The Children of Men

By P.D. James

Rating: 2 stars

P. D. James is better known for her crime fiction than her science fiction and while this book has an intriguing idea, I found the execution poor. Set in a future Britain in a world where no children have been born for 25 years, an historian finds himself caught up with a small band of malcontents and drawn into something much deeper.

A major problem that I had with this book was that I didn’t find any of the characters particularly sympathetic, in particular the protagonist, Theo Faron, cousin of the Warden of England. And that’s another thing, although the future Britain is nominally a dictatorship, it’s a very British dystopia, which, frankly, sounds like quite a nice place to live in, to me. The Warden promises freedom from fear, from want and from boredom. Criminals are relocated to the Isle of Man and left to their own devices and the Warden and Council keep utilities flowing as best they can and try to maintain an order of normality.

By contrast, the group of malcontents that Theo falls in with seem somewhat like whiny teenagers. And I think that’s a fault of the writing that they’re not more sympathetic when they could well have been.

It’s not often I say this, but the (very loosely adapted) film is much better.

Book details

ISBN: 9780307279903
Publisher: Vintage
Year of publication: 1992

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