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Only You Can Save Mankind (Johnny Maxwell) [Paperback]

Terry Pratchett
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 April 2004 Johnny Maxwell (Book 1)


As the mighty alien fleet from the latest computer game thunders across the 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?

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Only You Can Save Mankind (Johnny Maxwell) + Johnny and the Dead (Johnny Maxwell) + Johnny and the Bomb (Johnny Maxwell)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi Childrens; New Ed edition (29 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552551031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552551038
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Terry Pratchett is the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he is the author of fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he is the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. Worldwide sales of his books now stand at 70 million, and they have been translated into thirty-seven languages.

Photography © David Bird

Product Description


"An impressively original book with its thrills and spills, its inventiveness, its wit and continuous readability" (Daily Telegraph)

"A wonderful new Pratchett-style fantasy: funny and thrilling enough for anyone who can read fluently" (Daily Mail)

"Funny and exciting" (Spectator)

"Terry Pratchett's funny, fast-moving story makes provocative reading for all computer game players . . . Makes a serious point out of a ridiculously comic example" (Children's Books of the Year)

"Everyone should read Terry Pratchett. Maybe it should be part of the National Curriculum?" (Families)

Book Description

The first of Terry Pratchett's terrific fantasy novels starring Johnny Maxwell - now with a brand-new look

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's just a game--isn't it? 21 Aug 2003
Only You Can Save Mankind is the first book in Terry Pratchett's Johnny Maxwell trilogy. While this is considered juvenile or young adult fiction, it's a lot of fun for adults as well. It seems a little strange to journey with Terry Pratchett to a place other than the Discworld, but this little jaunt is quite enjoyable. Johnny Maxwell is a rather typical twelve year old boy; he's not smart or popular or rich, and he tends to prefer operating below the radar of those around him. He is living in Trying Times, basically having to take care of himself for the most part while his parents argue and come ever closer to splitting up. Like any kid, he enjoys a good computer game every now and then, and his friend Wobbler, born to be a hacker, supplies him with just about any illegally pirated game he could want. As earth's last remaining fighter, he has destroyed all but the last big alien ship in the game Only You Can Save Mankind when a message suddenly appears on the screen: We wish to talk. Thus begins a journey that takes him inside the game as the Chosen One, the human who will lead the alien ScreeWee race back to safety beyond The Boundary. The reptilian captain of the ScreeWee is tired of fighting; the human fighters appear out of nowhere, kill and destroy ships in her fleet, and keep coming back no matter how many times they are killed. She has seen what happened to the Space Invaders and would rather surrender than die fighting.
You don't have to remember playing Space Invaders to enjoy this book, but it does make the story a little more enjoyable. As always with Pratchett, the characters are well-developed and quite remarkable.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! 15 Feb 2001
By A Customer
I am only 15 years old but ANYONE of any age can and should read this book. There i was in my local (library that is!) looking through the sci-fi section and for some reason this book fell of the shelf. I picked it up and instead of putting it back it caught my eye so i loaned it out and to this day it is still my favourite book. This is the 7th time of reading this book after loaning it from my school library. A book you never want to put down. FANTASTIC!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By R Jacob
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read all the Disc World series I was supprised to come across the Johnny Maxwell books, as much to my embarrasment I had not heard of them before.
With wonderful observation on life, Terry brings together a lovable group of characters, which in my opinion rival the wonderful Famous Five and Serect Seven creations of my childhood.
Humour (as always from TP), imagination, subltle social comment on both sexism, racism and deprivation, this book is a wonderful read. Who else but Mr. Pratchett himself could link the Geneva converntion with a surrendering alien force in a computer game?
Don't think, just buy it!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If not you, who else? 26 July 2001
By A Customer
Johnny loves this computer game, Only You Can Save Mankind. But the aliens, the ScreeWee, don't. Johnny is, after all, the Hero with a Thousand Extra Lives. They all have one life. When they die, they die. Forever. So the alien Captain decides to take matters in her own hands, and surrenders. Johnny finds himself trying, not to save mankind from the alien hordes, but to save the alien hordes from mankind. But plenty of advice from his loopy friends, a terminally clever girl named Sigourney, and the Captain herself, and Johnny takes on mankind so the aliens can fly away home. If not him, says the Captain, then who else?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett on Top Form 2 Jun 2006
Only You Can Save Mankind is the first in the Johnny Maxwell series- and what a series!

This book, despite being for young people, is just as clever and strange as the Discworld series, so just about anyone with a sense of humour can appreciate it. It's surprisingly thought-provoking and layered, with Johnny's own troubled home life lying under the basic plotline and the subtle inclusian of the war on the TV, and makes sly nods at not just Space Invaders but the classic Sci-Fi film Alien too- look out for the easter eggs, you'd be surprised. Absorbing, funny and a very, very worthwhile read. Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
If you are a Discworld fan, and you like Terry's style of writing, you won't be disappointed. This book asks you to stop and think about some of the things you believe are reality, and wonder if on some plane of reality somewhere, things are really happening like this. When Johnny starts playing a computer game, and the aliens surrender, he becomes partly immersed in another reality where when kids shoot the aliens on the screen, the aliens REALLY die. REALLY. Thought provoking, intelligent, and funny.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Saving mankind 2 Jan 2011
This is my least favourite of the "Johnny" books by Terry Pratchett but since it went on the bookshelf at school - 11 year olds - I've found it hard to keep track of it. Johnny find himself on the inside of a "Shoot-'em dead" computer game where he is regarded a a sort of savoiur. Definitely is making the boys in this class think hard.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! 12 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Are you among those who love to play video games like "Space Invaders"? Well, what would you do if you were in the middle of the final battle that's supposed to save mankind and all of a sudden received the message "We surrender"?? Read this book and find out how Johnny copes! The best one in the Johnny-series!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 27 days ago by Mrs. P. Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love terry pratchett as always he hasn't failed to deliver
Published 1 month ago by Sarah Harley
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
the copy I have received is completely different to the one that is shown here
Published 2 months ago by kay pimbley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by christopher middleton
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good product, no discworld, but good all the same
Published 3 months ago by Steven Bowen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great fun read
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing, Insightful and Funny
Pratchett moves away from Disc World offering us life through the eyes of a young boy called Johnny. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. Colin Mcelhatton
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep themes, great read
As well as a good story, well told, "Only You Can Save Mankind" is the best exploration of war, pacifism, xenophobia, racism and intolerance for children that I have ever met. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Ian Johnston
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Enjoyed this book very much great twist on Time Travel Terry Pratchett at his best Good read for Young and old
Published 11 months ago by Mr. A. Banks
3.0 out of 5 stars Audio book
Out of the Johnny books I always thought this one was the best as a kid. Got it for long car journeys with work, which it helped pass by quite quick. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Smally
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