Ian Hart’s exciting new Young Adult novel, Published May 2020
When her only friend, a boy genius, accidentally duplicates himself in his father’s laboratory, a rebellious teenager must help her friend conceal the “evidence”; but when the clone is kidnapped by a criminal syndicate bent on world domination, a group of unlikely collaborators set out to rescue their new “brother” before the gang destroys the clone, and the planet.
BACK COVER SUMMARY
What if there was a 3D printer that could copy a living human being? Tom Chan’s father is building one in his laboratory at Coolabah City University. When 13-year-old Tom and his neighbour Bethany ‘Biff’ Potts take shelter the lab during a thunderstorm and accidentally print a copy of Tom: a doppelgänger with no memories and no personality. They try to pass him/it off, as ‘Ben,’ Tom’s long-lost twin from China. But there are dark forces who want to clone humans for sinister reasons and they kidnap Ben in order to perfect their own human Replicator. Rescuing Ben leads Biff, Tom and their friends on a wild pursuit through the labyrinth of WW2 tunnels beneath Coolabah City, unearthing political machinations and grotesque secrets kept hidden for 70 years. But Ben also has a secret…
A masterful novel that explores the powerful bonds of teenage friendship and what it means to be human.
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun read.
Reviewed in Canada on 24 August 2020
A nice mix of fantasy and technology to create intriguing adventure for the younger reader, but also hints of irony and satire for the older. On the cusp of the future, coolly contemporary, with enough glitches and ingenuity to be full suspense, but with a light touch and humour, keeping it credible. Could be the start of a series?
4.0 our of 5 stars A great teen fiction read in these Covid-19 times
Reviewed in Australia on 23 August 2020
I’ve just finished ‘Ben: the Boy from Nowhere’ by Ian Hart. It’s a great read in these Covid-19 times because it’s an imaginative novel which warms the heart in these winter months in Australia and it transports one into a science fiction world of cloning, coding, 3D-printing and a great range of teenage characters, as well as some evil, scheming adults like Ghastly Gorgon. I enjoyed the crackling dialogue, the humour, the awful puns and all the characters. The Prime Minister of Australia – who is captured and cloned is asked about his beliefs and he says: “If you have a go, you get a go!” Some of the humorous lines have lots of undercurrents- for instance, the one about families and how they can hinder self-actualisation, with its Maslow flavour. For high school teachers, seeking an engaging novel for year 10 or year 11 students, this is one to put on the list – it’s very current, imaginative and the narrative method – with many characters advancing the storyline, adds to the dramatic momentum. The novel is set in a capital city – with special interest for those in Canberra – but the story could occur anywhere in the world – because overseas leaders arrive, along with a Scandanavian singing celebrity, and they are enmeshed in a subterranean world where no-one quite knows who is who!