’t move them. Sleep paralysis. It usually goes away after a few seconds, but when I wake with that immediate sense of impending doom, and I can’t move, it’s petrifying.

About the Author:

Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of adventure books for middle graders. His stories take readers for a thrilling ride, maybe even teaching them something on the journey. Ben can be found living and writing near the mountains with his wife and two boys.

Q&A With the Author

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Space is cool! Seriously, there is a whole universe to explore and the mind boggles with the possibilities. My youngest son is also very into space and astronomy, and watching him discover some of these things for the first time is exciting for me all over again. There are amazing things happening in the space-travel industry right now!

Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?

Well, historically I’ve been very open about my next project, but with this next one I am trying to be more tight-lipped. I don’t regret sharing in the past, but with this one I just want to keep it a little closer to the chest. I will say that it’ll be another middle grade story with lots of research and learning, characters who need to grow, and plenty of action and adventure. Because all those things are fun to write and to read!

Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?

Like many writers, I dream of one day doing this full-time. Whether I can make that happen before retirement age, well, we’ll see. I have no illusions that my day job won’t continue to be my number one priority, financially-speaking. But one can dream… 

How long have you been writing?

When I was a kid, I think I wrote every day. I lost myself in writing frequently, whether it be fiction, nonfiction, or just plain journaling. I went to college for a degree in English (which I think might better serve its graduates if it were called Critical Thinking, but that’s a whole other topic…). Then as I got into the workforce, I wrote less and less. I guess you could say I kind of gave up on it because it wasn’t bringing in enough money to support me or my family. Then in my “later” years around age 40, I picked it up again. This time, purely for fun. I forced myself to not think about any hopes of this being financially sustaining, but to focus on the joy it brought me as a carefree kid. And it’s worked. It’s done that for me, again. I do find the stresses and obligations of regular life creeping in on that pleasant distraction of writing from time to time, but I segment it away and remind myself that I’m writing because it brings me joy, pure and simple. Don’t complicate it.

Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I have been floored by the outpouring of support and community over the years from readers young and old, fellow authors, critical reviewers, teachers, and librarians. It has grown my heart and I appreciate it immensely. Thank you.

Thank you for having me on your blog! If people want to learn more about my books, they can check out my website at I’m also active on Twitter and Instagram at @BGartnerWriting.





Available in paperback, hardback, and ebook everywhere books are sold.


Barnes & Noble:


Everywhere Else:


Ben Gartner will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for sharing your Q&A, bio and book details, I have enjoyed reading about you and your work. I love the cover art, synopsis and excerpt, One Giant Leap is a must read for my teen-aged grandchildren and I

  2. This sounds like a terrific space survival read for the younger audience..

  3. Thank you very much for having me on your blog!

  4. This sounds like a story my grandchildren would like--even though they are more into dinosaurs than space!

  5. I'd like to go into space. Happy to read about it.

  6. It's a delight to learn about your book.


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