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Well worth it – The Knife of Never Letting go by Patrick Ness September 25, 2008

Posted by taryn in space opera, young adult.
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Recently I read The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. It has one of the best first lines ever:

The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say. About anything.

“Need a poo, Todd.”

Love it. Todd is the only boy in a village of men. He lives in a world where you can hear everything that everyone thinks. And all the animals too. Todd is fast approaching the day when he becomes a man, it’s significant because he is the last one in his village to do so. What are the men holding back?

I heartily recommend this book, especially for young adults. It’ll make you laugh out loud.

There is a great review up on the Guardian today, where it just won the Guardian’s children’s fiction prize. The judges call it challenging but not bleak.

Ness said

“This story felt like something that’s got to be really gone for, really shouted out from the rafters, and teenage fiction is where you can do that and still not be shoved into genre. In its most basic form it’s about information overload, the sense that the world is so very, very loud. Then I took the next logical step of what if you couldn’t get away.”

cover image of the knife of never letting go

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Peter F Hamilton interview in the Guardian today September 24, 2008

Posted by taryn in space opera.
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Check out Master of his universe, an interview by the Guardian on Peter F Hamilton (you can also listen to the podcast). Choice quote:

“Um, to somebody who has never ever read it [science fiction] before I would suggest I’m not your best first choice,” he says disarmingly. Then he relents slightly. “If you’ve enjoyed Battlestar Galactica, you should love my stuff,” he says. And if you like whodunnits, he can recommend the Greg Mandel sci-fi/detective series that made his name.

As do I. I recently really loved The Dreaming Void and this is a pretty good summary:

The void in question is at the heart of the Commonwealth, our universe in the 34th century. Alien races have been discovered, but life is still mostly a story of human struggle. Humans are stratified into highers, who have abandoned their bodies altogether to pursue an enlightened, mostly bodyless existence, and others who have thwarted ageing with genetic manipulation. But the biggest conflict has been created by the void at the centre of the universe. Based on the dreams of a messianic figure, a new religion has sprung up theorising that paradise can be found in this void. A pilgrimage is launched, but other human and alien factions take the more rational view that journeying into the void will trigger a “devourment phase”, in which the void will swallow the entire universe.

Love this quote:

“The hyperdrive is a black box with a button on that you press and it takes you where you want to go. Do not open the box and try to describe the circuitry inside. That’s the basic rule in science fiction.”

There is an interesting comment on religion in sci fi

“The whole point of science fiction is that you explore the effect of ideas on a society,” says Hamilton.