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Summary

As the mighty alien fleet from the very latest computer game thunders across the computer screen, Johnny prepares to blow them into the usual million pieces. And they send him a message: We surrender. They're not supposed to do that! They're supposed to die. And computer joysticks don't have 'Don't Fire' buttons. But it's only a game... isn't it. Isn't it?

©1992 Terry Pratchett (P)2007 Random House AUDIO GO

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Fun and enjoyable

I love this book, like every other Pratchett book before and after it, all though it's not set on the disc it's still well written and the plot is interestingly enjoyable.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

Not great would not recommend it

It was ok but i was a bit bored because the story moves very slowly

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Johnny is amazing

It is exiting and it is weird because there is alians and stuf it is so sad that terry pratchett is dead yes R.I.P terry

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-06-12

Another Terry Pratchett delight

I always enjoy Terry Pratchett so it is no surprise that I enjoyed this one very much. I love how his thought process turns things sideways. My only complaint was the length - too short! Share this with your video games obsessed teenagers. :)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • kristina
  • 26-03-12

Toy story for the digital age!

What did you love best about Only You Can Save Mankind?

This story does for digital gaming what Woody and Buzz Lightyear did for toys. It is a real mind bender to think that the things that are killed in video games are really dying some where. Do we take killing too much for granted in the electronic age???.

What about Richard Mitchley’s performance did you like?

His voice made listening easy and did not detract from the story.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Phred TE
  • 15-07-18

Awesome real world book

I figured this would be about video games, but it’s a head-fake. It’s really about how people need to get along and that sometimes you have to lose to win. The narrator was very good, the voices were well done and it was very easy to understand.

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  • JonnyB
  • 25-05-18

Almost as if he knew, even then.

weird to hear a bit of the gulf war news from the British teen perspective, and from years in the past, same for games, especially considering how current gaming is actually approaching this level

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  • Got My Book
  • 05-11-16

What is Real?

A fun little MG Paranormal SF that may require some explanation of history.

BOOK DETAILS:
Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett, read by Richard Mitchley, published by Random House Audio (2011) / Length: 4 hrs 11 min (this is the Unabridged version)

SERIES INFO:
This is Book #1 of the "Johnny Maxwell" trilogy. All of them are available on audio.

SUMMARY:
Like most Pratchett book, this one is a pleasure to read for people who love interesting characters.

Note: It takes place during the first Gulf War; so you might need to explain who "Stormin' Norman" is, and other such things, to children who are going to read it. It isn't absolutely necessary though. The book has some interesting commentary on how the war is just another "show" to kids who have grown up with lots of different screens in their lives, and yet they can't help but be affected by it.

CHARACTERS:
Johnny: On the surface, he's an absolutely normal tween kid in a home that is breaking up. And yet this is just the first of the weird things that end up happening to him. He isn't sure if he's crazy or this is real, or even what "real" is. I think his character can be summed up by the fact that he's the only one who listened and was willing to answer.

Kirsty: She's used to being the best at everything she does. But she also expects things to be the way they "should" be. Her character can be summed up by saying that Sigourney Weaver is her hero.

There is a fun cast of quirky supporting characters that includes Johnny's 3 best friends (this is definitely the "left-overs" clique) and the Scree Wee captain.

WORLDBUILDING:
This is Gulf War era small-town England. And it is video game space ship interiors. One of the best bits of worldbuilding is the way Johnny's fighter comes with all sorts of smells, sounds, and tastes he didn't expect when he is "in" the game. Real life (even a virtual version) just has so many additional dimensions.

PLOT:
It starts with Johnny having died 6 times already (and it isn't even 5 o'clock). I was pulled right in by him, his likeable ordinariness, and the baffling situation he now finds himself in.

Although there are 3 books in this series, they are each completely separate adventures. The ending wraps up everything with a typically quirky (and entirely satisfactory) detail.

HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:
--The food delivery run (and the alien's way of describing human foods)
--The changes that take place inside the game world once Kirsty enters.

I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: The game pirating (enabled by a father who copies the instruction manual at work) / Parents who try to be "friends," but don't make sure that their children have clean clothes and something to eat. / A couple of small vulgarities

OTHER CAUTIONS(?): Johnny & his friends sometimes do each others homework. / Big Mac is a self-proclaimed skin-head, but one of his best friends is black (sorry, I don't know the British equivalent of African American), and he spends a night in their home with no problems. I think it is all part of his effort to look tough to the people in his bad area of town.

NARRATION:
Character voices differentiated = Yes. The captain's voice sometimes approached irritating. But I think he did an excellent job with Kirsty "actually." / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes / Accents = Mid-Atlantic? Sound good to me / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good / Emoting = Good / Speed = listened on 1.25, my usual

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  • LineMo
  • 23-09-16

The best anti hero.

Terry Pratchet was a master at telling stories.
Johnny is my favorit anti hero.
Great story.

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  • Mikey
  • 10-04-15

If not me, then who else?

Loved the book. I'd listen to it over and over again. I recommend this book to whoever likes video games and a good story.

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  • Kylie
  • 08-01-15

Great story and excellent narration

Terry Pratchett's kids books are always funny, well written and with a gorgeous message. The Johnny Maxwell stories are a wonderful mix of poignant and hilarious, and always worth a listen. Highly recommended!

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  • Alex
  • 27-08-12

Another Excellent Pratchett Delivery!

What did you love best about Only You Can Save Mankind?

Terry Pratchett's humor

Who was your favorite character and why?

The ScreeWee Captain. I love her rationality and her alien sarcasm.

Which scene was your favorite?

I feel that my favorite scene would be a spoiler, but it involves perception changing depending on the pre-disposition of the player.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

If not you, who else?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Charmaine
  • 12-04-11

Lots of fun.

This one was enjoyed by myself and my 13yr old daughter. Lots of humour and pace.