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  • Written by China Mieville
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  • Written by China Mieville
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Written by China MievilleAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by China Mieville

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On Sale: February 13, 2007
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-345-49723-9
Published by : Del Rey Ballantine Group
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PRAISE & AWARDS PRAISE & AWARDS
READER'S GUIDE READER'S GUIDE
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

What is Un Lun Dun?

It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.

When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

1

The Respectful Fox

There was no doubt about it: there was a fox behind the climbing frame. And it was watching.

“It is, isn’t it?”

The playground was full of children, their gray uniforms flapping as they ran and kicked balls into makeshift goals. Amid the shouting and the games, a few girls were watching the fox.

“It definitely is. It’s just watching us,” a tall blond girl said. She could see the animal clearly behind a fringe of grass and thistle. “Why isn’t it moving?” She walked slowly towards it.



At first the friends had thought the animal was a dog, and had started ambling towards it while they chatted. But halfway across the tarmac they had realized it was a fox.

It was a cold cloudless autumn morning and the sun was bright. None of them could quite believe what they were seeing. The fox kept standing still as they approached.

“I saw one once before,” whispered Kath, shifting her bag from shoulder to shoulder. “I was with my dad by the canal. He told me there’s loads in London now, but you don’t normally see them.”

“It should be running,” said Keisha, anxiously. “I’m staying here. That’s got teeth.”

“All the better to eat you with,” said Deeba.

“That was a wolf,” said Kath.

Kath and Keisha held back: Zanna, the blond girl, slowly approached the fox, with Deeba, as usual, by her side. They got closer, expecting it to arch into one of those beautiful curves of animal panic, and duck under the fence. It kept not doing so.

The girls had never seen any animal so still. It wasn’t that it wasn’t moving: it was furiously not-moving. By the time they got close to the climbing frame they were creeping exaggeratedly, like cartoon hunters.

The fox eyed Zanna’s outstretched hand politely. Deeba frowned.

“Yeah, it is watching,” Deeba said. “But not us. It’s watching you.”



Zanna—she hated her name Susanna, and she hated “Sue” even more—had moved to the estate about a year ago, and quickly made friends with Kath and Keisha and Becks and others. Especially Deeba. On her way to Kilburn Comprehensive, on her first day, Deeba had made Zanna laugh, which not many people could do. Since then, where Zanna was, Deeba tended to be too. There was something about Zanna that drew attention. She was decent-to-good at things like sports, schoolwork, dancing, whatever, but that wasn’t it: she did well enough to do well, but never enough to stand out. She was tall and striking, but she never played that up either: if anything, she seemed to try to stay in the background. But she never quite could. If she hadn’t been easy to get on with, that could have caused her trouble.

Sometimes even her mates were a little bit wary of Zanna, as if they weren’t quite sure how to deal with her. Even Deeba herself had to admit that Zanna could be a bit dreamy. Sometimes she would sort of zone out, staring skywards or losing the thread of what she was saying.

Just at that moment, however, she was concentrating hard on what Deeba had just said.



Zanna put her hands on her hips, and even her sudden movement didn’t make the fox jump.

“It’s true,” said Deeba. “It hasn’t taken its eyes off you.”

Zanna met the fox’s gentle vulpine gaze. All the girls watching, and the animal, seemed to get lost in something.

. . . Until their attention was interrupted by the bell for the end of break. The girls looked at each other, blinking.

The fox finally moved. Still looking at Zanna, it bowed its head. It did it once, then leapt up and was gone.

Deeba watched Zanna, and muttered, “This is just getting weird.”


From the Hardcover edition.
China Mieville

About China Mieville

China Mieville - Un Lun Dun

Photo © Kate Eshelby

China Miéville is the author of King Rat; Perdido Street Station, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award; The Scar, winner of the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Award; Iron Council, winner of the Locus Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award; Looking for Jake, a collection of short stories; and Un Lun Dun, his New York Times bestselling book for younger readers. He lives and works in London.
Praise | Awards

Praise

"Mieville's compelling heroine and her fantastical journey through the labyrinth of a strange London forms that rare book that feels instantly like a classic and yet is thoroughly modern."
— Holly Black, bestselling author of the YA novels TITHE and VALIANT

 
“A book which shows the world as it truly is: full of marvels and monsters and unexpected opportunities for heroism and magic. UN LUN DUN is delicious, twisty, ferocious fun, a book so crammed with inventions, delights, and unexpected turns that you will want to start reading it over again as soon as you've reached the end.”
— Kelly Link, author of STRANGER THINGS HAPPEN and MAGIC FOR BEGINNERS


From the Hardcover edition.

Awards

WINNER 2008 YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
WINNER 2008 New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide



NOTE TO TEACHERS

Teachers: If you'd like a printable version of this guide, download the PDF attachment at the bottom of this page.

Un Lun Dun is acclaimed author China Miéville’s first novel for young adults. Miéville’s fast-paced story questions the structure of conventional fantasy novels, in which personal initiative and ability take a backseat to “fate.” What would happen, Un Lun Dun asks, if fate turned out to be unreliable, and the prophesied heroine couldn’t get the job done? Can real-world initiative meet with success in a fantastic situation? Setting philosophical questions like these within the context of a magical world that is nonetheless inextricably connected to our own, Miéville’s novel poses thought-provoking questions about the nature of personal and social progress. The engaging storyline and the wide-ranging subject matter of Un Lun Dun make it a rich source of teachable material, well-suited to courses and lessons on a broad range of topics.

ABOUT THIS BOOK

Un Lun Dun is the story of Deeba, whose friendship with her schoolmate Zanna takes her life in a wholly unexpected direction when Zanna learns, though a series of bizarre hints and occurrences, that she is “The Shwazzy”—or, in the mixed-up language of the world she’s intended to save, The Chosen One. Although Deeba is bewildered and frightened by the odd turn her friend’s life is taking, she bravely accompanies her, even as the girls’ other friends abandon them. Deeba’s loyalty keeps her at Zanna’s side on a midnight adventure which takes the girls from their London housing project into a mysterious and bizarre alternate world: Un Lun Dun, or UnLondon. As they make their way through the treacherous streets of the abcity, where things that are discarded, lost or forgotten in London find new life, Zanna is hailed as the long-prophesied “Shwazzy” by locals desperate to escape the Smog, an evil entity which is waging war on the inhabitants of the city. Although Zanna is overwhelmed by her new importance at first, she eventually begins to embrace her role as UnLondon’s savior—until the Smog strikes back, rendering her helpless. Along with the city’s residents, Deeba reels with the shock of this turn of events; unlike them, however, Deeba is able to think and act outside the dictates of the so-called prophecy. With her friends in danger, she rises to the challenge of out-thinking the Smog and its confederates and her ultimate triumph is, therefore, the result of courage and common sense, not fate or prophecy. With lives both in London and UnLondon hanging in the balance, Deeba’s ingenuity and sense of personal responsibility make her a truly unique heroine.

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

China Miéville is the author of King Rat; Perdido Street Station, which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award; The Scar, which won the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Award; Iron Council, which won the Locus Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award; and a collection of short stories, Looking for Jake. He lives and works in London.

TEACHING IDEAS

This highly original novel will be a useful addition to English courses, particularly for lessons on literary genre, plot structure and the construction of characters and/or protagonists. The colorful world of the book provides a wealth of material for discussion of various literary devices, techniques and styles, including: personification; irony and satire; and the use of simile and metaphor. It also raises interesting questions about the nature and importance of books themselves and will easily lend itself to discussions of literary freedom and censorship. More generally, the novel’s focus on pollution, urban development, and attitudes towards waste will make it a natural fit for Social Studies or History courses which are discussing environmental issues, the Industrial Revolution, or urban planning.

DISCUSSION AND WRITING

Part One
After a brief opening scene in which an unnamed man in a lab faces a mysterious threat, the novel introduces the young protagonists, Zanna and Deeba, who are concerned about a series of strange incidents which have befallen Zanna of late. The events become increasingly frightening, until the girls are awakened one night by a strange sound at their window. They follow the strange creature they see there to an eerie basement room, where Zanna spins an ancient-looking wheel, causing the sights and sounds of London to vanish.

Discussion Questions:
1.Why do you think Miéville opens his book with the scene on pages xiii-xiv?
2.Why does the fox look at Zanna in the schoolyard? Can you think of any other novels in which animals know something that people don’t?
3.Deeba and Zanna are friends, but they’re very different. What are some of the biggest differences between them? In what ways are they similar?
4.Why do Deeba and Zanna believe that something strange is happening? Which of the signs do you think is the strangest, and why?
5.Why do Keisha, Kath and Becks stop talking to Deeba and Zanna?
6.Were you surprised when Deeba and Zanna realized that the creature in the shadows was an umbrella? What does this realization tell us about the story?
7.Why does Deeba go with Zanna when she follows the umbrella? Should she have stopped her?
8.On page 23, the girls realize that as Zanna turns the wheel in the basement, she is turning off London. How is this kind of “turning off” different from other kinds that you may have experienced, such as power outages?

Writing:
1.The novel’s prologue is mysterious, because it doesn’t provide the character’s name, where he is, what he’s really up to, or what is about to happen to him. In a short essay, discuss what you do learn about the novel from this opening scene. What clues does it provide about the story to come? How did it make you feel about reading the rest of the novel? Pay attention to word choice, tone and setting in your answer.
2.Do you think Keisha, Kath and Becks are right to ignore Deeba and Zanna? Why do they want to stop being friends with them? Are their fears reasonable or justified? Argue for or against their actions, drawing on evidence from the novel and from your own experiences.

Part Two
When Zanna and Deeba emerge from the cellar, they find that they are in an entirely new and terrifying world, where Zanna is soon recognized as the “Shwazzy,” the savior the inhabitants have been awaiting to help them defeat their enemy, the Smog. Aided by the UnLondoners, the girls hurry through the city, trying to reach the Propheseers before the Smog’s agents capture them. Once they arrive at the Propheseers’ bridge, however, the Smog’s stink-junkies attack, and Zanna is knocked unconscious. Now on her own, Deeba meets with Brokkenbroll and Unstible, two UnLondoners who have their own plan for fighting the smog, before bringing her still-unconscious friend safely back to London and safety.

Discussion Questions:
1.When Zanna and Deeba emerge from the basement, they realize that they are not at home in the estate, but somewhere “very else”. What is unusual about this phrase? What is so different about the new place? Do the words “very else” help to emphasize its strangeness?
2.The first threat the girls encounter in the new place is garbage, which follows and corners them. Can you think of any real-life ways in which garbage can be dangerous?
3.In this section, one of the local people offers to sew Zanna a new outfit—made out of books! Did this surprise you? Why or why not?
4.Why are the girls happy to see Hemi again? Why does Obaday Fing chase him away?
5.Why does Deeba let the milk carton follow her? Why does she name it?
6.What is smog? Given what you know about UnLondon so far, do you think this Smog will be like ordinary smog? How might it be different?
7.Why do you think there are no cars in Un Lun Dun?
8.Obaday refers to Joe, the bus conductor, as “one of UnLondon’s champions”. Do you think that bus drivers in London, or in your city, would be referred to in these terms? Re-read the section in which the girls meet Joe and Rosa, and look at the words that are used to describe them and their bus. What point do you think the author might be making?
9.Why does Joe the bus conductor say he left London?
10.Joe tells the girls that “moil” stands for “mildly obsolete in London”. What does “obsolete” mean in this context? Are some of the things in UnLondon obsolete in different ways from others? Why might the word “mildly” be included in the acronym?
11.What do UnLondon’s buses have on their sides instead of advertisements? What might you infer about UnLondon’s inhabitants from this?
12.When the airway mercenaries attack the bus, one of the bus passengers turns out to be on their side. Re-read the section in which this passenger first boards the bus. What clues are supplied about him, and what might we infer about his character?
13.What is the November Tree? Why does it look different at different times of year?
14.Is the Slaterunners’ lifestyle dangerous? Why do you think they don’t want to come down from their roofs?
15.How are the Propheseers different from what Zanna and Deeba expect? Why is their name ironic?
16.What persuades the Propheseers that Zanna is the Shwazzy? How do they react to Deeba?
17.What does The Smog eat? What is it made of?
18.What prophecy about Zanna does the Propheseers’ book contain?
19.What are stink-junkies, and why do they attack the Pons Absconditus?
20.When Zanna is knocked unconscious by the stink-junkie, everyone is horrified. Is Deeba’s response different from that of the Propheseers? Why?
21.Why is Brokkenbroll called the Unbrellissimo? What is his plan to defend against the smog? Does it work during the stink-junkie attack? Can you see any potential dangers in his scheme?
22.What reasons does Unstible give for pretending that he was dead?
23.How do the Propheseers get enough power to move the Pons Absconditus all the way into London, to take Zanna and Deeba home?
24.Why is the Propheseers’ book depressed at the end of this section? What gift does it give Deeba for the Shwazzy?

Writing
1.When Joe explains the “UnLondon-I” to Zanna and Deeba, he says, “Ideas seep both ways, you know” (59). In a brief essay, describe an example of an idea—for example, a fashion, a slang word or phrase, or a preference for a certain activity— “seeping” from one place or culture to another. Remember to consider questions such as: How did this transmission occur? Was the idea changed in the process? Do people always realize or remember where their ideas are from?
2.UnLondon is full of strange and mysterious people and objects. Choose the person, place or thing that struck you as most interesting and explain why. Be sure to describe the character or object carefully. You might also: Consider ways in which it/he/she is similar to or different from people or things you’ve encountered before; discuss Zanna and Deeba’s response to he/she/it; the role he/she/it plays (or may eventually play) in the plot; explain and explore questions or issues which are raised by his/her/its appearance.

Part Three
Deeba saves Zanna from the effects of the Smog she inhaled during the stink-junkie attack, but her friend no longer remembers UnLondon at all. Deeba assumes that neither of them will ever return to the abcity, but when she discovers a piece of information which convinces her that Unstible is actually working with the Smog instead of fighting it, she is determined to return and warn the city’s inhabitants. She tries unsuccessfully to get back to UnLondon until she finally remembers the page from the Propheseer’s book given to her before her departure. Using clues from the torn page, she climbs up the “bookladder” in her library, all the way back to UnLondon.

Discussion Questions
1.How does Deeba save Zanna? Why doesn’t Zanna thank her?
2.Although Deeba is thrilled to see her parents, they haven’t been worried about her. Why not?
3.What is the significance of Chapter 34? How does its length affect its impact?
4.What does Deeba discover about the “Armets” and the “Klinneract”? How does this change her feelings about the situation back in UnLondon?
5.Why does Deeba have a hard time thinking about the MP Elizabeth Rawley?
6.Describe the strategies Deeba employs in her effort to get herself back to UnLondon. Do you recognize any of her ideas? Where did she get them?
7.Why does Deeba disguise her identity in her letter to Elizabeth Rawley?
8.How does Deeba eventually get back to UnLondon? What gives her the idea to try this?
9.Why do you think the sentence at the end of page 146 breaks off in the middle? Where does it resume? Does this technique change or enhance your understanding of the booksteps or their function?

Writing
1.Books are often described metaphorically as doorways to other worlds, and in Un Lun Dun Deeba literally uses them as a ladder to pass from London to UnLondon. Write an essay in which you describe the book which you feel has most dramatically altered your own perspectives. The change may be either completely imaginative or more literal, but be sure to explain how and why you feel the book affected you so strongly.

Part Four
When Deeba emerges from her climb, she learns that UnLondon is at war. Even more disturbingly, all the UnLondoners she meets are still convinced that Unstible is helping them against the Smog. Determined to prove otherwise, Deeba ventures alone into Wraithtown, where she encounters a familiar figure, the half-ghost Hemi, and finds proof of Unstible’s deceit. When she meets Brokkenbroll and explains her findings it seems at first that he has been an innocent victim of Unstible’s plot; when he learns that she is on her own, however, he abducts her, proving his own complicity in the plan.

Discussion Questions
1.Who is Margarita Staples, and what is her job? Why is her description of it unexpected to Deeba?
2.How can Deeba tell that UnLondon is at war?
3.Why does Deeba consider returning to London so soon after her arrival?. Why does she ultimately decide to stay?
4.What is Wraithtown, and who lives there?
5.How does Deeba react to Hemi when she sees him again? Why does she feel this way? Are her suspicions justified?
6.What is “ghostsick”?
7.What piece of important information do Deeba and Hemi find in Wraithtown? How does it affect Deeba’s plans?
8.Why doesn’t Obaday Fing want to believe Deeba about what she found in Wraithtown?
9.How does Jones’ reaction to Hemi differ from Obaday Fing’s?
10.Who is Murgatroyd, and why does he want to find Deeba? Why does he take her to see Brokkenbroll (the Unbrellissimo)?

Writing
1.Margarita Staples and Joe Jones both have ordinary-sounding jobs that are in fact quite different from what readers might expect. In a short essay, describe the ways in which their UnLondon jobs are unique, and consider what cultural, historical, and economic factors make our own versions of these jobs so different. Other possible questions include: Why do you think China Miéville chose these particular professions for characters in his book? Do you find the abcity versions better or worse than the versions in your town or city? If so, why?

Part Five
When Deeba awakens, she and Hemi are tied up in Unstible’s workshop. After listening to Brokkenbroll and Unstible discuss their plot, they are faced with the terrifying figure of Unstible, who, it is now clear, is nothing more than a disguise for the Smog itself. Unstible/The Smog reveals its terrible plans for the city and its inhabitants, but before it can devour Deeba and Hemi they manage to escape. To their shock, however, their friends and the Propheseers don’t believe them when they reveal the truth about the Unstible and Brokkenbroll. Finally, the two are forced to flee, taking the Propheseers’ book and Deeba’s milk-carton pet, Curdle, with them.

Discussion Questions
1.How does Deeba feel when she discovers that Brokkenbroll and Murgatroyd have tricked her? Re-read the scene in which she meets Murgatroyd for the first time. Are there any clues about his character which might have warned her?
2.What is Brokkenbroll’s plan, and why is Murgatroyd a part of it?
3.Why has MP Rawley’s smog-reducing plan been working so well? Is there anything wrong with her tactics?
4.Why does the Smog like to burn things up? What reasons does it give for wanting to burn books in particular?
5.How does the Smog intend to find out all Deeba knows?
6.How do Deeba and Hemi escape? Does this scene make you feel differently about Hemi’s half-ghost status?
7.How do the Propheseers react to Deeba’s story? Why do you think they and their book are so bewildered? What tactic does Brokkenbroll use to make them disbelieve Deeba and Hemi? Does it remind you of any earlier scenes in the book?

Writing
1.Re-read the passage in which the Smog discusses its plans for the books in UnLondon. How is the Smog’s method of knowledge-gathering different from (or similar to) reading? Describe your reactions to his plot.
2.The Propheseers find it very difficult to believe Deeba’s story about Brokkenbroll and the Smog; if Deeba is right, all of them—and the book that is their reason for existing—are wrong. Using examples from your own experience, write an essay about the difficulty of overcoming established beliefs or habits. Are there cases in which this can be a positive trait? Are the Propheseers themselves in the right? Why or why not?

Part Six
Frustrated with the Propheseers’ refusal to believe the truth, Deeba decides to take matters into her own hands and stop the Smog herself. Over the protests of the Propheseers’ book, Deeba and Hemi set off to complete the first stage of the quest. Although they are eventually successful, they encounter so many dangers and difficulties along the way that Deeba realizes they will never complete all seven steps in time. She decides to proceed directly to the final part of the prophecy, as the Propheseers’ book describes it: finding the UnGun, said to be the only thing the Smog fears. On their way, she and Hemi are rejoined by several friends who decide to trust Deeba’s version of events.

Discussion Questions
1.What is Deeba’s conflict in Chapter 55? How does she resolve it?
2.Why does the book argue that Deeba won’t be able to defeat the Smog? Is this argument consistent with the events in the book so far? Do you agree with it?
3.When Deeba looks herself up in the Book, what does she find? How does this make her feel?
4.How does Deeba formulate her plan of attack against the Smog? Why is she worried about how long the plan will take?
5.Why is it so important for Deeba to find a telephone? What makes this task difficult?
6.Where do Mr. Speaker’s utterlings come from? How does Deeba turn them against him?
7.What is unique about Yorick Cavea? Why does the book want him to join them?
8.What is the feather-key, and why is retrieving it so difficult?
9.After Deeba and her friends find the feather-key, what is their next task? Why does Deeba decide not to do it, and what approach does she take instead? How do you think this decision fits with her original decision to pursue the Smog herself?
10.Where does the Book tell Deeba she can find the UnGun? Why does Deeba think the answer to this question is so funny?
11.Why do Obaday Fing and Jones rejoin Deeba and the others? Why don’t Mortar and Lectern come as well?

Writing
1.When Deeba looks herself up in the Propheseers’ book, she finds that she is mentioned there only as one of the Shwazzy’s sidekicks. Is this an accurate description at the beginning of the book? By the middle? Are there any other characters in the novel that might be considered “sidekicks”? Drawing on this scene or other passages in the book, explain what you perceive to be the author’s attitude toward the concept of the “sidekick.”
2.Re-read the section in which Deeba frees Mr. Speaker’s utterlings. What do you think of her description of words and their function? Do you agree with her statement that “words don’t do what anyone tells them all the time”? Use examples to support your argument.

Part Seven
Deeba, Hemi and their friends reach Webminster Abbey, where they craft a plan to snatch the UnGun from the Abbey’s inhabitants. Though Deeba is almost lost in the attempt, she finally manages to retrieve the weapon, only to find that it is apparently unloaded. When she unthinkingly fires it at a group of attacking Smoglodytes, however, she realizes that it works after all. Now armed, she leads her companions back toward the Smog’s lair. She is tempted to give up the mission and return to her family in London along the way, but realizes just in time that she is being tricked by the Smog’s collaborators. As they proceed, she and her friends are joined by many UnLondoners who support Deeba in her fight against the Smog.

Discussion Questions
1.What is the group called “the Concern,” and what is their goal? Why do you think they are willing to cooperate with the Smog, despite its evil nature?
2.What gives Websminster Abbey its name? What problems confront Deeba and her friends when they arrive there?
3.Why don’t Bishops Bastor and Bon want to know who won the war?
4.What plan does Deeba use to attract the Black Window that has the UnGun?
5.What happens to Deeba when she dives into the window to retrieve the UnGun? What doesn’t she retrieve?
6.When Deeba fires the UnGun at the smoglodytes, what happens, and why?
7.What task does Deeba give the bishops?
8.Why is Chief Inspector Sound’s argument convincing to Deeba? What prevents her from going along with him in the end?
9.Who does Hemi say are Deeba’s troops? Why might this group of people be more willing to help her than are the other citizens of UnLondon?

Writing
1.Although the Propheseers’ book was wrong about many parts of the prophecy, it was correct about where to find the UnGun. Describe the role of prophecy in Un Lun Dun up to this point, considering what value, if any, it retains for the characters and for the reader by this chapter of the novel.

Part Eight
While part of her tiny army fights the Smog’s guards outside, Deeba sneaks inside the factory with a small group of friends. Although she manages to defeat some of the Smog’s allies with the UnGun, she is betrayed by one of her companions and captured by the Smog. As all of her plans to escape are foiled, she almost despairs, until she suddenly understands the prophecy’s cryptic reference to the UnGun’s power over the Smog. Just before it is too late, she uses the weapon to defeat and imprison her enemy.

Discussion Questions
1.Why do you think the ghosts join the fight against the Smog? Are the other troops happy to see them? Is Deeba?
2.What is a “rac”? How does Jones tell Deeba this word is pronounced?
3.What does Deeba name her “rac”? What might this tell you about her?
4.What is inside Skool’s diving suit?
5.Who are the voices Deeba hears inside Unstible’s factory? How do they cast their spells? What happens when Obaday sends their “ordersquito” off-course?
6.What saves Deeba when the Hex tries to stop her heart?
7.Why can’t Deeba use the UnGun on Brokkenbroll? How does Lectern explain her actions? Do you think they are justifiable?
8.What stops Brokkenbroll from letting his unbrella kill Deeba?
9.How does Deeba escape from Brokkenbroll and the Smog?
10.What is the Smog’s plan for conquering UnLondon? Where did it get the knowledge to make this plan possible? (391-2)
11.How does the Smog leave the Unstible-skin? Where does it go?
12.What happens in chapter 95? Why do you think it is as short as it is? Does it have anything in common with the other one-page chapter, chapter 34?
13.How does the UnGun ultimately defeat the Smog?

Writing
1.Curdle helps Deeba to carry out her plan to escape from the Smog by fetching her sewing kit, so that she can turn the unbrellas into rebrellas. Does this act change Curdle’s role in the novel? Be sure to consider Deeba’s feelings about Curdle and the feelings or remarks others make about the little milk carton over the course of the book. You might also want to compare Curdle to another character—for example, Hemi, or Deeba herself—to explore the ways in which the milk carton overcomes the negative or neutral expectations of others.

Part Nine and Epilogue
In the aftermath of the battle, UnLondon’s residents begin to return to their everyday lives, and Deeba realizes that she too must return to her home. Promising that she will see her UnLondon friends again, she crosses the Pons Absconditus back into London. After a frightening moment during which it seems her family has forgotten her, she joyfully rejoins her parents and brother. The book ends as a confident Deeba confronts British MP—and former Smog collaborator—Elizabeth Rawley in her office. The appearance of her UnLondon friends on the last pages makes it clear that her adventures are far from over.

Discussion Questions
1.Why does Hemi begin wearing “ghost togs” at the end of the book? Is his stated reason the only one?
2.How does the Book feel about its prophecies now? What do you think of its claim that it will be only “a joke book” in the future?
3.Why does Deeba believe that she’ll be able to get back to UnLondon again? What does she want to do there on her next visits?
4.What does the prime minister mean when he refers to “A chemical weapon that can strategise like a general”? Why does Elizabeth Rawley worry that “communications ha[ve] dried up”?
5.Why do you think Deeba and her friends go to Elizabeth Rawley’s office?

Writing
1.Deeba’s character changes a great deal over the course of the novel. Write an essay describing the change or changes you find most significant. Make sure to consider why and when you think each change takes place, offering examples from the text.
2.One thing that distinguishes the good characters from the bad or foolish ones in this book is the way they behave towards those who are unimportant or unpopular. Choose a character from the novel and explore his or her behavior towards the weaker, less popular, or less glamorous characters he or she encounters. Does the character you’ve chosen change over the course of the book? For the better?

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1.Ask your class: How would Un Lun Dun change if it had a different ending? Possible questions to consider include: What if Deeba’s parents didn’t remember her? What if Zanna did remember UnLondon? What if Deeba never reunited with her UnLondon friends? What if she brought one of them (such as Hemi or Obaday Fing) home with her? Have each student write an alternate ending for the novel. Then, in small groups, have the students read or describe their endings to each other and discuss how each outcome affects the trajectory of the book as a whole. Do some endings seem more plausible than others? More satisfying? Why or why not?

2.As we have seen, some occupations—bus driver and librarian, for example—are perceived quite differently in UnLondon than in London. Working in small groups or individually, have each students choose another profession and envision how it might be described by UnLondoners. They might describe their ideas in an essay or comic strip, or each small group can work together to dramatize the UnLondon versions of their professions for the class in a short skit.

VOCABULARY

*A&E – n. emergency room/ER
*Bin/Dustbin – n. trashcan; garbage can
*Climbing Frame – n. a jungle gym
*Comprehensive – n. a school for children aged 11 to 16 or 18
*Estate – n. several big housing blocks; a housing project
Farrago – n. a confused mixture; hodgepodge; medley
Guy Fawkes – n. 1570–1606, English conspirator and leader in the Gunpowder plot of 1605: Guy Fawkes Day is observed on November 5 by the building of effigies and bonfires.
Kerfuffle – n. disorder, commotion
*Mobile – n. Short for “mobile phone”; a cell phone
MP – n. short for “Member of Parliament”
*Nutter – n. A person who is acting crazy
*Rubbish – n. Trash, garbage
Rumbustious – n. Uncontrollably exuberant; unruly
*Scrum – n. A confused situation involving lots of people
*Tarmac – n. Material used to make airport runways, roads
Togs – n. pl. clothes
Vulpine – adj. 1. of or resembling a fox. 2. cunning or crafty.

Definitions marked with an * are taken/adapted from the author’s Note to Readers at the beginning of the book. Other definitions are taken from Dictionary.com, a compilation of online dictionaries.

BEYOND THE BOOK

1.In Un Lun Dun, all of London’s waste, garbage and pollution winds up in UnLondon. Where does your school’s or community’s “moil” go? Have your students track all the waste produced in their homes, in the community or by the school for one week or month, including garbage, food waste, extra or unused materials (i.e. chemicals from the chemistry lab, or leftover paints from art projects), and deliberately disposable items such as newspapers and paper cups. Have the students keep their findings in a notebook or journal; at the end of the experiment, have each student or group (if students are working jointly) present their findings to the class. Discuss: where does all this material go? Is it recycled? Does it go to a local landfill? A larger site? Debate the pros and cons of each option; if appropriate, ask your students to brainstorm alternate solutions to the problem and share their ideas with their families or school/community officials.

2.Un Lun Dun is filled with unique, bizarre, and amazing sights. Ask your students to choose an image, object or character that they find particularly interesting and recreate it in an art or multi-media project. Depending on the object they choose and their own artistic inclinations, students may paint or draw, make a collage or found-object sculpture, or create a computerized or animated version of their UnLondon image.

OTHER TITLES OF INTEREST

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Midwinter Nightingale by Joan Aiken
The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm by The Brothers Grimm

His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman:
The Golden Compass
The Subtle Knife
The Amber Spyglass


ABOUT THIS GUIDE

This guide was written by HANNAH DOHERTY, a PhD candidate in English Literature at Stanford University, where she will spend the next few years taking many English classes, working as a graduate teaching assistant and teaching as an instructor in Stanford’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric. She is an avid reader and has worked with young people of all ages as a tutor and camp counselor.

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