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Journey into Space Paperback – 5 Mar 2009


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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: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 831,263 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 www.tobylitt.com

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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Customer Reviews

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark Chitty on 13 Mar 2009
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
With what could you compare this highly original SF novel? Maybe the closest thing is 'Space Odyssey 2001'. The end of an Earth bound humanity and an exploration of space beyond Jupiter. In 'Journey Into Space' however a ship with colonists on board venture into deep Space to a planet in a far away alien solar system. They do that because the Earth is decaying. The voyage will take more than hundred years.

The spaceship took off more then hundred years ago. Since then several people died and several were born on the spaceship. The two protagonists of this novel are August and Celeste both of them are adolescents. They try to imagine how it was on Earth. They try to describe for instance to one another how it was to walk in the rain. They knew what rain was because they read it in a book or by listening to other people who actually remembered how life was on Earth. They want to feel how the wind was, blowing gently in their face. They want to smell flowers.

Those who set out on this journey are long-since dead. Those how will arrive at their destiny 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 not-being. Life lived in unending stasis, a state of inactivity. Then the unthinkable happens: two souls - August 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.

This novel was written by an author who has a rich imagination.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By topgazza on 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 copy...in 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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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 spaceship on a multi-generation trip. Scary.

There were 5 pages in the middle of description of a fantasy Lake District which in the end I skipped. And a few technical things bothered me, like morse code on shortwave, but no trouble transmitting images...

In the end though a book I am very glad I read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Marc Lyth on 13 Mar 2009
Format: Paperback
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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