In the first book of John Christopher's classic series, it is the year 2100, and the world is controlled by the machines called Tripods. Life goes on largely as it had in the pre-industrial era, as all of humanity is subject to mental controls that prevent anyone from challenging the established order.
Will, a 13-year-old living in the small English village of Wherton, is looking forward to the transition to adulthood, which will take place on the next "Capping Day" - until a chance meeting with a mysterious Vagrant named Ozymandias sends him on a quest to discover a world beyond the Tripods' control.
©1967 Samuel Youd (P)2011 Audible Ltd
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
No, as it is a children's book, one reading is fine, but I will listen to the whole series.
The description of the countryside and tripods are simple yet very effective.
Yes. I spread it over commutes, but if you wanted to you could spend the better part of a day and listen to the whole series. This first book is only just over 4 hours.
The book finishes off and you feel like it should of went on. So get the whole series and get on with the story. Loved this book, love the idea of tripods since that record came out in the late 70s, even loved the Tom Cruise movie 'War of the Worlds'. So do yourself a favour and get with the program. Listen to this book and enjoy an easy story.
As with City of Gold and Lead and Pool of Fire, John Christopher explains in the intro, how and why this series came about. He accomplished his goal, I think, in making a book that preteens would like and actually turned it into a trilogy that was entertaining and introduced adult themes such as freedom, politics, and others to young people so they can understand and form their own opinions.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This review will cover the prequel (When the Tripods Came) and the trilogy (The White Mountains, The City of Gold, and The Pool of Fire.) These are all more than slightly dated, quite British, and definitely pre-teen fare. A very young male audience may enjoy this series. I found the story modestly interesting but more than a bit derivative and conventional.
The prequel can be read before the trilogy, but it does not add much that is not described in the trilogy. The characters in the prequel are less developed, the action less compelling, and the story more predictable than the trilogy. The trilogy has decent British boy character development, and an interesting story with some (not very intense) action and a few interesting twists. Perhaps being written in the 60???s is some excuse for weak science (but there is a lot of great pre-60???s science fiction.)
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
... when you're nowhere at all.
In the introduction to The White Mountains, John Christopher says he wanted to write about medieval times, but his commission was to write in his best known genre, science fiction. So he changed the overlords to technomancers of unknown origin, changed their method of mind control from religion to wired-up brain caps, and wrote about the Middle Ages anyway.
Unfortunately, in trying to have it both ways, he did neither. He never establishes a medieval setting, except for one fabulous chapter set among the ruins of Paris. And he never explains why and how the Tripods came to rule the land. He no doubt gets to that later in the trilogy, but Christopher himself admits in the foreword that at the start, he himself did not know what the Tripods were -- Creative Writing 101, know your characters and their history even if you don't plan to cover it explicitly.
Worst of all, the story begins and concludes with such rapidity as to defy all credulity. Robert McKee in his (in)famous writing seminar spills the secret to credible plotting -- characters do the minimum necessary to achieve their goals, complications ensuing when they fail, forcing them to take additional measures. Christopher's characters immediately choose the most difficult, unexpected, non-believable course of action at the start of the story. It doesn't work.
I understand this was meant for teens, and I'm a jaded adult of advancing age. Still, just because you can fool youngsters who haven't figured these things out yet is no excuse for bad plotting. What a shame, because there is a lot of promise in the initial idea, even though it has since been hackneyed to death in umpteen versions.
(Bonus points to anyone who recognizes the headline reference.)
read this book when I was in middle school, about 10yrs ago. it still holds up even as an adult. the narrator does a great job. I'm just spoiled from podcasts with music and sound effects. everything should be done with that kind of quality.
Say something about yourself!
The White Mountains was assigned reading in my 6th grade language arts class. Rereading it as an adult was familiar and pleasant. It was interesting to see how much I remembered of the book.
The entire period when they were tempted to stay and be capped was much more memorable as an adult than it was as a child. Young adult dystopias tend to be a little heavy-handed, but Gaminara's reading made the challenges of the protagonists more realistic than Christopher's writing did.
I liked the voice he did for Beanpole quite a bit.
More or less, yes. It was shorter than my usual fare on Audible, so I finished it in about two sittings.
I would have been disappointed in the book, if I had skipped the intro. But, the author takes pains to explain that this series was intended for young readers, and he set the time frame when they were written as the 1960’s. That being understood, I got exactly what the author promised from the book. Good, simple, 1960’s ish, sci-fi ish, youth fiction. As I read, I could not help comparing these works with Heinlein’s juvenile work and often found myself thinking how pale it was in comparison. However, having recently re-read some of Heinlein’s works from near the same period, for the same audience, I realize my reverence for Heinlein might be influencing my judgement. By modern standards these works are painfully dated. They need better “science,” and better character development for a “modern” audience. As I read, I also could not help thinking how much the author “stole” from “War of the Worlds.” Interestingly enough in the second book of the series, the author talks about these similarities and claims not to have realized he was influenced by Well’s work during the writing, but only afterwards became aware that the tripods had been done before. I’m not sure I believe him, but he does get points for the admission.
Everything being said, I managed to finish book one and started book two. There was nothing in the book that was so bad that I could not finish it. It was entertaining to the end. Unfortunately, book two in the series seems to have lost its momentum, and it remains to be seen if I can finish it. In book two the characters are no better developed, and the plot falls apart totally into plans and actions and plot that is totally unbelievable and incomprehensible. In the first book the characters often did things that did not make sense, were stupid and unbelievable. That trend builds momentum fast in book two, and I am on the verge of giving it up. Unfortunately based on book one, I already have book three in my library. I don't expect to make it to book three at this point.
This is the first book in the ?Tripods? trilogy. The tripods (for those who don?t remember the BBC series) are large, three-legged creatures who have invaded earth and enslaved mankind. White Mountains is the story of a young boy called Will and various other humans who make a dangerous journey across the ?white mountains?, in order to make a stand against the tripods. It?s a great yarn, which I think younger Sci-Fi fans would probably also enjoy.
"Saw the TV programme as a kid in 80's"
I would listen to this book again, fantastic story, timeless sci-fiction oddly comforting given the nature of the story.
Will stands out at first, but I think overall Beanpole as I personally identify with the character.
Beautifully told by William Gaminara, characterisation was spot on, and let the story paint it own picture wonderfully easily in your imagination.
We all need our freedom
"A whole new world."
The audio books and my kindle have opened up a whole new world to me. Having had reading difficulties throughout my early life I am now able to enter a whole realm of adventure. I have devoured the Tripods series starting with The White Mountains and could not wait to follow Will's challenges and struggles to evade capture; to escape; his life as a slave to discover the Tripods life style. I never ever considered I would become a bookworm but I'm well and truly hooked and can't wait to listen to the next chapters. If you like adventure, science fiction and suspense, the whole series is a must and i'm so glad I purchased them.
I remember watching the 80s series so was really glad the actual books were available on audible. Loved the story, the only thing wrong with it is it was too short.
Earth in the future
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