This was a dip into my past. When I was ten, our class voted on a book to be read to us, this won. At the time I voted for “Goalkeepers are Different” by Brian Glanville, a book which would have alienated the girls in the class and half the boys being about football.
I am glad my choice didn’t win, this was a story that captivated me at the time, forty years on the story was mixed a little in my head with H G Wells Sci-Fi classic “War of the Worlds”, both featuring aliens in large tripod like machines. I picked up this copy because I had forgotten my book, I get a little agitated if I don’t have a book with me to read on the bus or the metro. This was a simplified edition intended for English learners (pre-intermediate level).
The story is quite simple about three boys who run away to avoid being “capped” by the Tripods, a coming of age ritual that changes the personality of the “capped”, the cap exerting some mind control on the wearer. Will the protagonist met a strange vagrant called Ozymandias, who told him there was a place of free men far too the South in the White Mountains of the title.
Will sets off with his cousin from rural southern England, they cross the sea to France, where they are joined by Jean Pierre, who they call “jumper” because they don’t understand French and that is their approximation of his name.
This is one of the books that started me on a science fiction phase, which lasted until I was around 20. I kind of grew out of science fiction, which at the time (mid eighties) was itself moving more over into fantasy. I enjoyed reading this story again but it is rather too simple for my tastes these days.
My rating : a generous 4 out of 5