I've just finished reading The Road, and looking back at some of my reading / viewing habits, realised I have a bit of a nightmare dystopian future thing going on. Thought I'd round them up here.??
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Thought I'd start with this as it's fresh in my mind. To be honest I found this pretty harrowing and hard going, in a way I don't think I ever have with a book. I really felt I needed to know this would end with at least a smidge of optimism so I read it very quickly for me, in two days. I think a lot of people have read this as a tract on environmentalism, and how we treat the world, but as I've more recently become a father, I was totally hooked by the father / son relationship and that whole scenario was what affected me most. Two years ago I might have been a bit more 'meh'…
Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky
I've just started reading this, only 20 pages in??and to be honest, after the road, it's a bit lightweight. Although it feels like I need lightweight after that… When you realise the writer was working on this at the age of 17, it really does show, it's not as refined as it could be. Wouldn't it be cool if like there were loads of people living in the Russian metro after like this really big accident happened and there are these baddies in he tunnels too and… etc.??
The Drought by JG Ballard
One of the first JG Ballard books I read, set in a world of drought where people fight ??to survive by herding pools of water in from the coast to survive on. It's a fascinating book, quite bleak but again, nowhere near as harrowing as The Road
The Drowned World by JG Ballard
Logically, after reading The Drought, I then eventually found this book set in a future London where the world is flooded. Survivors live in the top levels of skyscrapers (yes, it's really flooded that deep), and there's a lovely weird William Burroughs ex-pat feel to the environment and characterisations and relationships described.??
I am Legend by Richard Matheson
I read the original book of the Will Smith blockbuster yonks ago, and my mind immediately set in the country, imaging it set around my parent's house in France. Which is very unlike the New York of the film. As is probably always the case with these, the book also felt a lot bleaker and depressing than the film – I guess it helps that you have more ??time to dwell on what you're reading in a book. ??
Children of Men by PD James
I saw the film first here, then read the PD James novel. Yes, that's the same PD James who usually writes what I think of as quite 'safe' English detective novels, although this was the first thing I read by her. The book was obviously ramped up somewhat for the film – I think in the book the main character is something of an academic and it's based around Oxford's dreaming spires. It's good but maybe not worth reading if you saw the film, doesn't add that much. I think the ending is quite different from what I remember.??