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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Post apocalypse

Image result for john christopher death grassI have a great liking for post-apocalyptic novels and have just re-read "The Death of Grass" by John Christopher which is one of my favourites. What is the attraction? Am I fascinated by the varieties of doomsday scenario which novelists conjure up? Do I secretly long for some catastrophic event to occur so that I can show my mettle at last? Is life so boring that I would just like a change, however dramatic? Probably something from all of these but mainly I like to imagine myself in the role of a survivor which is probably why I enjoy "Death of Grass" particularly - and it is set in England of the late 50s/early 60s which I can relate to directly. The 'hero' would be considered a chauvinist now and feminists would be horrified by the roles given to, and attitude towards, women, but it has to be taken in the context within which it was written. The development of the central character as the story progresses is, in my view, very well done. Christopher does not shirk from confronting the potential for violence which many of us have within us, nor does he fail to recognise the seductive nature of power and its impact on the individual. The book moves at a fast pace, but character is not sacrificed to action and the reader is forced to reflect on a variety of issues to do with human nature. Is it believable? Well, of course the world has changed since this book was written so the details would be different post apocalypse now, but the essentials seem to me to be the same. In spite of my 'romantic' vision of myself as an action hero, I will settle for the quiet life and continue to get my thrills vicariously!

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