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The Guardians

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  638 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Set in the year 2052, the novel depicts a future, authoritarian England divided into two distinct societies: the modern, overpopulated "Conurbs" and the aristocratic, rarefied "County"; the former consists of crowded city districts and all-pervasive technology while the latter is made up of manors and rolling countrysides typical of 19th-century England. The novel follows ...more
Published January 31st 1994 by Klett Ernst /Schulbuch (first published 1970)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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Ahmad Sharabiani
The Guardians, John Christopher
The Guardians is a young-adult science fiction novel written by John Christopher and published by Hamilton in 1970. Set in the year 2052, it depicts an authoritarian England divided into two distinct societies: the modern, overpopulated "Conurbs" and the aristocratic, rarefied "County". Crowded city districts and all-pervasive technology make up the Conurbs while manors and rolling countrysides typical of 19th-century England make up the County. The story follows a
John Christopher was a prodigious writer of children's books so much so that he used a handful of nom de plume just to disguise quite how many books he was churning out. His best known work might be the tripods trilogy, they all tend to be science-fictiony or fantastical adventures featuring children (ie boys) as the protagonists.

This one, as it's title with echoes of Plato suggests, is a subtle dystopia set in a semi-futuristic or fairly contemporary Britain which we explore from the point of v
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Firstly, whoever gave the go ahead for this cover at New Windmill, should be fired. This is a children's book and nothing about the cover is inviting to a child or an adult. I also think it looks very misleading as The Guardians on the cover look like vampires. There no vampires in this book.

What you do have in this story is a dystopian England, spilt into the conurbs and the county. I spent most of the time I was reading this trying to figure out what camp my home would be in, I'm in the middl
Jul 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Hmm. One of those books I know I read, but remember nothing about other than that it was in my "read everything I can get my hands on by John Christopher" phase. ...more
Anthony Buck
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
It was OK. The writing is pretty basic and the ideas are interesting but not outstanding.
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Usually when I write a review, I have no problem finding the cover image, not today dear reader, today I had to *gasp* take my own photo! My copy of The Guardians was published in 1982 and it cost £1.10p. I’m not sure when I took ownership of this book but as it is literally falling apart I can only assume it must have been a while back.

I read this book during high school, it was discussed as part of our English lessons (quick side note-it was also during these lessons that the teacher introduce
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
yes! good, good story.... this went from around 3 stars to 4 by 80%through, then an easy 5 from me by story's end, which is why we all should read books all the way through before rating them, really.

It held my interest throughout, but just when I was beginning to think it was a little no-so-interesting, it became very and quick! This renewed my new found love of fiction based in the future.
Ralph Jones
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 20th-century
Upon reading the middle part of The Guardians by John Christopher, the storyline seems a bit obvious but it doesn’t when readers reach the end.

This book is about a rich young boy’s kindness in helping a poor young boy in his plight to escape his difficult situation at home. Since this book is mainly about a future where classism is practiced, the poor boy was taken into the rich boy’s family and tries to adapt himself as part of the family.

At first, the story was thought to be the usual rich-boy
Tim Trewartha
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another tight piece of dystopic YA fiction from the author of the Tripods trilogy. A damning critique on the English class system, power and control. Still relevant today.
Ian Banks
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a slow-moving story until you realise that there has been nothing but plot and character all the way through. It's a great story featuring a resourceful but quite timid protagonist who must choose between the world he was born into, the world he has escaped to and the possibility of a much better world that he can help to bring about. It's very subtly told, with great characters and a believable - and quite familiar - future setting. Christopher was terrific at characters and painting a ...more
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this; actually, didn't want it to end! ...more
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Back in grade 5 (6?) I assumed that "conurbation" was a made-up word. It wasn't until last year that I saw the word again & this book came rushing back ;) ...more
Myriam Schärz
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I remember liking it a lot but will have to read it again soon. Was part of my English literature 25 years ago... together with Brave New World and 1984...
Alex O
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Left orphaned after the suspicious death of his father, Rob decides to escape the overcrowded and conformist city society of the Conurb and make his way to the forbidden countryside beyond a wire fence and guards on horseback. What he finds there is a tranquil and comfortable paradise, an England trapped in time before industrialisation. When he begins to understand the inhuman ways this tranquility is maintained however, Rob faces an impossible choice: peace or freedom?
The Guardians is a comp
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked up The Guardians when I picked up copies of the Tripod series at the Oakland White Elephant sale...and it was time to clear this one from my shelf.

Set 80 years in the future (2050s) from when the book was written (1970s). Primarily a class-based utopian dystopia. The parts that I enjoyed most were the asides about books:

"'Books.' She shook her head. 'What do you want with them, anyway? Well I suppose it takes all sorts....'"

"'Library book,' the master said. He prodded one contemptuously.
John Christopher was the master of British teenage science fiction in the 60s, 70s and 80s. His short, easy-to-read novels were studied in schools and adapted for TV. He created fantastic adventure stories in which, typically, a teenage-boy protagonist fights against a repressive system or is a survivor in a post-apocalyptic world.

The Guardians (1970) shares its themes of conditioning and the value of free will with Christopher's Tripods sequence, but in The Guardians there are no aliens. Humani
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this in school in year 9, but then I moved before we finished and I never got to find out what happened. It's only now, through the power of a search based on my vague recollections, that I've managed to work out which book it was!

I remember being fascinated by this book when we were reading it in school, and it still was pretty fascinating. But the ending... HOW does it just end there? I wonder if the author intended to write a sequel but never got around to it? I can't believ
I think this is the first Christopher book I have read. Written in 1973, it can certainly be said to have been influenced by Orwell's 1984 and, undoubtebly, has influenced those modern YA science fiction novels that explore class and segregation. Christopher has always been a science-fiction fan since his teens, and although he would begin his career writing for adults, he was lured by Hamish Hamilton to try and write a book for children instead.
Although some of the ideologies are dated (especi
Mar 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, teen
Having just finished the Prince in Waiting trilogy, i thought I'd move onto some more John Christopher and this was next on the bookshelf. An orphan boy is discontent with his life in the Conurb and finds there is a family connection with the County - the other place where people live. The two are separated by a fence and only commuters can travel from County to the Conurb. Rob decides to make the leap and in doing so begins his deception which ends in his coming to terms with the idea of revolt ...more
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
If someone had told me about the abrupt ending I might not have read it so I’m glad no one did because I had a very peaceful/relaxing time reading this book . It gave me some nice think about , what more can I ask . Great read , but not sure if I would recommend, never know how someone might react to the ending .
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Taught this to Year 8s when I first started teaching. It used to work very well. An early example of the dystopian genre that has become so popular in recent young adult fiction. It worked well as a teaching book. Classic authoritarian world.
Derelict Space Sheep
Fifty years on, this award-winning YA science fiction novel holds its value. The story and themes are serious—dystopian even—yet told in an engaging manner without the authorial artifice, irrational character behaviour and contrived sequel-mongering so prevalent in the genre nowadays.
Steve Groves
Dec 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Quick read at the block. Pity there wasn't a sequel as it would be interesting to see how the story developed. ...more
John Moore
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was the book that got me into dystopian fiction. I still consider it a great one and the storyline is fantastic.
Duncan Smith
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book as a kid, and as an adult. Five stars from me.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Open ended book felt like reading the first of a trilogy.... Not a satisfying read.
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I would never have expected the twist in the last few pages of the book. It’s a great classic to sink your teeth into
Miles Chicken
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Britain in 2052 but the author doesn't go on about it. Lockdown has done for the libraries what holovision did for them in this book but 30 years sooner ...more
Irene McHugh
While I was searching for a book published in the year I was born, I came across this title: The Guardians by John Christopher. I immediately got a little giddy. I remember Mrs. Snellback in the sixth grade recommending The White Mountains to me. A book set in the future where the human population is controlled by these weird Tripod machines. She got me hooked not just on this series, but science-fiction in general.

I read the entire trilogy and years later when John Christopher wrote When the T
Feb 26, 2014 rated it liked it
John Christopher – author of the Tripods trilogy and The Death of Grass – died back in February, and I didn’t even find out until a few weeks ago, which bummed me out. So I ordered a few of his books off the Internet, ones which I’ve never read, because I like indulging in a bit of nostalgic young adult fiction (a genre which can be nostalgic even when you’ve never read the book in question) and I’m sure a writer who could put out a classic like the Tripods trilogy must have a good backlog.

The G
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