A sad and melancholy book this. Not the best way to start a review but read on and see if I can inspire you to give it a go.
Finally humanities testing of atomics has caused the human race to become sterile. No more children have been born in over 50 years. The populace has dealt with it in many varied ways, suicides, disbelief and fragmentation of society has occurred. This story revolves around Greybeard and mid fifties man, so called because of his beard which reaches down to his belt.
Society has broken apart and small villages scattered around the country are the norm. Greybeard realises that the village is dying as much in part to the elderly in the village dying off, the average age being sixty.
He and his wife and their friend and another couple take a boat and set off down river for what will turn out to be a startling and revelation filled adventure.
Along the way they will meet some exceedingly strange characters who will help them and some will steal from them, eventually they will discover that humanity has one small spec of hope and that is something worth living for and maybe dying for.
A superb novel which is superbly written. The novel can be sad at times and the village Greybeard comes from is an awful and depressing place, a place of no hope for the future pervades everything. But the middle of the book begins to lift the reader and the ending is superbly though provoking.
Think about it, how would the world cope with if children simply stopped being born across the planet?
Give this book a go, you, eventually , will not be disappointed.
Written by Brian W Aldiss.
Author - Brian W Aldiss.
I had seen this book around for a while but had never gotten round to reading it.
I wondered how to write this review without spoiling it for others so I decided to put my dislikes first, then to go on to the story itself.
The book starts off well enough but the flash backs to earlier days are distracting and can go on for 20 or more pages. At the 2nd flashback I skipped through 30 pages and thought about reading something else.
So if you don't mind a book half set in the future and half in the past then you just might enjoy this book.
The world has tested atomic weapons in space producing sterility in mankind. A childless civilisation crumbles into decay as mother nature reclaims her land. However, there are some small enclaves of humanity eking out a pathetic existence.
Greybeard is so named simply because he has a greybeard to his waist. He is early fifties and one of the youngest people left alive!
He lives with his wife Martha in an enclave full of old people, well, older than himself. One day they fear they will be attacked by the huge packs of stoats which now feed on human flesh so the village flees to the other side of the river. But greybeard is sick of simply existing and decides to strike out for the wilderness along with his wife. However a few other wrinklies go along with him.
The aged travellers arrive at a small town, Swifford fair, where they meet 'Doctor' Bunny Jingadangelow. He mentions the eternity drug but they get their possessions stolen and then move down river to Oxford, the drug item is left unresolved.
In Oxford the find work and even see some, not to badly deformed, children. After two years in oxford Greybeard and his wife decide to move on again. Charlie, Greybeards closest friend, also comes along and later another friend catches up with them as they all head to London.
But on the way they meet up with Jingadangelow and he expounds a few theories of his.
The book ends with the revelations in the last 2 pages where it is found that some normal children have been born and are living as wild animals in the woodlands and forests.
Ends very suddenly.
The characters do have depth and are believable.
A survivalist novel with a sci-fi twist that YOU might enjoy.
A haunting picture of an Earth where humanity has become sterile (because of radiation from atomic testing in space) and an increasingly decrepit ageing population lives out its days amidst a burgeoning nature reclaiming the crumbling towns and villages in a riot of vegetation and new animal life.