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Journey into Space [Paperback]

Toby Litt
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Mar 2009

A vast generation ship hurtles away from a violent, troubled Earth to settle on a distant planet orbiting an alien star. Those who set out on this journey are long-since dead. Those who will arrive at their destination have yet to be born.

For those who must live and die in the cold emptiness between the stars, there is only the claustrophobic permanence of non-being. Life lived in unending stasis.

Then the unthinkable happens: two souls - Auguste and Celeste - rebel. And from the fruit of their rebellion comes a new and powerful force which will take charge of the ship's destiny.

Journey into Space is science fiction at its most classic and beguiling: timeless, vast in scope and daring in execution.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (5 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014103971X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141039718
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 669,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Toby Litt was born in Bedford and grew up in Ampthill, Bedfordshire. He has worked as a teacher, bookseller and subtitler.

A graduate of Malcolm Bradbury's Creative Writing M.A. at the University of East Anglia, Toby is best-known for writing his books - from Adventures in Capitalism to (so far) King Death - in alphabetical order; he is currently working on L.

Toby edited Henry James's last novel The Outcry for Penguin Modern Classics. He was also the co-editor, with Ali Smith, of the British Council/Picador New Writing 13 anthology.

He is a Granta Best of Young British Novelist and a regular on Radio 3's The Verb. His story 'John and John' won the 2009 Manchester Fiction Prize.

Product Description

About the Author

Toby Litt was born in 1968. He is the author of Adventures in Capitalism, Beatniks, Corpsing, deadkidsongs, Exhibitionism, Finding Myself, Ghost Story, Hospital and I Play the Drums in a Band Called Okay. In 2003, he was named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His website can be found at

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
'Describe,' said Celeste, and so August began with 'It is gentle and warm and soft and -' And he ran out of adjectives. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing novel 13 Mar 2009
The human race has sent the first generational colony ship, the Armenia, to the stars. On board this ship are 100 individuals, all of whom were chosen for the mission and are aware of how life will be: one where they live and die upon the ship, where breeding is strictly controlled to ensure that the rationing will last and that genetic diversity is always present. With information stored with it, the ship's computer, there is nothing that can't be known and there is constant surveillance of all.

August and Celeste are two of the first children born on the ship, closely related through blood and with interests that differ from the rest of the crew. While the crew continue with their lives August and Celeste meet at the abandoned tennis courts and dream of a world where only they exist. It is through these descriptions and their relationship that the seed is sown to forever change to future of the Armenia and its crew.

Journey Into Space is split into five sections, four large and one small epilogue-type. With the first focusing on August and Celeste and the remaining ones then following their descendants, we have a story that covers a long period in the life of the Armenia.

My first impression of Journey Into Space was that it was a very descriptive novel, one where you could feel yourself getting lost in the images it bought. This was very much to do with August and Celeste and the way their exchanges and daydream-like sections separated them from the reality of life on board a never-changing colony ship. Their relationship - two blood relatives of the same age - is not unusual in one sense, but because of the situation they are in they become ever closer which leads to the inevitable sexual attraction.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Journey Into Space 24 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I persevered with this book but it was a tedious read. Whats up with the current crop of sci fi writers ? Their "Big Brother/X-Factor" shallow style of writing is becoming the norm. This book rambles on for what seems forever as one of the key characters describes weather, grass, and just about every other experience and the other charcater does the same back. Its boring and ridiculous. I got the point after the first experience sharing session between them. There was no need to keep labouring for what really did seem most of the book. But is actually about half of it. Ridiculous. Then it all accelerated as they got older and everything seemed to happen in the last few chapters.

This book is an almost exact both ideas and plot to James Follett's "Earth Search" series, only without the imagination and story telling. Pathetic and for the first time I can remember I threw it in the recycling bin after ...with a sigh of relief, finishing it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply stunning 13 Mar 2009
I make it a rule to never give a book 10 out of 10. With this book, I either need to make an exception or dock a point from virtually every other book I've read to make space.

This is a stunning piece of work. A study of life on a generation starship and the repercussions of the rebellious behaviour of two teens. The writing is hypnotic throughout and keeps you gripped in it's velvet claws and refuses to let you go. The storyline may be slightly predictable at times but when the writing is of this quality I don't care.

The title says it all. This is a perfect book. You need to read it.

This is not a rollicking high octane work of sci-fi with two-headed mutants chasing the hapless crew round a doomed ship. This is a thoughtful, insightful examination of humanity under extraordinary circumstances. August and Celeste are beautifully realised as characters but are allowed to fade out of the story as their children and grandchildren take centre stage. the prose is smooth, slick and absorbing throughout. Litt's focus shifts effortlessly from the intensly personal to a godlike perspective which allows him to skim years in sentences (He skims years in a few sentences near the start as well but not on the same scale as he does later). This book is IMHO brilliant.

If you like your sci-fi to be more thoughtful and serious, you have to read this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One for the geeks. 6 July 2014
By Sally
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In brief: a critique on the inevitability of human folly, with some exceptionally gripping description. Really enjoyed it... highly recommended!
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3.0 out of 5 stars An unusual departure... 17 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase more ways than one. I'd read Toby Litt before and didn't expect this kind of book from him. Still good fun.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is an epic that spans over a few generations. The only likeable characters August and Celeste (the Romeo and Juliet) are in the first generation so don’t last the whole book. Something in the book dies when they die.

The events/relationships on the ship at times are described in a very unemotional, matter of fact monologue, much like you would get with a narrator while watching a tv documentary on Auschwitz. Not sure if this was intentional or not. It is fairly easy to read, though keeping up with the cousins, nephews etc was a little challenging at times but didn’t affect the following of the story.

The book does approach a couple of moral dilemmas; namely that of religion with the massive problems it can cause. Also, perhaps a bit more on the controversial side, how older people can adversely interfere with good looking young people and their personal life’s. The older people doing this simply because they want to, they can and feel they have a right to do so.

For those thinking of buying this book for the sci-fi space journey perspective then I would think twice. The book is barely about space or anything sci-fi. The story could be just the same if it was some big building that no one was allowed to enter or leave on planet earth.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible
I love sci-fi but sadly this book didn't make the grade. I have recently adopted the `Rule of 50' if after 50 pages I am not enjoying the book I just put it down. Read more
Published on 19 Aug 2010 by BristolVoyage
3.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant concept, betrayed
Toby Litt is one of my favourite authors, largely as a result of Corpsing - a crime novel I really, really enjoyed. Read more
Published on 18 July 2010 by Federhirn
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start , difficult middle , very interesting end..
Well up front in this one - this is a strange book, predictable in that ark/generation ships get a predictable going over as humans over a period of time and generations seem to... Read more
Published on 23 Mar 2010 by A. J. Sudworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Imagination.
With what could you compare this highly original SF novel? Maybe the closest thing is 'Space Odyssey 2001'. Read more
Published on 24 Nov 2009 by Jan Dierckx
4.0 out of 5 stars A book which pulls you into its world
Once I started I could not stop till I had finished. It struck me within 20 pages of the book that, yes, this would be what it was like to be one of the middle generations in a... Read more
Published on 20 Nov 2009 by Ransen Owen
5.0 out of 5 stars Litt a la Sci Fi
Toby Litt uses the science fiction genre to put his characters in unusual situations that would be difficult or impossible to achieve in any present day or historical literary... Read more
Published on 5 Aug 2009 by Keith D. Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun with extinction
This is a well-crafted book with evocative prose and nicely-rounded characters. Litt's style is unobtrusive and yet distinct in its lucidity. Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2009 by sft
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what I hoped for
I was hoping for an exciting space adventure, but I confess that I was very disappointed with this book. Read more
Published on 23 Mar 2009 by S. PURBRICK
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