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Marsden, John

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1950-    ) Australian author for children and Young Adult markets, much of whose work is of fantasy interest, beginning with his first novel, The Journey (1988), but who is of sf interest primarily for his Tomorrow sequence, comprising Tomorrow, When the War Began (1993), The Dead of the Night (1994), The Third Day, the Frost (1995; vt A Killing Frost 1998), Darkness, Be My Friend (1996), Burning for Revenge (1997), The Night Is for Hunting (1998) and The Other Side of Dawn (1999). Set in a Near Future Australia resisting Invasion from an unspecified enemy, the sequence focuses on its cast of young protagonists, whose actions and reactions, as they learn to conduct guerrilla warfare against the occupying forces, are conveyed with considerable (and sometimes claustrophobic) vividness; the untrustworthy and sometimes contemptible behaviour of the surviving adults further intensifies the considerable suspense generated over the sequence, as real tragedies occur, and real betrayals. The Ellie Chronicles – comprising While I Live (2003), Incurable (2005) and Circle of Flight (2006) – continues the first-person narrative of the first series' protagonist, as she begins to cope with the post-war world, which has been sufficiently damaged to be thought of as a Ruined Earth. A proposed film sequence began with the release of the Australian adaptation Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010); intended sequels have not appeared.

Most of Marsden's individual titles are fantasy; of these, The Rabbits (graph 1998; rev 2003) illustrated by Shaun Tan, powerfully allegorizes the occupation of Australia: the rabbits are us; the world they invade suffers deeply. [JC]

John Marsden

born Melbourne, Victoria: 27 September 1950




Ellie Chronicles

  • While I Live (Sydney, New South Wales: Pan Macmillan, 2003) [Ellie Chronicles: hb/]
  • Incurable (Sydney, New South Wales: Pan Macmillan, 2005) [Ellie Chronicles: hb/]
  • Circle of Flight (Sydney, New South Wales: Pan Macmillan, 2006) [Ellie Chronicles: hb/]

individual titles

  • The Journey (Sydney, New South Wales: Pan, 1988) [pb/]
  • Out of Time (Sydney, New South Wales: Pan, 1990) [pb/Brad Quinn]
  • The Rabbits (Melbourne, Victoria: Lothian Books, 1998) [graph: illus/hb/Shaun Tan]
    • The Rabbits (Vancouver, British Columbia: Simply Read Books, 2003) [graph: rev of the above: illus/hb/Shaun Tan]
  • A Roomful of Magic (Sydney, New South Wales: Pan Macmillan Australia, 2004) [chap: pb/Mark Jackson and Heather Potter]
  • Hamlet (Melbourne, Victoria: Text Publishing, 2008) [hb/]


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