Wednesday, 2 July 2014


Mark Haddon
London, Red Fox, 2009, 195p

At Oxford Spires, we will shortly be launching our 2013-2014 First Story anthology, and this year our special guest is Oxford local author, Mark Haddon. I adore his writing, but it has been some time since I have read anything from his repertoire, so thought I would rectify that by reading Boom!

Jimbo and Charlie are adventurous, mischievous boys, often up to no good. So when they land themselves in intergalactic trouble, they know no one will believe them, a little like the boy who cried wolf. It all starts when they use a walkie-talkie to listen in on their teachers' conversations, which leads them to discovering that some unusual staff members talk in a strange language. When Jimbo wants to back off, Charlie pushes full steam ahead, determined to find out what is going on. But Charlie disappears, and Jimbo knows he has to go and rescue his best friend.

'Strange' doesn't even begin to describe this book. It is the weirdest adventure story I have ever read, but so brilliantly crafted that I could not help but become engrossed. Haddon has created a weird and wonderful alternative universe - a planet recruiting human sci-fi fans to keep it going.

As Haddon notes in his introduction, this is not his first attempt at this story, but an intricately edited version. But he got it perfectly right with this peculiar adventure, mixing comedy, the supernatural, and 

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