Tomorrow, When The War Began by John Marsden (book review).

I’m not entirely why John Marsden’s novelisation, ‘Tomorrow When The War Began’, is Science Fiction. Taken from a young adult perspective, the seven teens involved are not in the centre of events nor really know what is going on, as indeed this reader. In fact, it wasn’t until the acknowledgements at the back of the book that I realised that the setting was Australian, mostly because there was little to affirm to this and you could quite easily think it was set in America. Whether the same can be said of the film, you’ll have to decide.

Essentially, seven teen-agers come back from a camping trip to find their homes deserted and no idea what is going on, except that marshall law is in force, literally, and they are determined to stay out of their way when they see them shoot a few citizens and get shot at themselves. After that, it’s more a question of scavenging supplies and staying alive with the usual angst that teens go through.

This book is aimed at the young adult market and probably more so at those who’ve seen the film rather than reviewers who have to make sense from the written word. That isn’t to say that Marsden isn’t a bad author. He isn’t. He knows how to create a palatable page-turner for all ages. The real problem is to whether or not it’s Science Fiction and, in that respect, the verdict is still out, mostly because there is no indication as to what caused these events to happen. Even when they get an opportunity to talk to the odd person, you would have thought that this would have been the first questions on their lips. Being kept in the dark is one thing but not having a torch to see out is quite another.

GF Willmetts
July 2012


(pub: Quercus Publishing Plc. 286 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-85738-733-2)

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