It’s a perk, nay privilege, of working for a publisher that I often get to see manuscripts of books long before anyone else. So you may well see a few posts like this where I’ll start eulogising about a book that you won’t be able to read for months if not longer.
But I finished this one on the train home today and I’m still fizzing about it and I like to wax lyrical about stuff I like while it’s still fresh. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, but if you’re the kind of person who thinks a spoiler is hearing anything at all to do with the story (and there are people out there like that), then adios and I’ll see you next time, amigo.
There’s a great story behind how Simon Spanton at Gollancz acquired this book, and being a fan of Mitch Benn’s songs on the Now Show I was definitely intrigued if maybe a tad doubtful. ‘Celebrity’ authors’ books (though I doubt Mitch would cast himself as your typical sleb) are usually an exercise in stunt publishing and a quick buck for all concerned*, but by the end of the first page I was totally convinced that this was something special.
I won’t say too much other than TERRA begins with an alien from a distant planet abducting a human baby on Earth. The story starts like a Roald Dahl classic with the worst parents in the world, and then becomes a love letter to Douglas Adams, and then becomes its own thing entirely; truly wonderful, laugh out loud funny and genuinely moving, wearing its heart on its sleeve and daring you not to blub near the end. If there’s one criticism, it’s that it has that old SF trope ‘silly name syndrome’ – all consonants and no vowels – but even that seems to be a tip of the hat to Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles and you soon get into the groove.
The only downside is that it’s not out till 2013, but it’s going to be a key book for Gollancz and I’m sure you won’t be able to miss it. In the meantime, here’s Mitch’s finest 5m 27s…
*Yes, I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think Katie Price writes every word of her bestselling novels. Anne Widdecombe does write all her own stuff however, so you takes your choice…
9 thoughts on “Mitch Benn’s Terra”
Does w&n still publish miss widdis books? Mitch benn sounds interesting and I am not a big reader of sf.
There was supposed to be a Widdy book this autumn, but has moved to 2013.
You’ll love the Mitch Benn, trust me!
Hi Mark, Great story of how Gollancz acquired the book. Perfect example of ‘carpe diem’.
Like you, I’m a Mitch Benn fan, so Teera is on my ‘must have’ list, but 2013 is a vague release date – would it be early 2013 or is it aimed for nearer Christmas that year?
Not sure of the release date. I’ll check when I’m back in the office, but at Orion we love to change pub dates on an hourly basis, so this far out I wouldn’t believe anything…
Just checked and it’s currently scheduled for July 2013.
Oops! Spelt the book name wrong. Meant Terra not Teera. Raindrops on the iPhone screen obscured the text.
Raindrops…? Or tears of joy, Phill?
Produce an editable ebook so you can do a search and replace for characters called Rffgtgu’r and D-tssurlk and call them Geoff and Pete?
That… is a bloody brilliant idea! I may have to nick that, Jess. Thanks!