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The Marianna Voyages Part I: How to Fill a Black Hole [Paperback]

Benjamin Hendy
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sep 2011
TWELVE LIGHT YEARS FROM EARTH, the massive starship The Magellan is 164 years into its journey into the unknown. A jounrey it is destined never to finish.

Finding themselves alone in space having lost everything they have ever known, Connor, Grace, Evelyn, Adam and Max face many terrifying ordeals. Whether it's fighting off giant venomous spiders on the acid planet Zulfura or an attack from four-winged vultures on Baldr, the children must their differences behind them and learn to work together if they are ever to find safety.

Can they find somewhere to call home again?
Will the mystery of their situation ever be resolved?
And will they ever be able to fight back?


Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Milliways Books (Sep 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0956996205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956996206
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,153,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Publisher

How To Fill A Black Hole is the thrilling first part in The Marianna Voyages series of children's books from exciting new author Benjamin Hendy. A book of emotional insight as well as heart-pounding adventure, it is sure to have children (and adults) everywhere on the edge of their seats and "turning the pages at light speed".

Part II of the series will be published in 2012.

When purchased from the publisher's website, £1 of the cover price will be given to Southampton Univeristy Hospitals Trust Charity's Children's Services Funds.

From the Author

In many ways, this book is very personal to me. It was based on ideas I first came up with when I was 10 years old. Remembering these as an adult, I have set out to write the book I wanted to read at that age, and hopefully it's a book that lots more children would like to read too!

Ultimately the idea was too big for just one book, and so I am now working on the second in series which will follow on directly from How To Fill A Black Hole. I hope the excitement I am getting from leading the children at the centre of the story into new adventures will be felt by all my readers.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New sci-fi intrigue and adventure for kids 17 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback
I've been lucky enough to see an early preview of this break-out science fiction adventure. They didn't have any books like this in the library when I was 10 or so, but this is what I would have loved! A dark menace lurks at the heart of this story, shadowing the adventures of two families hurtling through the vastness of space. They squabble and sneer, but together they face their future... alone?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Space-age adventure 5 Dec 2011
Format:Paperback
Filling the gap in the market for a serial about children marooned in space, along comes Benjamin Hendy's debut novel How To Fill A Black Hole.

The book opens in 2412, at which point Earth has been uninhabitable for 150 years and humans have been relocated to a colossal spaceship coursing into the unknown. We meet Connor, Grace, Evelyn, Adam and Max just before disaster befalls their parents (and most other inhabitants of the ship they called home), and the five youngsters (aged eight to 15) begin an adventure through space to safety.

Crudely described (by me!) as a cross between Lord of the Flies and Red Dwarf, How To Fill A Black Hole takes the characters on a journey that sees them fighting giant venomous spiders and four-winged vultures, as well as meeting a few more friendly characters who offer a glimpse of hope in their desolate environment. And while the impetus for the novel is clearly the kids' adventure, I was curious to read it from the perspective of how they handle their grief, isolation and possible futility. As yet, these issues have not been thoroughly explored but then this is only the first book in the series. I was also desperate to know how thorny issue of puberty was going to affect the characters. (Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now is a great example of a young adult's novel tackling life, grief and growing-up without adult supervision.)

How To Fill A Black Hole is surprisingly gripping for a debut novel, and there are plenty of cliff hangers and dark twists to keep you engaged. Being a first book, there's a few teething problems that will doubtless get ironed out as Hendy develops the series: in places the dialogue is a little clunky and I wondered why - in 2412 - the characters were listening to Abba and Dusty Springfield.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent start 4 Mar 2012
By Bibsea
Format:Paperback
Whilst out of the intended age range for this book I thought that I would give it a go, as it looked exactly the sort of thing that I would have enjoyed in my childhood or teenage years. The story follows 5 children (and a robot) on a journey through space after their ship is destroyed by a malevolent and mysterious force known only as 'The Shark'. Much like a character in another well known children's book, this background threat is persistent throughout and gives the feeling of being about to strike at any time. The difference is that The Shark is a complete unknown, which keeps the intrigue alive without being too menacing.

The characters are very well defined, perhaps a little too obviously in some places but again this is something that comes with the territory of the intended age range. This would make it very easy for younger readers to relate, and the awkward relationships between the characters will be all too familiar to children of that age.

One thing that was especially impressive was the way that the futuristic technologies are incorporated into the story. Ideas such as new chemicals and materials, advanced robotics and even multi-dimensional travel are introduced and explained in a way that is not only interesting, but simple. For someone not au fait with this sort of thing, it is explained in an easy and flowing manner. For a young person with dreams of space and the future, it's ideal.

The jumps between scenes are a little abrupt, owing in part to the short length of the novel, but for a first book in a series this is an excellent introduction to what looks like being an exciting journey for the children in the book, and for anybody reading it. It is most definitely intended for teenagers looking for something beyond the standard sci-fi fare, but I enjoyed it immensely and will look forward to reading the next in the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read with some great Sci Fi 16 May 2012
By David
Format:Paperback
I'm a bit past the target audience age range, but thoroughly enjoyed the story - especially some of the very fresh and creative technology ideas. Will happily buy the next instalment when it is available.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Asimov meets Harry Potter 20 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback
I purchased this book for my young daughter eho has enjoyed this first installment immensely. A great story to introduce kids to the genre of SCIFI and can be best descibed as Issac Asimov meets JK Rowling. A thorougly recommended read and we both await the next installment with much anticipation.
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