Monday, January 16, 2006

Johnny and the Bomb; Charlie and a gravestone

In his book, The Unbelievable Truth, one of the true stories told by Gordon Smith is about a gravestone.

At the end of October 2001, 17 year-old Steven Andrew Smith joined the Royal Navy.

A few days later, Gordon Smith, father of Steven, went for his usual Sunday walk in the old cemetery near his home. With Gordon were Gordon’s friend Jim and Gordon’s dog Charlie.

Charlie disappeared into the bushes and was later heard to be barking, as if in some distress.
Gordon and Jim found Charlie sitting in front of an old headstone.

The names on the headstone were Gordon Smith, a writer, and his son Steven Andrew Smith, an able seaman who had died at sea during World War One.

The 17 year-old Steven Andrew Smith, who had joined the navy in 2001, decided to leave the navy after a few weeks. His father never mentioned the gravestone to him.

In February 2004, Gordon, Jim and Charlie returned to the old part of the cemetery where the Gordon Smith gravestone was located.

Something had changed. The headstone still bore the name of Gordon Smith, writer. But the name Steven Andrew was missing. The only other name on the stone was that of a daughter called daphne who had died in the 1920s. BBC - Religion & Ethics - Everyman
Spirit Messenger and Unbelievable Truth - Books by psychic Gordon ...
From the BBC press office:

Johnny And The Bomb is a time-slip story.

Based on the book by Terry Pratchett, it's a thrilling adventure that takes Johnny Maxwell and his pals back into the Second World War.

Everything revolves around the 21 May 1941, when the small Pennine town of Blackbury suffered its only air raid of the Second World War.

Along with Mrs Tachyon, Johnny's Gran and Grandad were there - of course they were only teenagers at the time - but they fell in love when Grandad, Tom Maxwell, made his epic bike ride to raise the alarm and saved the residents of Paradise Street (including his future bride, the pretty young Rose Bushell) from the horrors of the Blitz.

Tom and Rose survived to get married and the rest is history – at least it was until young Johnny started messing with the Bags of Time.

He and his friends slip back to the Second World War and with the best of intentions start 'bumping into things'. And this is where Terry Pratchett asks the big question – if you could go back in time, would your actions make any difference, or is history already written?

...And as if our heroes hadn't got enough on their plates, the unique world of Pratchett lets them slip sideways as well as forward and back. So they also find themselves in an alternative present where the changes they've made for better or worse just get to play themselves out.


Terry Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb

Tom Knapp wrote: Johnny discovers a "time lorry," a bag-lady's means of circumventing the usual linear flow of history, and is then stuck with the dilemma of leaving history as is or taking action to try and save some Blackbury residents who, in 1941, were in the wrong place when the Luftwaffe flew overhead. Plus, there's the small matter of Johnny's friend Wobbler, who inadvertently ensures that his grandfather will never meet his grandmother....


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