By Mitch Benn

Rating: 4 stars

I mostly bought this book because I’m quite fond of Mitch Benn as a comedian and had heard good things about it (praise from Neil Gaiman is not to be sniffed at). It’s the story of a baby girl, abandoned by her parents as they are terrified by an alien spaceship that appears in the middle of the road one night. The scientist on board the ship takes the girl home and raises her himself, calling her Terra. Terra grows up, starts school and has to cope with being different. And then, one day, war comes back to the planet Fnrr.

Essentially this is a coming of age tale, with Terra discovering herself and dealing with adversity, being different and alone, but loved, and essentially discovering that people are people, no matter what skin they wear. Benn is obviously an SF fan and particularly early on, there are lots of nods to Golden Age SF, from the gravity bubbles to the scientist-heroes of Mlml (the nation state that Terra and her adoptive father live in).

This is another of those books that I would have devoured as a young teenager, and I look forward to be being to give it as a gift to my nieces and nephews (not to mention the children of friends) as they grow up, along with some of the classics of my own youth. An assured and confident first novel, it’s not just young people who will enjoy this, it’s got something to say to everyone who ever felt different and alone.

Book details

ISBN: 9780575132108
Publisher: Gollancz
Year of publication: 2013

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