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The Children of Men by P.D. James is a dystopian novel set in England in 2021, where males have become sterile and the finale generation – the “Omega” generation – has turned twenty-five. Society is living out the end of days by living any way they want to, following strange religions, committing mass suicide, and basically waiting for the end to come.

Theodore Faron, an Oxford historian, is a cousin of the Warden of England, the man who runs the country. He is approached by a group of dissenters who have demands to make to the Warden. As the story progressing, it is revealed that the group is caring for a pregnant woman – the first pregnant woman in twenty-five years.

Unfortunately, the Warden finds out about the pregnancy and chases after the pregnant woman and Faron. At the end, she gives birth to a boy. When the Warden confronts Faron, they both shoot each other, but only the Warden dies. Faron then baptizes the baby and takes the Coronation Ring off the Warden and puts it on the baby, thus ushering in the “Alpha” years.

This was a story full of despair and sadness, but with a hopeful ending. Imagine suddenly no babies are born and the human race is left to die out (P.D. James doesn’t explain the infertility). This dystopian society didn’t come through a despotic government or a ravaging war. Simply through no new life being born. Only aging and death and decay. But that changes when Julian gives birth.

I think out of all the dystopian literature I’ve read (and it’s now becoming A LOT!), I feel like this is the most realistic scenario. I don’t believe that one day, the government will control everyone or that everyone has their freedom taken from them. The prospect of worldwide infertility is realistic, either through environmental factors or whatever. But of course, that is very much on the extreme and will probably never ever happen.

I have to mention that this book was made into a movie, starring Clive Owen and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. However there are many changes to the story in the movie and make it reflect themes of today’s society (as this book was published in 1992). The movie is much more graphic than the book, so beware – I watched the movie before I read the book, and the movie was very very depressing, more so than the book.

Either way, read the book. P.D. James’ writing is awesome and it’s quite short. And it definitely makes you think of what you would do in that situation: if you would live to see the end of humanity, how would you live the rest of your life?

Rating:

{  } Pretty bad
{  } Tolerable
{  } All right
{x} Exciting
{  } Enthralling

Book 24 out of 60