Only You Can Save Mankind

Only You Can Save Mankind

Only You Can Save Mankind (The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy #1) By: Terry Pratchett


It’s just a game . . . isn’t it? The alien spaceship is in his sights. His finger is on the Fire button. Johnny Maxwell is about to set the new high score on the computer game Only You Can Save Mankind. Suddenly, a message appears: We wish to talk. We surrender. But the aliens aren’t supposed to surrender—they’re supposed to die!


This book leaves a lot of questions unanswered, really making me wish I already had the second one. Great story and would highly recommend to anyone, not just the kids this book was written for.

The setting is during the first Gulf War, I was pretty young at the time, but since my dad was over there I remember watching a lot of news. The images he comes back to over and over in the book are images I remember seeing.

There’s a lot of mystery around Johnny. His parents are getting a divorce and forgetting about him during the process. He thinks he’s smarter in his dreams than in real life, but I think it’s more of a confidence issue. He’s a kid that’s going through a Trying Time and getting lost in the shuffle. It’s sad.

That’s not the main focus of the book, though. While playing a video game the aliens he’s killing surrender to him. What’s amazing is that Johnny lets them. They’d tried surrendering before but none of the other players would accept, Johnny was the only one. It reminds me of the video game Fable where you can choose to be good or evil. This world is too early to have played Fable though so they’ve never had options. It’s always been kill the aliens.

The premise is interesting and there’s more than just the video game issue going on, Johnny’s friends and family life are complicated too. Good amount of depth in the story and I’m really hoping the library has the next one in the series when I go in.


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