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Planesrunner (Everness, Book One) Hardcover – December 20, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Everness Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Smashing adventure fiction that spans the multiverse without ever losing its cool or its sense of style. Ian McDonald is one of the greats of science fiction, and his young adult debut is everything you could hope for: romantic, action packed, wildly imaginative, and full of heart." --Cory Doctorow, author For the Win

"This is science fiction adventure at its best, and at its core is Everett, the heroic little geekling that we all wanted to be as kids... With "Ten Known Worlds" as part of this book's lore... I want an interdimensional passport ASAP... The adventure simply never stops... Snappy dialogue...and fascinating details round out this marvelous series debut." --Speculative Fiction Examiner

"Science fiction rules in this stellar series opener about a boy who travels to parallel universes. What joy to find science fiction based on real scientific concepts... In his debut for teens, established science-fiction writer McDonald builds a world just different enough to charm readers into believing, populating it with entertaining, quirky characters, spicing up the story with Punjabi cooking and a secret dialect (complete with glossary) and explaining the multiverse theory in readily comprehensible terms. Suspense rules, and Everett's advantages come from both his football goalie skills and his intelligence. Shining imagination, pulsing suspense and sparkling writing make this one stand out. As [character] Sen would say, "fantabulosa bona."" --Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

About the Author

Ian McDonald is the author of Planesrunner, Be My Enemy, and Empress of the Sun, in the Everness series. He has written thirteen science fiction novels--including the 2011 John W. Campbell Memorial Award winner for Best Novel, The Dervish House--as well as Brasyl, River of Gods, Cyberabad Days, Ares Express, Desolation Road, King of Morning, Queen of Day, Out on Blue Six, Chaga, and Kirinya.  He's been nominated for every major science fiction award, and even won some. McDonald also works in television and in program development--all those reality shows have to come from somewhere--and has written for screen as well as print. He lives in Northern Ireland, just outside Belfast, and loves to travel.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr; First Edition edition (December 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616145412
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616145415
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #969,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stefan VINE VOICE on December 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I'm a pretty big fan of Ian McDonald, so when I learned that a brand new novel by the author was on the way, I got suitably excited. Then, when I found out that the new novel would be the start of a series, and that this series would deal with alternate dimensions and multiverse-type ideas (very different from his last few books), I got really excited. And then, when I discovered that the series would be a young adult series -- well, it took me a while to come down from that one.

So, here it is: Planesrunner, book one in Ian McDonald's brand new EVERNESS series, which -- based on this first novel -- I hope will be a very long series of YA science fiction novels. Boy, this book was fun.

One night in London, fourteen-year-old Everett Singh is witness to his father's kidnapping. The man disappears without a trace, and the authorities seem strangely unmotivated to pursue the investigation. Everett's father, who is a theoretical physicist, left him the Infundibulum, a mysterious app which turns out to be the map of an infinite number of parallel universes. Armed with nothing but the Infundibulum and his wits, Everett sets out on a multi-dimensional quest to find his father....

Everett Singh is a wonderful main character who balances the delicate line between normal and awesome. On the one hand, he's a fairly average, somewhat geeky British teenager. He's the goalkeeper for his school's soccer team. He likes Tottenham Hotspur. His parents are divorced, and he's clearly still trying to cope with the break-up of his family. On the other hand, his dad is a genius physicist specializing in quantum theory, and it so happens that Everett has inherited his dad's massive intellect -- as well as his love of cooking.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some people have observed that Amazon book reviews are skewed by the fact that people who like the author tend to read the author again and review the book favorably. Authors you don't like, you don't review. For example, I am done reading Don DeLillo, so I'm unlikely to read his new book and give it a bad review. On the other hand, I am a huge fan of Ian McDonald writing, so I am likely to read his new book and give it a favorable review. Of course even writers that you generally love can write books that you don't like, but the point is there's a selection bias.

In our increasingly post literate world even established writers are struggling to get their work published. In addition to Fifty Shades of Grey, the area that is growing the most in book publishing is the "young adult" genre. The Harry Potter books have been massive sellers, as have the The Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins. Some writers Scott Westerfeld, who have written very adult book like Evolution's Darling (now out of print) and the The Risen Empire books only writes Young Adult fiction.

I don't know if commercial considerations were a reason that Ian McDonald chose to write the Everness book Planesrunner and it's sequel Be My Enemy, which are both categorized as Young Adult fiction.
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Format: Hardcover
Ian McDonald, the many times award-nominated author of The Dervish House and Brasyl, has always been on my bucket list. I love near-future Science Fiction. I love speculative works set in cultures foreign to me. I love slim stand-alone novels. McDonald hits on all of these fronts and every time he releases a novel it seems to do a fair round of the awards circuit. Yet, I'd never read any of his work. Part of my hesitancy, I think, was due to McDonald's reputation for writing labyrinthine, intertwining plots featuring dense prose and asking the reader to work for the story. It takes dedication to read fiction in that manner and, well, I'm often lazy. But when McDonald announced that his next novel, Planesrunner, the first volume in the Everness series, would be a world-hopping Young Adult (YA) novel set in an alternate London full of airships and sky pirates, I knew I finally had an opportunity to give his work a fair shake. And I'm bloody glad I did.

The prose in Planesrunner was simpler than I expected, likely due to the YA audience, but also doesn't speak down to its younger readers, weaving some wonderful imagery and thoughtful themes through the narrative. Like all literature, the best YA respects its readers and Planesrunner embraces that mentality.

It's clear that McDonald put a lot of effort into what really makes an appealing novel for younger readers, and in the process peels back the layers to examine what makes YA so much more enjoyable than a lot of `adult' fiction. Most interesting is the idea that younger readers have an improved mental agility that allows them to jump around the story, absorbing different ideas, concepts and plot strings without needing the constant infodumps and explanations that bog down so much of adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.
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