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Johnny and the Bomb

The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy by Terry Pratchett consists of three books: Only You Can Save Mankind, which I’ve never read; Johnny and the Dead, which I enjoyed; and Johnny and the Bomb, which almost made my head hurt.

“Twelve-year-old Johnny Maxwell has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This has never been more true than when he finds himself in his hometown on May 21, 1941, over forty years before his birth!

An accidental time traveler, Johnny knows his history. He knows England is at war, and he knows that on this day German bombs will fall on the town. It happened. It’s history. And as Johnny and his friends quickly discover, tampering with history can have unpredictable–and drastic–effects on the future.

But letting history take its course means letting people die. What if Johnny warns someone and changes history? What will happen to the future? If Johnny uses his knowledge to save innocent lives by being in the right place at the right time, is he doing the right thing?

Mixing nail-biting suspense with outrageous humor, Terry Pratchett explores a classic time-travel paradox in Johnny Maxwell’s third adventure.”

This isn’t one of the Discworld novels, so I wasn’t as much of a fan of it as usual with Terry Pratchett’s books but it was still good. I enjoyed the characters. It was strange because they seemed younger than I expected. I guess that I don’t read many books with 13-16 year-olds as the main characters. It was strange because it’s more English than most of his other books, but still accessible to us lowly Americans.

The time travel portion of the book bothered me. Not the actual time travel, but the discussion of consequences and effects and methods. It wasn’t technical or anything, but any discussion of time travel gets into the complicated region. It requires thinking about things sideways.

Because it involved life or death situations, Johnny and the Bomb was a lot more serious than his other books, and even than the other Johnny Maxwell books. Ending gasp factor is a 3/10 because it’s not suspenseful at all, and isn’t supposed to be.

245 pages.

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Filed under Fantasy, Young Adult