Johnny Maxwell Trilogy

Johnny and the Bomb

Johnny and the Bomb

Johnny and the Bomb (Johnny Maxwell Trilogy #3) By: Terry Pratchett


Everyone thinks that Mrs Tachyon is just the local bag lady, a bit smelly and a bit mad. But Mrs Tachyon is somehow at the centre of an amazing time travel facility. Johnny and his friends find themselves transported back 50 years, where no-one’s ever heard of a biro, let alone a Big Mac.


Well I didn’t get the closure I was looking for, but in the end I don’t think that’s a bad thing. This is a children’s book and I was trying to remember when I was a child if I cared about what happened later to characters. Unfortunately I can’t remember, maybe I didn’t and that’s why it happens so often in children’s books. Kids don’t think that far into the future so why should their books.

I really enjoyed this series, even though it was a kids book it didn’t mess around. Johnny may think that he’s an idiot but he’s a lot smarter than he gives himself credit and honestly I wish there was more about him. The fact that so much happens around him and the theory that it’s because his imagination is so big his head can’t contain it, is interesting.

It has definitely made me want to read more Terry Pratchett. I’ve read Good Omens and loved it. I read the first Discworld book and thought it was ok, but wasn’t inspired to read further. I might have to try the second one.


Johnny and the Dead

Johnny and the Dead

Johnny and the Dead (Johnny Maxwell #2) By: Terry Pratchett


Not many people can see the dead (not many would want to). Twelve-year-old Johnny Maxwell can. And he’s got bad news for them: the council want to sell the cemetery as a building site. But the dead have learnt a thing or two from Johnny. They’re not going to take it lying down . . .especially since it’s Halloween tomorrow. Besides, they’re beginning to find that life is a lot more fun than it was when they were…well…alive. Particularly if they break a few rules . . .


I expected this to be a direct sequel, to talk about the video game aliens, maybe tell me more about Johnny’s unexpected ability. That’s not really what this is. It does continue with Johnny but he no longer talks to video game aliens, instead he can now see dead people.

In case you were wondering this book did come before The Sixth Sense.

I like the fact that Pratchett doesn’t stick with one power, sure Johnny can find a way into video games but he can also talk to the dead. He’ll probably get to do something else in the next book. It would have been interesting to continue on with the video games but he would have ended up having to give more details and explanations and while I probably would have found it interesting I’m sure it would have gotten boring.

I hope I get some answers about Johnny in the next one, not really about his abilities, but more about what’s going to happen to him.


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.