Thursday, December 14, 2006

London Calling - Edward Bloor

Edward Bloor's London Calling is a mixture of SF/time travel and historical novel. The book opens and closes with a narrative by the main protagonist, who is recording the information in 2019. He looks back to when he was a 13 year old boy. John Martin Conway (known to everyone as Martin) feels out of place at his exclusive prep school, where he is frequently reminded of his status as a scholarship kid. After a confrontation between Martin and his two friends, Pinak and Manetti, with Hank Lowery, who is the great-grandson of the school's founder, and his thugs, Martin tells his mother and older sister Margaret, and the Headmaster, that he doesn't want to return to the school. They agree to a compromise, that he will work at home on some independent study projects.

He is keen to do a project on a World War II-era radio that his late grandmother (who dies fairly early in the narrative) left to him as it has brought him into contact with an English boy named Jimmy who lived during the War, and who needs Martin's help. Martin's grandmother had promised Jimmy that Martin will help him so he takes Martin back in time, via the radio, to the London Blitz. Martin makes fleeting, terrifying visits to the Blitz. Back in his own time, he focuses his research on the things Jimmy has told him and shown him, and the people he encounters. Along the way he uncovers some new information about his grandfather's and General Hank Lowery's activities in London during the War, and he discovers how he can help put Jimmy's soul to rest. He also comes to terms with his father's alcoholism (which apparently runs in the family) and with his own depression.

This was an enjoyable book, but I found the language employed by Martin and his two friends when they are chatting online, via an Instant Messenger, to be far too formal and therefore quite unrealistic. I talk online (on electronic discussion forums) with quite a lot of teens and young adults who are in their 20s, and almost none of them use formal English - they prefer to use abbreviations, slang, obscure jargon and often incomplete sentences as well.

London Calling is also available from

No comments: