Thursday, January 17, 2008

Only You Can Save Mankind

by Terry Pratchett

I've read four novels by Terry Pratchett and thoroughly enjoyed each one. This year I've set a goal to read more books Pratchett. His work is creative, contemplative, humorous and often includes a touch of mystery. Pratchett has had 22 consecutive best sellers. Quite remarkable. He's most famous for his sci fi tales about Discworld. My favorite to date is Mork, followed by his YA series featuring Tiffany Aching.

Only You Can Save Mankind is the first in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy. It's written for the 5-8 grade audience. If you have a son in that age group, this may be one he'd enjoy. Girls, too; but I was thinking of a boy who wasn't that into reading.

Johnny is called to from the darkness of a space alien computer game. The ScreeWees are all be killed off and they want to surrender and have safe conduct back to their home planet. Safe conduct is promised to prisoners under the international rules of war.

With my recent read of Ender's Game still fresh in my mind, I thought the idea smacked of Ender and his computer games. This book is much gentler and does veer from Ender's Game quite a bit. Much better book for younger readers.

Johnny runs with a mismatched group of dweebs, nerds and other social outcasts. Here's Johnny's description of one of his friend with the nickname Wobler. "He wobbled. It was glandular, he said. He wobbled especially when he ran. Bits of Wobbler headed in various directions: it was only on average that he was running in any particular direction." Can't you just picture it?!

I don't suggest you run out and buy this one. It was a fun book and it was nice to have something simpler to read when I needed to take a break from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. (I may never finish that one!)


Lezlie said...

I love Terry Pratchett! I've read nearly all of the Discworld books (the ones about the night watch have been my favorites) and a very early one called, "The Carpet People". You have lots of fun ahead of you with this author!

Happy Reading!
Lezlie (Books 'n Border Collies)

Jeane said...

I had a college roommate who loved Pratchett; I swear she had read every single one of his books! Myself; I could never really get into them. Too satirical.

Anonymous said...

Now that I am finally caught up with the Discworld paperbacks (except for the childrens ones), I hope to get around to this series. If sounds fun and light reading so might slip it in between Chunster books :)

Somer said...

I've only read Going Postal so far, but I loved it! I'm eager to read more - next on my list is Good Omens (love Gaiman, too, so this will be fun), but I also have The Color of Magic, Equal Rites (?), and Thud! on my TBR shelf.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I just noticed that you're reading Austenland -- I loved it and look forward to your opinion of it!

The Bookworm said...

I've never read Terry Pratchett, sounds good, I have to add this to my TBR list.

Anonymous said...

Don't despair over Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell!
It took me months to finish, but in the end I thought it was a great book.

It took me a while to get going in the beginning, and then just as I was starting to enjoy myself you get all the war stuff, which I'm not too fond of - but the last third or so is wonderful.
It's one of those books that take a while to absorb, I think, but I'll probably re-read it in the near future.

Bookfool said...

My son enjoyed this one. He'll read anything, though. :)