BooksOfTheMoon

Nausica of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 5 (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, #5)

By Hayao Miyazaki

Rating: 4 stars

Princess Nausicaä’s quest to understand the nature of the spores and the Sea of Corruption nears its end in volume five of the series. As the Dorok emperor poisons the younger brother in whose shadow he has lived for decades (due to his lack of supernatural powers) and makes plans to invade the Torumekian empire, this human-scale politics is played out against the backdrop of the apocalypse that has been unleashed and is threatening to destroy the few remaining viable lands that humans can inhabit. The vast, impersonal powers show up the petty human squabbles in a way that is chastening but never preachy.

Book details

ISBN: 9781591164128
Publisher: VIZ Media
Year of publication: 1991

Nausica of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 3 (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, #3)

By Hayao Miyazaki

Rating: 4 stars

In this volume, Nausicaä goes to war. She ends up in an uneasy alliance with a princess from a distant empire who is as busy fighting her own family as the people she was sent to fight. These people are using the miasma from the forest of corruption as a weapon of war, effectively cutting off their nose to spite their face, losing their own lands to the corruption.

We also see more hints of a prophecy that Nausicaä is at the centre of and the expanded canvas of the graphic novels gives this much more room to breathe than the film.

Book details

ISBN: 9781591164104
Publisher: VIZ Media
Year of publication: 1984

Nausica of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 2 (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, #2)

By Hayao Miyazaki

Rating: 4 stars

The second volume of the story of Princess Nausicaa, this widens and deepens the canvas of the story, showing us some more history of the world and more of the politics and factions that populate it. Nausicaa and the supporting characters are wonderfully drawn (metaphorically and literally) and the story keep hinting at more in an organic way that draws you in.

Miyazaki’s tale of the dangers of ravaging the earth is poignant but never overbearing and I look forward to reading more of it.

Book details

ISBN: 9781417654307
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Year of publication: 1983

Nausica of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 1 (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, #1)

By Hayao Miyazaki

Rating: 4 stars

The inspiration for Miyazaki’s film of the same name this is a beautifully drawn, if fairly short, graphic novel that follow the eponymous Nausicaä, princess of the Valley of the Wind as she is sent to war for the Emperor that ancient treaties have bound her kingdom to.

Nausicaä’s world is beautifully realised, and focuses on many themes that Miyazaki would return to in his anime films, including the role of man in nature, the destruction of the world and awesome giant robots. It’s initially hard to get used to reading right-to-left but it becomes second nature remarkably quickly.

The graphic novel is short, I read it in about an hour, but the series is also cheap, with each one available for under £5 on Amazon so getting hold of the entire set shouldn’t be as sore on the wallet as other graphic novel series.

Book details

ISBN: 9781591164081
Publisher: VIZ Media
Year of publication: 1982

Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines Quartet, #1)

By Philip Reeve

Rating: 5 stars

In a post-apocalyptic future, cities have become mobile and survive in a twisted form of Municipal Darwinism, with towns eating villages and cities eating towns, ripping them apart and incorporating their human and material resources into themselves. The most ancient City of them all, London, has returned from its hiding places to the great Hunting Ground in a mad dash east. Apprentice Historian Tom Natsworthy and the murderous Hester Shaw are hurled from the city and must survive in the wilderness and discover the secret at the heart of London’s Guild of Engineers.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a riveting tale with lots of strong characters and a feeling that that none of the protagonists are necessarily safe, but it still packs a punch when someone does die. The world-building is rich and the descriptions are excellent, particularly those of London, in its new mobile form (well, I say ‘new’, although the novel is set over a thousand years after the creation of the Traction Cities). This is the first in a quartet of novels set in the same world, but I’m not entirely sure that I’d want to read the others, since the climax of this one was so poignant.

Book details

ISBN: 9781407110912
Publisher: Scholastic
Year of publication: 2001

The Postman

By David Brin

Rating: 4 stars

In a post-apocalyptic America, a travelling minstrel stumbles on the uniform of an old US postman and his life is changed forever.

I really enjoyed this book. As well as being a page-turning adventure story, it was about hope and the things that can build and destroy it. The protagonist is an idealist and it’s his internal battles that drive a lot of the plot. Definitely worth reading.

Book details

ISBN: 9781857234053
Publisher: Orbit
Year of publication: 1985

The Chrysalids

By John Wyndham

Rating: 4 stars

In a post-apocalyptic world, all deviations from the norm are abhorred. When David and a couple of others discover emerging telepathic powers they must hide them in fear for their lives.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s creepy and often has logic that’s all too plausible, taking you to very uncomfortable places and yet is also optimistic, taking a line on the future of humanity that reminded me of some of Theodore Sturgeon’s work. It’s also a cracking adventure story that’s very readable.

Book details

ISBN: 9780140013085
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year of publication: 1955

Habitation One

By FREDERICK DUNSTAN

Rating: 1 star

Habitation One is a giant tower, sheltering the last remnants of humanity after a nuclear apocalypse, for so long that they’ve forgotten who they are and where they’ve come from. But now a chain of events has been set in motion that will change their future forever.

I didn’t enjoy this book much at all. It’s a first novel and it shows in the awkwardness of the writing, not to mention the completely unsympathetic characters, the clumsiness with which the (quite graphic) violence is handled, including two attempted rapes, and the poor characterisation of the female characters. And then there was a pointless religiously-themed epilogue tagged on the end which bore no real relevance to the rest of the book at all. I’d suggest avoiding this.

Book details

ISBN: 9780006166849

Silent Galaxy

By William Tedford

Rating: 3 stars

After a nuclear holocaust, the only remains of human civilisation are the fledgling space colonies, which adapt and colonise the solar system. A couple of hundred years later, a Jovan fighter pilot crash-lands on Earth after a battle with Luna Nation setting off a chain of events that would take him all across the solar system and and possibly lead to the life or death of the human species.

I enjoyed this book. The story kept going at a decent pace, the characters were all likeable and sympathetic and, although there was a strand of mysticism running throughout the book, it didn’t overwhelm it, but just nudged the story along when it needed it.

Book details

ISBN: 9780843909975
Publisher: Banner of Truth
Year of publication: 1981

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