The Last Book in the Universe

The Last Book in the Universe

4.5 71
by Rodman Philbrick
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

This fast-paced action novel is set in a future where the world has been almost destroyed. Like the award-winning novel Freak the Mighty, this is Philbrick at his very best. It's the story of an epileptic teenager nicknamed Spaz, who begins the heroic fight to bring human intelligence back to the planet. In a world where most people are plugged into brain-drain…  See more details below

Overview

This fast-paced action novel is set in a future where the world has been almost destroyed. Like the award-winning novel Freak the Mighty, this is Philbrick at his very best. It's the story of an epileptic teenager nicknamed Spaz, who begins the heroic fight to bring human intelligence back to the planet. In a world where most people are plugged into brain-drain entertainment systems, Spaz is the rare human being who can see life as it really is. When he meets an old man called Ryter, he begins to learn about Earth and its past. With Ryter as his companion, Spaz sets off an unlikely quest to save his dying sister -- and in the process, perhaps the world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Philbrick's latest misfit protagonist embarks on an adventure in a fantastic and often frightening alternative world," said PW. "The creation of a futuristic dialect, combined with striking descriptions of a postmodern civilization, will convincingly transport readers." Ages 10-14. (Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
To quote KLIATT's November 2000 review of the hardcover edition: The award-winning author of Freak the Mighty and other books for YAs turns to SF here, in an imaginative and disturbing story about a bleak, dangerous future world ("the Urb") and a teenage boy who must make his way through it to reach his mortally ill adoptive sister. The boy is called Spaz, because he has epilepsy. This prevents him from using the drug-like mindprobes that are turning the others in the Urb into zombies. As a result, Spaz still has his memory, unlike the others; and an old man known as Ryter (one of the few people left who still remembers and values books) accompanies him on his quest and teaches him to value it. As they fearfully cross from one gang-ruled territory to another, they are joined first by a small boy and then by a "proov," a girl who lives in Eden, a beautiful land forbidden to the residents of the Urb. She is able to help Spaz's sister, but in the end Spaz and Ryter must return to the horrors of the Urb. When Ryter is killed by a mob, Spaz realizes that he must tell his story for posterity and become "the last book in the universe" of the title. This is an expansion of a short story Philbrick wrote for a collection called Tomorrowland, told in slang that will remind some of A Clockwork Orange; e.g., "gummy" for old person, "chox" for chocolate bar, "cancel" for kill. The terms are clearly explained, however, and most YAs, particularly those who enjoy SF, will find it an easy, fast read. Spaz's adventures and moral dilemmas in a strange and scary setting, vividly told from his viewpoint, make this an absorbing story with some depth to it. A provocative cover featuring aboy's figure covered with words against the background of a post-apocalyptic landscape will catch readers' attention. This would be an interesting companion to Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and a good choice for discussion in English classes. An ALA Best Book for YAs. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2000, Scholastic, 224p.,
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Spaz, a boy who lives on the fringes of his surreal future world, partly because epilepsy prevents him from using the mind probes most people use to blot out reality, sets out on a classic quest to save his ill foster sister. To do so, he must cross forbidden territory and face frightening gangs and their leaders. He picks up companions as he travels: Ryter, a philosophic old man whose treasure is the book he is writing despite knowing that books and reading are of the past; Littleface, a young almost speechless child; and Linnea, a "prove" (genetically improved person). In saving his sister, Spaz learns about himself and his parentage. This action-packed story has some strong and provocative messages. It should prove popular among middle school listeners. Jeremy Davies' reading of Rodman Philbrick's text (Blue Sky Press, 2001) is very good. His soft, almost whispery voice usually suits the story well, but in the action scenes it is a little too subdued. This is a minor quibble. This is a good story to use with middle schoolers along with such titles as Lois Lowry's The Giver (HM, 1993) and Monica Hughes' Introduction to the Game (S&S, 1990). Public libraries will find it popular among science fiction fans as well as those wanting a good adventure story.-Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545303873
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
03/01/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
230,800
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >