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D. Saunders "Professional cynic, but my heart's not in it" (Sunny southern England)

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Terra (Terra 1)
Terra (Terra 1)
by Mitch Benn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

5.0 out of 5 stars From Fnrr with love., 21 July 2013
This review is from: Terra (Terra 1) (Hardcover)
Lbbp is a Fnrr'n scientist. He's fascinated by what he knows as Rrth, but despises the humans that inhabit it. Like a true scientist, however, he's about to bring home a specimen.

That specimen is the baby that he names Terra, and this is the story of her childhood.

Mitch Benn; talented comedian, masterful songwriter, bloody nice bloke, and now gifted author. It's just not fair. I have none of these talents, let alone a mastery of all of them.

On the one hand, Terra is a kids book; my 9 year old son has read it, and loved it . On the other hand, it's hugely enjoyable by all; I read it in the space of a few hours, and am chomping at the bit for part two (out next year). Terra isn't a perfect book by any means - Benn romps through the story at a fair rate of knots when the action picks up towards the end, and there's more than a little bit of deus ex machina at times - but it *is* fundamentally a kids book. Kids couldn't give a shit if things are resolved in a sudden way, as long as they're resolved in a satisfying way.

And that's the key to Terra; it's satisfying.

We find ourselves in a world where authors are only too keen to kill off major characters (Martin and Rowling, I'm glaring at you), which perhaps makes for an emotional reaction, but doesn't give the reader a sense of justice. Mitch follows a pleasing, familiar, unchallenging route. This sounds a little like a criticism, but it's really not. Sometimes you want a story that pans out how you're expecting it to. That's not to say there aren't peril and hiccups along the way though. Not everything is hunky dory on Fnrr.

As a kids book, Terra is a roaring success. It teaches kids that it's ok to feel different, that however you may be on the outside, inside we're all the same. To an adult, that may feel like a preachy lesson, because we take it for granted. Kids aren't blessed with that knowledge, so have to learn it from somewhere. Crucially, despite being different from her classmates, Terra is popular. You have no idea how important this sense of self-esteem is to kids. Mitch doesn't treat kids as stupid either. He's got two young daughters, he knows how bloody sharp they are, so he's written this accordingly. Fnrr has a clock based on colour shades, he doesn't take the time to explain how it works, he lets the reader figure it out, adding to that feeling of satisfaction.

Above all, the feeling I got from Terra is that Mitch Benn loves people. Yes, we're flawed in so many ways, and yes, we're more than a little bit stupid, but deep down we're good people. We'll get there in the end.

Terra is a worthwhile addition to your collection, whether you have kids or not. Pick up a copy and escape to Fnrr, you won't regret it.

We Were Exploding Anyway
We Were Exploding Anyway
Price: £9.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A shade mightier than magnificent., 26 April 2010
A new album from 65DaysOfStatic is always a special moment for me, and this one has been no exception.

We Were Exploding Anyway is an onslaught of noisy metal guitars and hypnotic looping techno beats, perfectly melded to transport your tired brain to a better place. From the pounding drums and dirty bass that open Mountainhead, to the gentle fade at the end of the glorious Tiger Girl, there's barely any let up in the proceedings, and that suits me just fine.

As with any 65dos record, listening to it is more akin to a religious experience than a simple record. Put it on through a pair of half decent headphones, crank up the volume, and let it take you away to a better place.


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