The Last Book in the Universe

Rodman Philbrick, Author, W. R. Philbrick, Author Blue Sky Press (AZ) $16.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-439-08758-2
Like the hero from his last novel, REM World, Philbrick's latest misfit protagonist embarks on an adventure in a fantastic--and often frightening--alternative world. Spaz, an abandoned epileptic, lives on postapocalyptic Earth, destroyed long ago by an earthquake. The gray sky rains acid, the food is largely ""tasteless protein chunks"" and the creation of ""mindprobes,"" virtual reality movies implanted directly in the brain, is destroying what's left of civilization. When Spaz learns that Bean, his foster sister, is dying, he begins a forbidden journey to see her. Ryter, a wise old man, accompanies Spaz and outwits most of their foes; he also ultimately teaches Spaz the value of keeping stories alive. The author creates some fascinating characters, such as the Monkey Boys, a brutal band ""as wild as the paint on their faces""; Lanaya, a genetically improved girl whom Spaz and Ryter rescue; and the Furies, assassins who work for the boss of the ""underworld traders."" Once they find Bean, Lanaya--in return for saving her life--takes them to the one place where Bean stands a chance of survival, Eden. This biblical allusion, plus allegorical references to the Odyssey (the ending echoes James Joyce's monologue for Penelope), is not fully developed, and some of the episodes are a bit abrupt (e.g., the encounter with the Monkey Boys and the Furies). But Philbrick's creation of a futuristic dialect, combined with striking descriptions of a postmodern civilization, will convincingly transport readers to Spaz's world. Ages 10-14. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/2000
Release date: 11/01/2000
Prebound-Glued - 223 pages - 978-0-7569-1004-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-8843-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-6182-8
Paperback - 223 pages - 978-0-439-08759-9 - 978-0-439-08759-9
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-0-7393-8090-1
Paperback - 223 pages - 978-0-439-77133-7
Prebound-Glued - 223 pages - 978-0-606-24907-2
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