Neil Turner's Blog

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Terra & Terra’s World, by Mitch Benn

Cover of Terra by Mitch BennYesterday, I did another round-up of the audiobooks I’ve been listening to recently, save for two. I singled out these two as they’re both by the same author, and are both fiction. Now I’m not a big reader of fiction, as my wife, ex-girlfriend and parents will testify. So what made me read these books?

The two books are Terra (Amazon link) and Terra’s World (Amazon link), part of a series with recurring characters by Mitch Benn. Benn is best-known as a musical stand-up comedian. He has performed on BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show for many years and regularly tours his shows. Indeed, I’ve seen him perform live four times now:

  • In Leeds, at the wonderful City Varieties, with his band The Distractions.
  • In Leeds (again), at the rather less wonderful Carriageworks Theatre, with his show Mitch Benn is the 37th Beatle (also broadcast as a standalone Radio 4 show).
  • In Halifax, at the Square Chapel, with the Don’t Believe a Word show that he has just finished touring.
  • In Hebden Bridge, at a comedy club night at the Old Gate where he was the headline act.

I also follow him on Twitter, where he is very active. So you could say I’m a fan.

Anyhow, as well as being a successful stand-up and radio performer, Benn has also written the two aforementioned books. I would probably describe them as ‘young adult science fiction’ – not too challenging to read, but enjoyable stories. And they’re good books, with good reviews of them both.

Terra tells the story of a baby girl, whose bickering parents accidentally leave her behind, when fleeing from the car after an encounter with an alien spacecraft. The spacecraft’s pilot, having seen that the baby had been abandoned, takes her back to his home planet. He names her ‘Terra’, and brings her up as if she were his own daughter.

Cover of Terra's World by Mitch BennTerra’s World follows the first book. The story is told partly from the perspective of Billy, a new character who befriends Terra after her return to Earth in her adolescence. The planet that Terra grew up on is in trouble.

For me, Terra’s World was the better of the two books, but you’ll need to read (or listen to) both in order to understand the plot and who the characters are. I would also recommend the audiobook – Mitch Benn read his own work very well, especially the pronunciation of the names of the alien characters. Plus, he has composed the music that accompanies the books.

The epilogue to Terra’s World implies that Benn plans a third book, although I understand from Twitter that he doesn’t yet have a publisher for it. I hope he’s able to find one – I thoroughly enjoyed these first two books.

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