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Ness, Patrick

(1971-    ) US author resident in the UK whose first novel, The Crash of Hennington (2003), imports a herd of rhinos to an American seaside town, where strange events ensue (see Equipoise). He is of sf interest for a Young Adult sequence – the Chaos Walking series comprising Chaos Walking, Book One: The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008), which won the James Tiptree Jr Award, Chaos Walking, Book Two: The Ask and the Answer (2009) and Chaos Walking, Book Three: Monsters of Men (2010) – set on a colony planet (see Colonization of Other Worlds) marked by the apparent absence of all females and by a phenomenon whose cause is mysterious but whose effect is the involuntary broadcasting of men's thoughts (see Telepathy), perceived as inescapable "Noise". The young protagonist, after finding a young woman near a wrecked Starship lander, flees with her from his provincial Dystopian culture, but is captured and forced to take part in internecine Wars that threaten to end life on the planet. The ending resolves the plot but does not clear away a sense that Homo sapiens is a hugely dangerous species. The third volume won the Carnegie Medal in 2011.

In the following year Ness received a second Carnegie Medal for his standalone children's novel A Monster Calls (2011), a Fabulation whose young hero's interaction with the titular tree-Monster illuminates the real-world nightmare of his mother's struggle with cancer; this book also won the Carnegie's sister prize the Kate Greenaway Medal (the first such double win) for its black-and-white illustrations by Jim Kay. The Crane Wife (2013) is a strong fantasy based on the Japanese folktale. The young protagonist of More Than This (2014), after drowning in America, awakens in a Ruined Earth UK, unable at first to determine if he is there in the flesh, or inhabiting an Avatar. [JC/DRL]

see also: Kitschies; Torture.

Patrick Ness

born Fort Belvoir, Virginia: 17 October 1971



Chaos Walking

individual titles


Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 17:42 pm on 15 August 2022.