Genre: Science Fiction

Notes: The movie is only LOOSELY (and, let me say again, LOOSELY) based on the book

Review:

I love a good end of the world, human race is dying, post-apocalyptic book.  I’m sure that says something about me, but I don’t know what.  Anyway, I watched The Children of Men movie in a college film class and finally got around to reading the book.

Basically, this books starts with a “What if?”  In this case, “What if the    human race became infertile?”  We pick up the story after this event,  called Omega, when no one has had a baby in thirty years.  Men no longer have viable sperm so the human race is slowly aging and dying out.  However, one woman has conceived against the odds and brings a child into the world.

James does a fantastic job of bringing these characters to life.  The world feels real.  Even though this story takes place in 2021, it really feels possible.  There are epic custody battles over pets (I’m pretty sure that happens today).  The government ships criminals off to a penal colony and forgotten about (I’m pretty sure some people want to do this today).  Migrant workers looking for a better life in England conduct all of the manual labor (Again, I’m pretty sure that happens today).

The overall feel of this book, even with the optimism and seeming miracle of the first pregnancy in about thirty years, is somber.  Nothing feels like it will end right.  Nothing feels like it will get any better.  At best, this new baby will be used as a sperm machine by age thirteen to hopefully inseminate any females still in their reproductive years.  At. Best.  At worst, this child will live the last twenty years of his life as the last remaining human on earth.  Sweet.

The book ends on a completely vague, open-ended note.  You’re left to decide what the world will be like, how humanity will handle a new baby, a new leader (dictator?), and how the laws will reflect these changes.  I’m inclined to believe the world will still suck, the child will be the last human alive, etc., but that’s just because I am an eternal optimist.  Obviously.

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