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on 14 October 2003
Rebecca's World: Journey to the Forbidden Planet

This is a book which cries out for a re-print! I was given a copy of Rebecca's World when I was eight, and I loved it so much that I never wanted it to come to an end. Sadly, I lost the book many years ago and only recently came across an affordable copy. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to buy it.

Rebecca is a wonderful character, one that is instantly recognisable to any child, or adult, who during a boring holiday wishes they were off having a fabulous adventure elsewhere. Rebecca finds that her wish is swiftly granted when she plays with a telescope in her father's study. Magically she is transported to a different world.

The friends that Rebecca makes during her adventures are delightful: a superhero in a threadbare costume and with a rather un-heroic physique, a man with an endless layer of coats and the most painful feet in the world, and finally, a spy who is inept with disguises and not terribly good at spying. They make a great team. As do the villains and the monsters that appear, thanks to Terry Nation's creativity with both. Some of them can be quite disturbing due to the excellent illustrations by Larry Learmonth that accompany the text. The tongue twister monster in particular is very creepy, perhaps more so to me as an adult than when I was a child.

While there are traditional aspects to the story they are expressed in an inventive way, an encounter with the Bad Habits, for example, they don't detract from the overall inventiveness and imagination. There are so many wonderful elements to this book, it will draw you into the world completely and it's a sad moment when Rebecca returns home, taking you with her.

Considering that Terry Nation is best known for his ground-breaking television writing (Dr.Who, Blakes 7, Survivors and others) it's not too surprising that his children's book has been sadly overlooked as a classic.
I wish he could have written another Rebecca adventure but as that is impossible now; a plea to whoever holds the rights, please do get this book published again!

Edit: As I've already written a review for an out-of-print paperback version I'm unable create a new one. The below is a review of the Rebecca's World CD audiobook by Big Finish Productions (2010).

It was by chance that I came across this version; I have to admit that initially I was a little dubious about buying it even with my respect and liking for the actor, Paul Darrow, who is narrator/voice actor for this. How would the story be handled? What kind of production would it have?

I overcame my doubts and bought it and I am very glad I did. To me, the production is good quality, with crisp sound for the narration, some good (and less good) sound effects and incidental music. I think that it was a nice touch that an illustration by Larry Learmonth, the book's original illustrator, was used for the CD cover. The adaptation from the original has been well done, in fact you'd barely notice any changes as mostly it's a few lines per chapter that have been taken out to tighten up the flow of the story.

It can take a little getting used to on first listen. Paul Darrow has an excellent voice for narration with a warm timbre and an ability to communicate nuance very well. The opening, with its introduction of Rebecca, can be a little stiff sounding though. When speaking Rebecca's dialogue and unvocalised thoughts he does it in his own voice rather than try and imitate a young girl's. I found that a wise decision.

When Rebecca arrives on the mysterious planet she has been transported to Mr. Darrow really starts getting into his stride. His voice work as the scientist Rebecca first meets is superb, especially as he captures delightfully the sneering tone and laugh. As Rebecca meets the characters who become her friends the narration work becomes a little more tricky. The characters of Grisby, Captain K and Kovak each have a distinct voice. Unfortunately, on a couple of occasions Mr. Darrow does slip up on which voice goes with which character. I think that's an understandable error though.

The most distinctive character voice has to go the main villain, Mister Glister. Mister Glister's voice starts out rather quiet, over time it becomes much more pronounced as being James Mason-esque. I thought this was the perfect voice acting choice to take; the English received pronunciation accent with its plummy and menacing tones suits the smarmy and ruthless character.

Despite the minor flaws it is obvious that Paul Darrow has a whale of a time narrating. He does capture the feel of the book wonderfully and keeps the pace of the story flowing well.

The music and sound effects used can be a little variable in places. The sound effects of the main monsters (the GHOSTS) are pretty good with a creepy collection of hisses, moans, cries and mutters. In comparison the scene with Rebecca and her friends encountering the Scarepeople is less convincing. Here the laughing and screaming is obviously taken from a loop of hyenas or primates (perhaps both) and is somewhat over-used. It can be intrusive on the dialogue. I found most of the incidental music really lovely and the pieces matched the atmosphere of the book.

The last track on the second CD features a short interview with Lisa Bowerman, the director, Paul Darrow and David Richardson, the producer. I found this a charming addition as they chat casually about the production, the book, Terry Nation and other details.

I think that this is well-worth buying. It captures the spirit of Rebecca's World and it is a great way to be introduced, or re-acquainted, with the story for a very reasonable price.
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on 8 October 2000
This was the first book i ever read, and really enjoyed at the same time. That was 11yrs ago. I have just recently bought it, and it still is a cracking read. I recommend this book to anyone who needs, or wants to take up reading again, of if u want your children to start reading, instead of playing on thwere computer consoles, and surfing the net! Just sit back and enjoy the tale of rebecca and her newly found friends, grisby, a sore footed grumbler, captain 'k', a wimpish super hero, and kovac, an undercover spy (! )...
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on 30 November 2000
i have read rebecca's world to hundreds of six to ten year olds in the last twenty years and every time i read the book it seems to be the perfect story. a comic fantasy with a serious environmental subtext.
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on 29 December 2000
I read this book when very young, and recently ordered it specially from a bookshop because I could still remember it, 10 years later. The scenes in this book are magical and eerie, the sort of things you might have dreampt about one night and remembered tiny, vivid pieces about it for the rest of your life. Now I read this book again I see hidden messages in the story that went unnoticed when I was younger, which makes this book a joy to read for people of all ages with imagination and sentimentality.
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on 2 September 2011
I remember this book from when I was at primary school and read it 11 times before my teacher found out that I was reading the same book from the school library over and over again. I always remembered it and was delighted to see it again. I have read it a few times since. It is a childrens book but is well written and even for a childrens book the plot is good and has a very imaginative and with an exiting ending. Although I am a couple of years older than when I originally read it I am very please to have a copy and know that I can read it as many times as I like.
The story is about a young girl who gets whisked away to a magical far away world but finds something very strange is going on. There are no trees but all the adults pay a lot of money to a man to get into a tower made of wood when ghosts arrive. There is no other defence and if they do not pay they will definitely be killed. The children are ok but teenagers are in constant danger of becoming adults, and therefore being killed, during an attack. Rebecca is frightened by the man who seems to own everything, including the tower, and having been in his house runs away to escape him. The journey with a variety of friends takes her through various adventures in an attempt to find the last tree so the ghosts can be defeated and the world made happy again. They find the last tree but it is surrounded by ghosts and then the evil rich man cuts the tree down soon after Rebecca and friends arrive and all is lost, or is it? You will have to read the book to see if there is a happy ending as the ghosts and bad people advance on Rebecca and her party. It is also written by the person who invented the Daleks and I understand it is the only childrens book he ever wrote.
Just under 100 pages of exciting adventure for children with nothing really frightening but none the less exciting for primary school children, and those who were once primary school children.
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on 28 February 2000
This is still my very favourite book - and I am now 28! It is the first book I ever finished and thought "I will never forget that story" and I never did. I have just re-read it and it is as magical now as it was then. A wonderful book for children, I would insist mine read it.
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on 16 January 2000
This story grabbed my attention from start to finish when I was at school and it still has the same affect today. It is wonderful for childrens' imaginations and adults alike.
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on 25 June 2003
I first read this book as an 8 year girl and remember being drawn into the pages as if I were Rebecca herself. I have now managed to get a copy of the book for my own child and as I was reading it to him, I became that 8 year old girl again.
Rebecca is transported to a far away star where she meets a group of interesting characters. Together they try to outwit the greedy Mister Glister who is trying to build on his wealth by taking from all the other peoploe that live on the star. Along the way Rebecca and her friends meet a number of challengs and various strange but interesting characters who are trying to stop them from acheiving their goal.
This is an excellant tale of adventure and fantasy to be enjoyed by adults and children alike. My own son,. who is now 8 puts it at the top of his list of favourites.
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on 21 July 2013
I adore this book. Even in my late thirties I return to it often, it's absolutely one of the best books of my childhood and I was so gutted at having lost my copy, my mother decommissioned the copy from the library she was working at to give to me, bless her heart (to be fair it hadn't been borrowed for several years and it was part of her job to move the less popular books out of circulation lol) I'm rereading as we speak, and I'd almost forgotten how much fun it is. The GHOSTS, the trees, the map, the splinter birds, the big bad Mr Glister, and of course Rebecca and her most unusual friends :D
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on 16 May 2009
I remember having this read to our class in junior school and I absolutely loved it! It is testament to the book that so many of us remember it from childhood and still long to own it again now!
I'm really annoyed because I saw a hardback copy of this book in the Bookbarn near me about a year ago for about £3 but stupidly didn't buy it - doh! I really regret that decision now - I didn't realise it was so expensive to buy. Definately going to be going back to the Bookbarn and scouring the shelves....fingers crossed! ha ha.
Awesome book!
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