Monday, 9 February 2009


I enjoyed a day off work today and this coincided with the first snow-free day in my home town of Hitchin for some time. The combination of bemusement, caution and relief, as my fellow citizens and I gingerly trod on the remaining slush and with exhiliration strode blithely across the patches of tarmac that had become visible again, reminded me of the many post-apocalyptic novels, films and t.v. series I have consumed, wherein the survivors of plague/invasion/war (delete where applicable) lurch with the weary elation of survival into the task of building the world again. Then again my imagination is a little fevered.

Nonetheless, I felt this was all the pretext I needed to list some of my favourite work in this genre, namely:

The Death of Grass - John Christopher. Typically elegant and imaginative (and now relatively neglected) outing from the 'Tripods' author.

The 'Plague' trilogy - Jean Ure. Extraordinary tour de force, especially the choice of themes for a children's series, which tackles the social, personal and religious dimensions of biological apocalypse.

Riddley Walker - Russell Hoban. The Ulysses of the genre, in which language and culture have decayed and evolved into forms the understanding of which provides the reader with a highly stimulating and complex puzzle.

Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut. I'm cheating here, as this is an apocalypse without a 'post', but I had to get him in somewhere. A playful but as always profoundly wise romp through family, religion and science. Galapagos is a more authentic choice.

Actually, another link would have been to say that these are some books in which it is hard to keep alive (see our motto, gentle reader).

One or two citizens have, however, begun to spread dark rumours that the mysterious white cloud is returning. We look to the skies and pray....

Quotation of the day 
"Life is no way to treat an animal." Kurt Vonnegut (no relation to Capuchin Classics).


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