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GONE BY MICHAEL GRANT!!!

I have been reading this series of book and i think it is AMAZING no joke this book is one of the best I have EVER read I luuuuve it i i would recommend it to anyone with a strong stomach!!!!

It’s axiomatic that for the fun to start the adults must be disposed of. Michael Grant does this in the most perfunctory and audacious way. From a chunk of southern California, everyone over the age of 15 vanishes in an instant, just like that – poof! Teachers in mid-sentence, drivers from cars, parents at home, all gone. These opening pages are excellent; the “liberated” children’s swift modulation from thrilled excitement to panic is deftly, economically and wittily written. (The first screams come when the kids realise their cellphones and the internet are down.)

It transpires that the small town of Perdido Beach and its environs have been isolated from the world by an egg-shaped force-field. Our hero, Sam Templeton, and his friends Astrid, Quinn and Edilio assume responsibility for holding anarchy at bay. A sweet girl called “Mother” Mary takes charge of the pre-school nursery. In a lovely touch, a boy named Albert sombrely reopens McDonald’s, aware that the availability of number-one combos is the linchpin of civilisation as we know it. Then a convoy of cars from Coates Academy creeps into town. Coates is a residential school for “difficult” (for which read “deeply weird”) children. The leader of the contingent is Caine, a charismatic boy who mellifluously assumes power. He is, of course, Bad, and soon enough a battle between Sam and Caine, Good and Evil, develops.

We would seem, then, to be in Lord of the Flies territory. But Gone is no dystopian parable. It is not bothered overmuch with questions about social cohesion in the absence of authority. Grant addresses a far more pressing FAQ, namely “What the hell can we write to lure boys away from their PlayStations and Xboxes?” His answer – and he’s not a lone voice – is “Books that are prose versions of games”. And he has succeeded brilliantly in producing one. The action is incessant; the kids discover or acquire superpowers (death ray or healing hands, telekinesis, invisibility); they mutate (into Gravel Boy or Whip Hand); violence is continuous and incrementally gruesome; there’s a clock running (both Sam and Caine, who turn out to be – surprise, surprise – twin brothers, are fast approaching their 15th birthdays); religion is scattered throughout the text, but it’s nothing more than another grab from the tool bar. It’s like reading through your jittering thumbs.

Writing the “game novel” involves certain sacrifices, of course, but these are only literary. In Gone, the characters are crude two-dimensional digitisations, their motives sketchy. Dialogue is recycled from American action movies. Narrative moves from level to level, answerable to no logic other than its own, unconcerned with authenticity. Like the game, it refuses joyfully to have anything to do with real life. It’s very exciting.

Grant knows exactly what he’s doing. Now and again, he allows himself irony. In the best chapter of the book, Albert goes to the library to research the meaning of “work”. “He found a set of encylopedias – like Wikipedia, but paper and very bulky … It was exactly like following hyperlinks, but slower, and with more lifting.”

Does it all work? Well, yes, in one respect at least. Gone comes across the Atlantic on a tsunami of rave reviews, most of them posted on websites by teenagers. That’s a result, and you really can’t argue with it. Grant left me wondering if it might be possible to marry the reductive conventions of the game console to real writing. In total there shall be 6 books in order 1 to 6 Gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague, Darkness, Light. The book has quite a large online fan base on a site of which I am a member of called http://www.gaiaphage.com on the website people can chat and make there own F,ART and Fan Endings and there is even a text RPG forum on there it is a community of around 170 users I hope that anyone who CAN read reads this.

Sourced from TheGuardian.co.uk

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