Thursday, May 13, 2010
Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Pratchett
Travelling in time has become a well-worn narrative. There are certain conventions in time travel stories now: If you go back and change something in the past, the present you return to will be either unrecognisable or changed in subtle ways. You require a machine to do time travel in. Johnny and the Bomb shines because of its play with these conventions. Gunk inside a garbage bag in a shopping trolley can transport you in time. Also, if you can run in space, you can also run through time. Who knew? It doesn't overturn all conventions, it plays with some, it adheres to others.
It is imbued with Pratchett's deep respect for human life. A death in a Pratchett novel is not an easy occurrence. His young protagonists are tested to the very limits of their ingenuity in their quest in this book to save twenty lives in a WWII bombing.
This book is a delight because of Pratchett's style of storytelling, always ethical, always critical and always funny.