The Death of Grass

Last night I read an interesting little book in one sitting - The Death of Grass by John Christopher. I was drawn to find out more about it after seeing some reissued copies in my local Waterstones, and thought it would be the sort of thing I would like, seeing as I have quite a fondness for post-apocalyptic doom-fests,

so I had a nose around ebay and bought an old penguin version for a pound (none of that £7 for a new paperback lark here)

It's quite a good little book, almost a teenager's kind of book, (it reminded me alot of z for zacariah, if you ever read that at school) although with some murderously noir touches and a few nods towards slightly more grown-up themes of adultery.

Basically the story revolves around a mutant virus that kills off all grasses around the world, including the cereal crops like wheat, barley and rice etc, plunging the planet into anarchy and cannabalism, through which a disparate group of survivors must fight their way to safety, all the while maintaining a semblance of the 1950's British stiff upper-lip.

The book has gathered a fairly sizable cult following over the years, and seems to have been re-issued now due to people's appetite for climate change panic lit. I imagine there's a lot of Guardianistas telling their friends about this book in their Tuscan villas this summer.

The most striking thing about the book though is how very very similar in style and content it is to the output of John Wyndham - especially to Day of the Triffids. It's a good and gritty little read that I would recommend to anyone fancying a quick atmospheric page-turner whilst sitting in a deckchair on their (as yet uninfected) lawn.


Gaw said...

Great cover, which seems to convey the doom-laden message with sufficient horror. But I'm not sure I can cope with much more apocalypse than we find on the news!

worm said...

really? I find a good bit of barbaric apocalypse most cheering - I think its the Darwinian thing of wiping out the chaff and starting again with a clean sheet. Perhaps I should start reading the Daily Mail?

Gaw said...

I suppose I'm worried about being chaff...

Daily Mail is weak - you're too f***ing rock for that shit. Yeah.

worm said...

ok, no daily mail then, anyway don't think I could have coped with reading it and finding out the 50 different ways that eating food will give you brain cancer, or how dropping a dress size will stop your children becoming knife-wielding paedophiles.

back to the (steadily declining) Torygraph it is then, with the occasional look at the Guardian to laugh at Toynbee and Monbiot

Kevin Musgrove said...

There were a lot of well-written apocalyptic works of fiction in the 50s and 60s. Unfortunately, by the 70s it just became good enough to be apocalyptic.

These days they just write about house prices.

worm said...

can't really imagine Katie and Phil fending off mutated zombie marauders in a dystopian radioactive wasteland.

Then again, I did see an episode of Location, Location when they went to Luton