CHARLIE ELLIS AND THE DAY TRIP TO MARS

PrintE-mail Written by Ian White

Charlie Ellis is a thirteen-year-old boy who has built a flying saucer with his engineer friend Steve Atherton. News footage of the pair flying around the Earth in their homemade UFO have made them a global talking point, and when they announce that they are going on a day trip to Mars the whole world (and Charlie’s grandparents / guardians) holds its breath. But what should have been a quick and breezy spin around the legendary red planet takes a lethal turn when… well, that would be spoiling the story. Just know there’s a lot more story than that to follow.

 

If that synopsis sounds vague it’s because Charlie Ellis and the Day Trip to Mars is a book that shouldn’t be spoiled. It is a love letter to childhood innocence, real-world science, pop culture (Elvis, Star Wars, The Day the Earth Stood Still and Ken Russell all get a mention), rollicking Boys Own adventure stories, and even Jules Verne and HG Wells. This is the kind of book that isn’t written very often, with hefty dollops of charm and a massive splat of reassuringly un-po-faced morality running through it (along with some lovely nuggets of general knowledge), the kind of book that makes you smile while you're reading it. It isn’t perfect - a little more science-fantasy added to the mix would have been welcome - and its occasionally old-fashioned tone, a bit like a school teacher reading to the class, makes us wonder what audience Charlie Ellis and the Day Trip to Mars is aimed at – the language is a little too dense for younger children, and it might be a bit too quaint for older kids, but grown-ups who haven't quite grown up yet will absolutely love it. And the best news is that it's apparently the start of a series, so Charlie Ellis has a lot more adventures in the offing. If there’s any justice to the publishing world, and if author Paul Sutton goes further down the Jules Verne route and throws something phantasmagoric into the mix, Charlie Ellis should one day be the next big thing…

 

CHARLIE ELLIS AND THE DAY TRIP TO MARS / AUTHOR: PAUL SUTTON / PUBLISHER: BUFFALO BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: 4TH JULY



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