Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Book 31 of 2014: Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Pratchett

Back in the summer last year my cousin, in Gloucester, got married which I travelled down to. Until the day before I was due to leave I was reading Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix which isn't the most portable of books. I knew I needed something lightweight and in the end I selected the two Johnny Maxwell books I was still to read, and promptly read the third one instead of the second.

This is the third of the trilogy which sees Johnny Maxwell accidentally time travelling back to the 1940s during the height of the Blitz when the town of Blackbury was bombed, resulting in the destruction of an entire street. Chaos ensues when one of his friends gets left behind in the past when the others jump back to the present, and Johnny also sets about to change the course of history to try and save the lives of a whole street of people.

Although I read this out of order, I don't think that I missed any crucial details. In the first book Johnny was experiencing 'trying times' as his parents were constantly arguing; in this one they're separated but aside from that I didn't notice that I was reading them out of order. Obviously though, if you're going to read this trilogy, I'd recommend reading them in the right order.

There are lots of funny bits in this book, as I've come to expect from Terry Pratchett. There were a few references to Discworld, usually from Mrs Tachyon who speaks complete gibberish most of the time (and some of that gibberish is familiar to readers of the Discworld series). I like to copy out funny quotes into my book journal, but it's so tricky with these books because the funny sections can run on over a page or more.

I'd imagine that normally I'd be able to read this in a day or just over but as I was travelling I took a little longer. On the bus down and back up I was alternating between knitting, reading, listening to music and playing on my Kindle, and some of the time I just sat and stared out the window. And in Gloucester, it was wedding time! Not so much time for reading there either.

I think I actually enjoyed this one more than Only You Can Save Mankind. I suspect that it's aged better than the first book because it's not dealing with computer games that have developed incredibly quickly since the book was written. I enjoyed seeing more of Blackbury and also Terry Pratchett's humour in the World War Two setting.

After reading it I vowed not to take so long to read the second on in the series, Johnny and the Dead, and failed, not getting onto it until October. You'll probably get to read that review sometime around April!


  1. They did a good sunday teatime adaptation of this on the BBC about ten years back, with Frank Finlay as old Johnny and Zoe Wanamaker as Mrs Tachyon, plus the lovely Holly Grainger too. I don't think its ever been repeated or released on DVD which is a shame

    1. I saw that mentioned on Wikipedia. I didn't see it when it was originally on TV but I'm such a big Pratchett fan that if it ever was released in some form I would definitely snap it up!

  2. Tell a lie, it did get released but it seems to be quite rare, hence the price


    1. Hopefully some day I'll stumble across it in a charity shop. ;-)


Let me know what you think. :-)