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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: 789,653 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

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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

3.2 out of 5 stars
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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
Toby Litt is one of my favourite authors, largely as a result of Corpsing - a crime novel I really, really enjoyed. His other novels are all different, but all interesting, even if they aren't always quite as delightful.

When I found out that he'd written a science fiction novel about a Journey into Space, I got quite excited. I like scifi/speculative fiction, and I was curious what this literary author might do with the idea.

Journey into Space is quite an experimental novel. Set aboard a ship that will take several lifetimes to reach its destination, with 100 human colonists on boarrd, none of whom have ever seen Earth, and none of whom will be alive when the ship reaches its destination, there is a lot of room for interesting, original, and quite dark writing.

We start with two teenagers and their game of imagining and describing Earth to each other. At first, it is alienating, but it becomes more powerful - and especially once they do single sentence descriptions, there is something poetic about it all. Over time, we follow them and several other generations until the ship arrives somewhere.

On some levels, I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if it never outlasted one generation. There are several big turning points (one of which is told in a ten page metaphor - highly experimental, but ultimately, deeply unsatisfying), several big characters, but the book never really feels consistent. There are big ironies in it, and a dark sense of humour, and bleakness, and humanity, but somehow, each time the plot accelerates by many years, it feels like a little human detail is lost. This is not, ultimately, a story of lost generations, but a story of progression up to a specific point.
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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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