Please help ID this story.
December 27, 2010 11:42 PM   Subscribe

ID this YA book about a dystopian city and clown-like savior.

Around 1989, I read (or was read) a book about a young person living in a semi-dystopian city. The technologically-advanced city was surrounded by a physical barrier or shell, and the air was provided by machines which either manufactured fresh air or purified it from outside. The machines were falling into disrepair, and no one knew how to repair them.

The protagonist (a young girl, I think?), along with other children, was smuggled out of the city by a jester-like character, and it turned out that the world outside the city was not so bad after all. That's about all I remember (and my memories aren't very good).
posted by Maximian to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds very much like Clarke's The City and the Stars, or the later reworking with Benford. Don't suppose the domed city was Diaspar and the idyllic town outside was Lys?
posted by mumkin at 12:01 AM on December 28, 2010

Best answer: Andre Norton's Outside. I also remembered this book from childhood and tracked it down a few years ago.

It has also been published as part of a single-volume anthology called Moon Mirror. I'm pretty sure that the stand-alone children's book has the same text as the anthology version. The Outside book has a low page count and largish text so I expect that it was short enough to be included in the anthology without editing.
posted by D.C. at 12:12 AM on December 28, 2010

Response by poster: The City and the Stars (from the Wikipedia synopsis) sounded almost, but not quite, like the book I read. Outside, however, is definitely it. "Believing's seeing" and the mention of telepathy jogged my memory a bit more. Thanks for your help! This has driven me crazy off and on for years.

(I was also thinking that Clarke's book would have been pretty heady stuff for 5th graders, but then again it was a "gifted" program.)
posted by Maximian at 12:16 AM on December 28, 2010

For me, your description brings to mind 'City of Embers', I know it's not what you're asking for - newer than 1989 - but you might also enjoy it.
posted by jsslz at 12:53 AM on December 28, 2010

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