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Gråskæg (original 1964; edition 1973)
by Brian W. Aldiss
Greybeard by Brian W. Aldiss (1964)
No current Talk conversations about this book.
incredibly boooooring! ( )
Goed geschreven en goed uitgewerkt relaas van
het leven na een nucleaire catastrofe die het menselijke ras onvruchtbaar maakt. Goeie setting, schone karakters. Niets dat je omverblaast, maar steeds aangenaam en prettige spanningsboog.
I wish I'd read it before P.D. James' The Children of Men, which took the same core concept in a slightly different direction. Indeed, The Children of Men has such strong similarities - humanity stopped reproducing 25 years ago, our protagonists undergo a weary odyssey to Oxford - that it's impossible to accept that she hadn't read this first.
It's a quiet, understated, very pessimistic book, written in 1964 when Aldiss was only in his thirties (but had just gone through a divorce and the Cuban Missile Crisis). Stoats are apparently a big problem in the late 2020s. The human race ends with a whimper rather than a bang. There is a lot of Aldissian stuff here, and you certainly couldn't mistake the writing style for anyone else's. But I didn't in the end feel that it was one of his more memorable books; I guess for its time, it caught the Zeitgeist well, but it has now been overtaken by events, and by P.D. James.
The Publisher Says: The sombre story of a group of people in their fifties who face the fact that there is no younger generation coming to replace them; instead nature is rushing back to obliterate the disaster they have brought on themselves. Was slighty revised by the author in 2012.
My Review: First published in 1964, at the tail end of one of the scariest passages during the Cold War, this post-apocalyptic look at the resilience and the lack of same in the human spirit was involving and affecting. It was also a disorganized mess.
Aldiss' Introduction to the 2012 edition tells of the genesis of the story...a divorce, a general reduction of his life to solitude, and a desperate yearning for his lost kids...and I must say that this Introduction is what kept me going for the whole short 237ish pages. I could relate to his sense of loss and his almost desperate longing. I looked for those things in his text and really didn't find them too terribly often. Many things occur in the book, but few of them happen, if you see what I mean; Greybeard, the main character, and Martha, Greybeard's wife, aren't prone to overstatement. Jeff, a character whose slippery presence is highly emotionally charged, makes little impact in the end. Charley, the dopey religious nut, isn't much of a shakes for shakin' stuff up either. Dr. Jingadangelow (!) the snake oil salesman is fun...I picture Eddie Izzard playing the role in a movie...but rattles on and rockets off ballistically.
I didn't love the book, but it's got at its heart a futureless bleakness that resonate with. After 50 years, the Accident's specifics don't quite line up with reality, but I have no smallest problem imagining specifics that end us up in the same place. One day soon, y'all should go read Sir Roy Calne's book Too Many People. I can see that causing the Accident with all too great a clarity of inner vision.
On the low end of the recommend-to-others scale, and then only to those who like post-apocalyptic stories.
In this work of classic dystopian science fiction, a nuclear accident has left the human race (as well as larger mammals) sterile, and no children have been born for many years. As the youngest humans reach their late 50's, society has disintegrated rapidly and completely, and people live in technologically primitive tribes, defending themselves against attacks from packs of animals. The characters are seeking to find meaning to a life in which there is no one to pass the world on to. The New York Times has described this work as "An adult Lord of the Flies without Golding's heavy-handed symbolism and cumbersome style." That seems to me to be an apt comparison, although I would have kinder words about Golding's symbolism and style.
Belongs to Publisher Series
Nova (Bruguera) (9)
Présence du futur (95)
— 2 more
SF Masterworks (New design)
Is contained in
Human reproduction has ceased and society slowly spirals in this "adult Lord of the Flies" by a Grand Master of Science Fiction (San Francisco Chronicle). After the "Accident," all males on Earth become sterile. Society ages and falls apart bit by bit. First, toy companies go under. Then record companies. Then cities cease to function. Now Earth's population lives in spread‑out, isolated villages, with its youngest members in their fifties. When the people of Sparcot begin to make claims of gnomes and man‑eating rodents lurking around their village, Greybeard and his wife set out for the coast with the hope of finding something better.
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