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The Weathermonger (The Changes Trilogy, Book 1) Paperback – 9 Sep 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Collins Voyager; New Ed edition (9 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007140312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007140312
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Peter Dickinson lives in Hampshire with his second wife, author Robin McKinley. He has written more than fifty novels for adults and young readers. He has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children's Award twice, and his novel The Blue Hawk won The Guardian Award in 1975.

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This was a sci-fi-fastasy-ish novel written in the late 60s for young teenagers... it was adapted into a BBC children's serial ("The Changes") in the 1970s, which finally came out on DVD this year (2014). And that, dear reader, is why I, a bloke in his 40s with a fondness for old BBC sci-fi shows and the Radiophonic Workshop, ended up reading it... obviously I am not exactly its target audience! I haven't a clue what a young teenager of today would make of it, but comparing it to other books of similar ilk that I remember reading as a kid, I'd say it held it's own pretty well. The 'concept' of "The Changes" was fairly interesting (society goes into a luddite frenzy and smashes all the machines, returning to agricultural depravity), although the mechanics/explanation of "how it worked" was a bit handwavey (all seemed a bit "magic"). What was perhaps better done was the attention paid to the two child protagonist's escapades, in terms of the practicalities of journeying/escaping by boat, car, horse, etc - all done with a survivalist's attention to details - I can well imagine my 12 year old self enjoying imagining how I'd cope on a similar adventure, armed with the details provided here on gear changes, carburettors and horse bothering.
The book is also refreshingly free from any unpleasant political incorrectness.
The BBC serial was very much only "adapted from" these books, so although you'll recognise the odd set piece from the TV show, the actual plot of the book is not at all the same from what was on screen.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Classic fantasy suitable for all ages 8 Aug. 1997
By - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Weathermonger concludes The Changes Trilogy, with Margaret and Jonathan not only being attacked by the people of England but also by the weather. Everything, including nature, now opposes our duo in their quest to restore acceptance of technology to the larger Brittish isle. They must brave the worst to find a solution long dead and a man who may not want to help them. An interesting solution to an intriuging series
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"Strange that We Are the Only Three Who Ever Saw It..." 24 April 2009
By R. M. Fisher - Published on
Format: Paperback
"The Weathermonger" is apparently the third book in a trilogy, preceded by "The Devil's Children" and "Heartsease." Having not read those books, I can't comment on this installment's place in the overall trilogy or its relationship to the other two novels. I can however, say that had the blurb not informed me of two preceding books, I doubt I would have realized. It's completely self-contained novel, so in this case, one shouldn't feel that it's strictly necessary to track down the others in order to understand the story (however, you can buy the series in this omnibus edition: The Changes: A Trilogy).

Set in a vague idea of the future (or rather, as the future may have looked from a writer publishing in 1969) the story opens with Geoffrey and Sally, two siblings left adrift on a rock in the sea by their community. Confused by a knock on the head, Geoffrey is informed by Sally that their uncle has been killed after being found working on a motorboat, and that the two of them have been left to be drowned when the tide comes in.

After "The Changes," England has regressed back into primitive times, in which any machine or piece of technology is met with fear and loathing. Those unaffected by the bizarre state of mind have escaped to France, and that's where Geoffrey and Sally manage to escape - only to be sent back by the French authorities on a mission to discover where exactly the machine phobia stems from. The majority of the story concerns Geoffrey and Sally's dangerous cross-country journey across hostile territory to its surprising source, and Dickinson keeps tension high as they come across various friends and foes on the way.

I'm not sure why Geoffrey is given amnesia at the beginning, as it makes it difficult to get to know a character who doesn't really know himself (and we're never entirely clear as to whether he regains his memories). Perhaps it had something to do with the two previous books. Perhaps it was a way to get the exposition of the situation across to the reader, as Geoffrey has to have much explained to him. Either way, Geoffrey and his sister are pleasant enough kids, but they don't really seem to come alive as characters.

Dickinson writes in smooth, clear prose and the story charges along at a very brisk pace. It is a reasonably slender volume and most readers will have it done in one sitting. The book's most memorable feature is its moral ambiguity - there are no black-or-white characters or motivations here, and Dickinson's best character "Cyril Camperdown" (not his real name!) is a perfect example of this.

Altogether, "The Weathermonger" is a quick, interesting read and the irony of the last line brought a smile to my face.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Well-written British fantasy novel for young adults and adults 9 Oct. 2008
By J. Higgins - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Weathermonger" (1968) is the first book in the trilogy "The Changes", which is a highly regarded fantasy series for young adults, and older readers. This paperback edition is DAW book No. 104, and was published in 1974.

The novel is set in a late 60's Britain that has undergone a remarkable transformation. Some unknown force has converted a large proportion of the population into virulent Luddites, and the entire society of the British Isles has reverted to a quasi-medieval state, in which horsepower is the most advanced form of technology allowed. While unaffected, France and other European countries look on with some alarm, as their observation aircraft can detect a strange atmospheric disturbance emanating from the Welsh coast.

Geoffrey and his younger sister Sally are orphans who have been expelled from their village at Weymouth Bay for taking too great an interest in banned technologies. Geoffrey is the `weathermonger' of the title, with the seemingly innate ability to temporarily alter the local weather to suit his whims.

Geoffrey and Sally escape the wrath of their erstwhile neighbors and wind up in France, where they are given a critical assignment: return to England, and make their way to Wales and the center of the mysterious Power that has converted their country into its pastoral state. Can they successfully make this dangerous journey through a hostile countryside, and once they locate the source of the Luddite plague, can they hope to reverse its effects and restore their nation to normality ?

While this is a slim little book at only 158 pages, it's quite well-written and in many ways superior to the over-written and plodding contemporary 400+ page fantasy novels that one finds on the store shelves. The story is fast-moving but engaging, and very `British' in tone and temperament: the transformation of Merrie Olde England into a medieval economy is treated with ambivalence rather than regret. There are passages that pay affectionate homage to the British cultural icon the Rolls Royce `Silver Ghost' (and perhaps echoing in a deliberate fashion Ian Fleming's 1964 novel `Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'). While the children's travels through the summer countryside are suspenseful, and the country folk they encounter of dangerous mien, the author takes care to present the natural beauty of a world returning to a kind of ecological harmony since lost to modernity.

The confrontation between Geoffrey and Sally and the Power is understated, without much of the angst and furious action common to `conventional' fantasy climaxes. But it is still an effective and suitably dramatic scenario, and in keeping with the book's overall tenor.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
It's a good book i ever read. 1 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It's a good book i ever read. I think everyone would enjoy it
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