* Prices may differ from that shown
Now I have to confess, I only saw a few episodes of the first series of Survivors and I never read the original Terry Nation book called Survivors from 1975. I haven't got anything in the way of TV or other books to compare this 256 paged book published in 2008, which is a good thing as this review will be on the merits of the book I have read and nothing else
I picked this up in a charity shop for the princely sum of 50p, in remarkably good condition too. A little bit of research has told me that anyone wanting to purchase this book could look no further than Amazon and pick up a new copy for around a fiver and a second hand copy for about three pounds. Some further research (the things I do for a review) and if you look on EBay you can buy this book for about two and a half of your English Pounds including delivery.
Why I Bought It?
I am a self acclaimed survivalist myself. I make no bones about it; I have been hoarding survival type gear for years. Algerian military food ration packs; I've got them, outdated Signal Flares; I've got them, Swedish Military sleeping bags; those as well. The rubbish I have bought from EBay would astound you. Anything to do with post-apocalyptic survival of man fascinates me, probably too unhealthily, and having caught one or two episodes of the TV series, I knew this was a book for me to read.
I imagine in the 70's the idea of a rare strain of influenza wiping out 95% of the population would be quite "out there" but with recent bird flu and god know what else epidemics threatening the world it doesn't seem that farfetched now. This is what happens in Survivors and what we see is the struggle for survival when people are forced to go back to basics, without law and order.
The book focuses on a small group of individuals headed unofficially by Abby Grant, a mother and housewife, who provides the eyes and ears to the story. After the bubonic like plague decimates society, it is the story of survival, set against the backdrop of a desolated England that has no electricity, no government, and no nothing, it really is the struggle of the human race that has forgotten how to farm, how to build and how to survive.
I always have lots of expectation when it comes to post apocalyptic books. I want to read every little detail on what the people did for survival. This book does not give you that. What Terry Nation has successfully conveyed is the human tragedy of the post pandemic life. There are lots of subtle nuances to the book which inspire further thought, with the author demonstrating a skill for giving the reader food for thought instead of spoon feeding them the information.
At points the book jumps seasons and years, and the reader is left to fill in the blanks. At points there are more questions than answers that left me more than a little unfulfilled. There are hints to a character without in-depth analysis and even after finishing the book, I didn't feel particularly close or knowledgeable to any of the characters including Abby Grant, the main protagonist in the story. As much as I loved Terry Nation letting the reader fill in the blanks, there were times when I felt frustrated, wanting much more. I longed for the James Herbert type character explanation, and by not learning too much more than the basics about the main characters I felt a little distanced from the story.
A good enough read. A bargain at 50 pence and I am intrigued as to how the TV series was and whether there was too much difference between the 1975 Survivors and the 2008 Survivors. At times the book was thought provoking, at other times too sketchy, but overall a well written and interesting take on survival in post pandemic England.
* Paperback: 256 pages
* Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ); 1st THUS edition (November 27, 2008)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1409102645
* ISBN-13: 978-1409102649
* Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5 x 0.9 inches