Sunday, 3 January 2010


My sister got me a book for Christmas that I've not read in nearly twenty years, and yet as I was reading it I could feel it all coming back to me. Trillions by Nicholas Fisk is a book that captivated me when I was in primary school, a sci-fi story that grabbed me before I ever really knew that I was in to sci-fi.

The book was a lot slimmer than I remembered, and was over and done with in 120 pages (I'm not sure where my sister got it from, it's been out of print for years I think). It's a slow build, and then the ending appears in the space of comparatively few pages - but it's a book that dazzles thanks to the brilliance of the ideas in it. A small and sleepy coastal town in England is the first place in the world to be visited by tiny jewel-like things from space, but it's not long before they appear all over the world. The 'trillions' are mimics, and make shapes, bracelets and even building-like constructions - and it's not long before people in positions of power come to see them as a threat.

The novel is nearly forty years old, but is quietly timeless in a way. It's a children's novel, and the way that some things are explained and brought up reflect this; the ideas on display are fantastic though, and in reading it one thing screamed out at me: "The BBC should be making this into a mini-series."

Track it down if you can, and give an hour or two to thinking about some big sci-fi ideas.

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