Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Children of Men

Image sourced from here
First up, I can't get my head around the science of this book. I don't think that was the point at all. The author had an idea, and then built the story up around that idea. What happens to our world if we just stop reproducing. Not by choice, we just stop. How would that fundamentally change our society? How would we act? What would we care about? Really interesting premise, mass sterility. However, I can't get my head around that basic biological fact.

But one scientific problem is dealable. Unlike previous reads where all science seems to be completely and utterly thrown out the window. Here is this problem, can we deal with it and move on? Especially seeing it's not dealt with in detail, just as a thing we know about? Answer is yes. I could move on.

And I am glad I did. PD James' storytelling is great. I really do like her writing. She just has that style of writing that draws you in, envelops you and makes you feel safe. Which is a weird feeling when she is telling you about the dictatorship that has taken over the United Kingdom, or the state enforced "suicides" of the old and demented (interestingly enough, in the idyllic, seaside village where I visited my friend doing her gap year. The school is mentioned by name), or you know, the mass extinction of your species. But don't worry too much dear, have a cup of tea and a biscuit. It completely suits the book though, with an ever ageing population with no children to replace it.

While there are flashes of brilliance in this book, like the storytelling, or moments within the story, I wasn't overly won over. I liked the dictator, even though he had a weird authoritarian system in place. But there were elements of that regime that I understood and even vaguely agreed with (although implementing them would be a completely different thing all together). I didn't overly like our protagonist. I didn't buy the "love" story at all. And I must admit there was a whole element of "saviour" that I found a little odd.

The book took an interesting idea and explored it slightly. Then whacked it together with a lot of other thoughts. Some of them worked for me, some didn't. Glad I have read it, but I won't be bashing down anyone's doors forcing them to do the same.

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