Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I have just finished Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' and thought it was brilliant, but I would have probably still enjoyed it even if it was rubbish as I have a slight obsession with any fiction or drama that has a post-apocalyptic setting. I've no idea why. My wife thinks that I should talk to my GP about it.
For those of you who are also interested in writing which explores the human condition reduced to its barest essentials, here is a list of my top ten post-apocalyptic novels (in no particular order):
1. Margaret Atwood - Oryx and Crake
2. Bernard Malamud - God's Grace
3. John Wyndham - The Chrysalids
4. Cormac McCarthy - The Road
5. Paul Auster - In the Country of Last Things
6. Kurt Vonnegut - Galapagos
7. Jose Saramago - Blindness
8. Philip K Dick - Dr Bloodmoney
9. David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
10. Russell Hoban - Ridley Walker
I realise that not every novel on the list is strictly post-apocalyptic, but they all deal with the theme of social collapse and its aftermath - something that is preoccupying a growing number of writers at the moment including Jim Crace (or should that be Crachay?), whose next novel 'The Pesthouse' is published in March.
With global warming, diminishing oil reseves and the threat of terrorism looming on the horizon, it is no surprise that there are so many speculative fiction titles being published. What is most alarming is the growing belief that we are living in the 'end times'. My second son is one-year-old today and I do not want him growing up in a world being torn apart by religious mania and corporate greed.
But before I succumb to a mood of pessimism, I must remember this (rough) quote from the controversial BBC film 'The War Game' - 'It is extremely likely that a nuclear war will have taken place by 1980'. It didn't happen. In the end common sense prevailed and we did the right thing.
Any recommendations for further reading would be very welcome.