Fight the Future 23 - The Knife Of Never Letting Go

Dan and Paul take an in-depth look at the worlds portrayed Young Adult dystopian fiction.
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Fight the Future 23 - The Knife Of Never Letting Go

Postby Paul » 01 Feb 2016, 10:02

It seemed like a nice planet to settle on - until the pioneers found they couldn't stop broadcasting their thoughts to everyone around them. Awkward! 12-year-old Todd Hewitt's biggest problem was drowning the Noise of adult men's thoughts, until he met a mysterious girl. Now they are on the run from an unkillable preacher, and a medium-sized army. This week, Dan and Paul are joined by YA bookseller Emilee to talk about The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.
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Re: Fight the Future 23 - The Knife Of Never Letting Go

Postby Dubious_wolf » 02 Feb 2016, 14:11

So I think this book summery really highlights why I don't care for young adult dystopia novels (and indeed most scifi in general). Usually the author is dealing with a specific topic in society, by manifesting the topic in some magical way.

I realize writing a book is hard, and reading said book can be daunting as well, but sometimes I'd like my metaphors to be a little more subtle.

I’m very interested to know what other people’s opinions were on the gender issues presented.

You guys always do a really great job. I wish this podcast was around when I worked at a book store. It would have helped a lot when someone wanted suggestions.
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Re: Fight the Future 23 - The Knife Of Never Letting Go

Postby ritchards » 02 Feb 2016, 21:37

So if boys like books with knife in the title, do they go for The Subtle Knife?
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Re: Fight the Future 23 - The Knife Of Never Letting Go

Postby biscuits » 08 Feb 2016, 10:44

This is one of the book series that gave me hope for dystopia fiction again, in particular the second book. When I was reading this book, the action overwhelmed me and it was only on reflection that I saw the gender politics aspect. I think that technique of layering was really effective because it meant that young teenagers can get drawn into it and not be put off by the boring old social issue.

The second book...ohhhh man. The second book is I believe one of my favourite books of all time. Well, it made the author one of my favourite authors of all time. I struggle to decide on favourite books. My favourite authors are Patrick Ness, James Hogg, Roald Dahl and Ian McEwan. I was not expecting a YA author to be in that list before I read the second book. It is an exploration of the existence of free will that just goes deeper and deeper.

Also the thing about the male and female actors...that's dangerously close to the third book's male and female health centres. The male health professionals are called Doctors and the female health professionals are called Healers. The idea is that there is a choice of noise or no noise, but it ends up with just the men going to the Doctors and the women going to the Healers. The existence of difference, no matter how neutral the society is towards either gender (the book doesn't quite get to bringing up non-binary genders, though that would have been interesting), still results in segregation, which in turn leads to the almost equal gender split between the followers of the Mayor and the followers of Misstress Coyle.
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Re: Fight the Future 23 - The Knife Of Never Letting Go

Postby Daniel » 11 Feb 2016, 10:42

Thanks a bunch for this info @biscuits - I should read the sequels!

And thanks for the nice comments, @Dubious_wolf!
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Re: Fight the Future 23 - The Knife Of Never Letting Go

Postby GregSanders » 17 Feb 2016, 14:09

Agree with @biscuits on loving the second book. I thought the third was also quite good if overly climatic in the ending, but #2 was the peak for me. To your concern @Dubious_wolf, the handling becomes unsubtle as your learn more but I think Ness does a great job of avoiding being one note by exploring a range of characters and circumstances. Also I do think the Noise plays with the idea of social media and social/political power in some interesting ways that mean that the book isn't just about one thing thematically.

Two larger thoughts. First off, I was really eager for you to review this book after listening to the Podcast about on a Boy and His Dog. As you mention, there's echoes here, but I think the finale of the first book seems to be almost a critique and response to that earlier story in that it inverts the outcome of the the male lead's choice between a telepathic dog and a female companion, in no small part by making that female companion a real person from the start.

I think the second book is particularly interesting viewed to view in light of current conflicts with heavy gendered aspects, such as the Afghan war with the Taliban's oppression of women, and past conflicts where one group had everything on the line, such as African Americans in the American Civil war and prior uprisings. (With the Spackle being a whole third dimension). Also, You do end up with a variety of men as followers of Mistress Coyle and splits among her female followers, so the variety within each group is highlighted.
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Re: Fight the Future 23 - The Knife Of Never Letting Go

Postby Daniel » 22 Feb 2016, 11:13

Great point @GregSanders, in the contrast with the Boy and His Dog! (it's a bummer though that it fulfilled an all-too-typical YA trope, of the brave dog dying. Gordon Korman even wrote a whole novel based on that called No More Dead Dogs) Other good thoughts there too.

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