Greybeard
The sombre story of a group of people in their fifties who face the fact that there is no younger generation coming to replace them; instead nature is rushing back to obliterate the disaster they have brought on themselves.

Greybeard Details

TitleGreybeard
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseDec 2nd, 2005
PublisherHouse of Stratus
ISBN-139780755100637
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Apocalyptic, Post Apocalyptic

Greybeard Review

  • Paul Bryant
    January 1, 1970
    A quote from The Twinkling of an Eye, Brian Aldiss' autobiography:P D James, ordinarily a bestselling middle-class thriller writer, set The Children of Men in the future. The novel was published in 1992. I began to worry about her novel when readers wrote to me, pointing out many similarities between James' novel and my own Greybeard. Greybeard was published by the same publisher, edited by the same editor as James', 30 years earlier; it was still in print... The points of similarity between the A quote from The Twinkling of an Eye, Brian Aldiss' autobiography:P D James, ordinarily a bestselling middle-class thriller writer, set The Children of Men in the future. The novel was published in 1992. I began to worry about her novel when readers wrote to me, pointing out many similarities between James' novel and my own Greybeard. Greybeard was published by the same publisher, edited by the same editor as James', 30 years earlier; it was still in print... The points of similarity between the novels are astonishing. Both centre around Oxford and are set in a world dominated by a tinpot dictator, where there are no more children... *******Author’s fear of nuclear radiation PLUS author’s recent divorce and consequent lack of contact with his own children PLUS author’s horror of stoats (stoats? Stoats!!)= Greybeard, a moony mournful meandering dystopian very British SF novel from 1964.The concept is that atomic tests made in space in 1981 radiated the entire planet and caused the higher mammals (except reindeer - Reindeer? Reindeer!!) to become sterile. A bit like - actually quite a lot like - P D James’ 1992 novel Children of Men which was, curiously, set in the exact same near-future period (late 2020s). The story follows one of the world’s youngest couples Algy and Martha who are in their early 50s. All other characters are 70 plus if they're a day. And the plot follows an unfortunately age-appropriate tired desultory fits-and-starts path as Greybeard and wife and a couple of geriatric friends bumble down a river to somewhere undefined for some hazy reason which is never spelled out, stopping here and there to tarry awhile and see what the ancient inhabitants are up to in their ramshackle decaying hamlets and follow various rumours about children beginning to be born again. The impulse to go on this watery road trip is an impending stoat attack on the isolated village where they’ve been living. Stoats? Stoats!!The present will always find the past’s version of the future (i.e. the present) comical. Mostly because whilst the technology can be guessed at and maybe eventually will come to pass (videophones = skype), the social attitudes remain fixed in the present of the novel, because future social attitudes can’t be extrapolated. Or at least it’s much more difficult. So the long flashback to the year 2003 is almost unreadable. I would fish out some cringe-making quotes at this point, but I think I already did that in a previous Brian Aldiss review, and I still think of myself as a fan, so this time I’ll refrain. I haven’t read it but Children of Men sounds like a better novel, even if it also sounds like a bit of a rip-off - okay, a LOT of a rip-off. But the movie Children of Men is great stuff, so in this case I’d say watch that and forget both novels. (Although I really dislike the queasy religious ending in the movie.) (But it’s still great.) My 1968 paperback copy of Greybeard has the worst cover. There’s a photo of a man with a beard but a) he’s a young man and b) his beard is brown. Major fail ! These people would put a boy on the cover of Lolita. No idea why he seems to be weeping green ice cream either.
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  • Richard Derus
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3.5* of fiveThe Publisher Says: The sombre story of a group of people in their fifties who face the fact that there is no younger generation coming to replace them; instead nature is rushing back to obliterate the disaster they have brought on themselves. Was slighty revised by the author in 2012.My Review: First published in 1964, at the tail end of one of the scariest passages during the Cold War, this post-apocalyptic look at the resilience and the lack of same in the human spirit was Rating: 3.5* of fiveThe Publisher Says: The sombre story of a group of people in their fifties who face the fact that there is no younger generation coming to replace them; instead nature is rushing back to obliterate the disaster they have brought on themselves. Was slighty revised by the author in 2012.My Review: First published in 1964, at the tail end of one of the scariest passages during the Cold War, this post-apocalyptic look at the resilience and the lack of same in the human spirit was involving and affecting. It was also a disorganized mess.(view spoiler)[Chapters 1-3 take place in 2025 and on, or the mid-point of the story. Chapter 4 takes place as the world finds its way through the crisis. Chapter 5 has us back in about 2030...Chapter 6 is early days of the Accident, as the sterilization of Earth's humans is called...and then back to 2030 in Chapter 7. It's kind of a confused way to tell a story. (hide spoiler)] Not that it's a complicated story, but it's always nice to have things move along in sequence when there's no reason, stylistic or otherwise, for them not to.Aldiss' Introduction to the 2012 edition tells of the genesis of the story...a divorce, a general reduction of his life to solitude, and a desperate yearning for his lost kids...and I must say that this Introduction is what kept me going for the whole short 237ish pages. I could relate to his sense of loss and his almost desperate longing. I looked for those things in his text and really didn't find them too terribly often. Many things occur in the book, but few of them happen, if you see what I mean; Greybeard, the main character, and Martha, Greybeard's wife, aren't prone to overstatement. Jeff, a character whose slippery presence is highly emotionally charged, makes little impact in the end. Charley, the dopey religious nut, isn't much of a shakes for shakin' stuff up either. Dr. Jingadangelow (!) the snake oil salesman is fun...I picture Eddie Izzard playing the role in a movie...but rattles on and rockets off ballistically.I didn't love the book, but it's got at its heart a futureless bleakness that resonate with. After 50 years, the Accident's specifics don't quite line up with reality, but I have no smallest problem imagining specifics that end us up in the same place. One day soon, y'all should go read Sir Roy Calne's book Too Many People. I can see that causing the Accident with all too great a clarity of inner vision.On the low end of the recommend-to-others scale, and then only to those who like post-apocalyptic stories. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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  • Simon
    January 1, 1970
    This is a story of one man's attempt to survive in a post apocalyptic world.Post apocalyptic stories seem to fall into one of two categories. Either humanity is humbled by some huge disaster that nature has thrown at us or else humanity is the victim of its own foolishness, a disaster of its own making. This story falls very much in the latter category. The nature of the catastrophe is this: An accident whilst nuclear testing in space has somehow raised the radiation level on earth to the extent This is a story of one man's attempt to survive in a post apocalyptic world.Post apocalyptic stories seem to fall into one of two categories. Either humanity is humbled by some huge disaster that nature has thrown at us or else humanity is the victim of its own foolishness, a disaster of its own making. This story falls very much in the latter category. The nature of the catastrophe is this: An accident whilst nuclear testing in space has somehow raised the radiation level on earth to the extent that it has either sterilized everyone or only allowed horrifically deformed monstrosities to be born which were at first eugenically eradicated and then later fought over as it became apparent that in them lay humanity's only hope for the future. Consequently, society has collapsed and the population is aging with the youngest people being at least 60.It uses a somewhat tired premise in that humanity has attempted to wield a technology beyond our ability to safely control and which led to our own downfall. Although it is more than that; it is a lament against Aldiss' own age: "It was really the generation before hers that was more to blame, the people who were grown up when she was born, the millions who were adults during the 1960's and 70's. They had known all about war and destruction and nuclear power and radiation and death - it was all second nature to them. But they never renounced it."The story's misanthropy goes deeper than that. Our society was so deeply flawed and corrupt that the disaster was almost a blessing, clearing the slate and allowing us to regain our humanity. As one character suggests: "Have you thought of the world we were born in, and what it would have grown into had not that unfortunate little radiation experiment run amok? Would it not have been a world too complex, too impersonal, for the likes of us to flourish in?" He adds: "Is not this rag-taggle present preferable to that other mechanized, organized, deodorized present that we might have found ourselves in, simply because in this present we can live on a human scale?"All in all it is a kind of rambling tale with no conventional form of plot and conclusion to be reached at the end. This is more a mediation on the time and follows a brief transition of Greybeard as he follows his dream. Not much in the way of action but it certainly gives you plenty to think about.
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  • James
    January 1, 1970
    Waterstones had a display of books set in London and we bought a few. I think this is the last one I had left to read, only to discover that the book isn't set in London at all. London features heavily in the book as somewhere they want to get to — in fact they want to get through London and out to the coast — but starting west of London they never quite make it. That said, their quest to reach London still makes the city feel like a character. Just out of scene, aspirational, but a character Waterstones had a display of books set in London and we bought a few. I think this is the last one I had left to read, only to discover that the book isn't set in London at all. London features heavily in the book as somewhere they want to get to — in fact they want to get through London and out to the coast — but starting west of London they never quite make it. That said, their quest to reach London still makes the city feel like a character. Just out of scene, aspirational, but a character that they keep searching for and referring to.48 years before a test explosion in space leaves the whole world sterilized. Once the sickness settles down and the radiation deaths slow down the world is left with an ageing population – an ageing population that can't have children. Algy and Martha were just children during the year of sterilization. Now, in their 50s, they are the youngsters in their community. Their leaders are increasingly old and increasingly paranoid, so they decide to take off, head down the Thames, and try and get to London, then hopefully onto the coast beyond.Aldiss presents the touching tale of the travels of this group, as they pick up a handful of other disaffected community members on their way out, the story is also interspersed with flashbacks as we find out about Algy's and Martha's childhood meeting and their time in Douche (Documentation of Contemporary History – England). More touchingly, we come to understand how important the lack of any children has become to these people. As they grown older there is no one to look after them, as they die there will be nobody to replace them. Everybody lives with the knowledge that, as a species, we are dying out. Phantom pregnancies, rumours of freak shows of deformed half-human children, and con-men offering all sorts of life extending treatments all seem to spring out of this desire for things to be different. Even Douche itself is the vain hope that humanity needs to make sure there is some legacy, even if it's only information, to leave for the children that everybody hopes will come again if the radiation levels fall and somehow the sterility is reversed before they're all too old to even have children, let alone raise them.
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  • Veeral
    January 1, 1970
    This book's theme is very much similar to "The Children of Men" by P. D. James or more correctly it is the other way round as this book was published before "The Children of Men". I haven't read the latter though as there is a general consent out there that the movie for once was better than the book. And having watched the fantastic movie starring brilliant and underrated Clive Owen, I have no plans to read the novel by P. D. James.Now coming back to this book's review, I could only say that it This book's theme is very much similar to "The Children of Men" by P. D. James or more correctly it is the other way round as this book was published before "The Children of Men". I haven't read the latter though as there is a general consent out there that the movie for once was better than the book. And having watched the fantastic movie starring brilliant and underrated Clive Owen, I have no plans to read the novel by P. D. James.Now coming back to this book's review, I could only say that it started off pretty well but kind of dipped in the middle when it became over-preachy and philosophical. But I have to admit that the characters are well developed for such a comparatively short novel. Aldiss relies excessively on human philosophy in the latter half of the novel which cripples the pace somewhat, but that doesn't make this a particularly bad experience.
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  • Rog Pile
    January 1, 1970
    The time is the early twenty-first century, and humankind is dying, the entire race rendered sterile by an atomic 'accident' in 1981. Greybeard, barely yet sixty, is one of the youngest men alive. The story opens in the village of Sparcot on the Thames, where Big Jim Mole governs a ramshackle community of oldsters, eking out a living by farming, poaching (though who there is to poach from is not clear) and occasionally exacting a toll from travelers who attempt to take a boat under the Sparcot The time is the early twenty-first century, and humankind is dying, the entire race rendered sterile by an atomic 'accident' in 1981. Greybeard, barely yet sixty, is one of the youngest men alive. The story opens in the village of Sparcot on the Thames, where Big Jim Mole governs a ramshackle community of oldsters, eking out a living by farming, poaching (though who there is to poach from is not clear) and occasionally exacting a toll from travelers who attempt to take a boat under the Sparcot bridge.Although Man is dying out other lifeforms are prospering: rabbits and foxes are plentiful. Stoats have increased to the point where they have become a menace, hunting in massive packs. One or two of the larger mammals have also survived, including the reindeer, introduced to Britain in the latter years of the twentieth century. Far from being a gloomy scenario, the theme of humankind’s sterile end provides a rich canvas for Aldiss's narrative: villages, forest, river, lakes and cities, swarming with life, human and animal.Greybeard decides that the time has come to leave Sparcot and Jim Mole's tyrannical regime, and takes advantage of a threatened stoat attack and the ensuing confusion to slip away down the river with his wife Martha and a few companions. Away from the enforced isolation of Sparcot they find that the human race is returning to a semblance of normality. At Swifford Fair they encounter the bizarre Bunny Jingedangelow, seller of rejuvenating potions and eternal life. Here and there are reminders of the old world they have left behind: crossing a lake dotted with islands, a railway station and signal box jut out of the flood, home to a mad hermit.With alternating chapters the narrative moves between present and past, showing how the world has come to this pass. The flashback sequences are less enjoyable: the breakdown of civilization, martial law, famine and disease, hag-ridden army officers philosophizing over gin and tonics in fly ridden bars. While not exactly dull, these scenes are inevitably gloomy, and it's a relief when the flashback is over. We've been there too many times before.It's a brave book which has no dashing, youthful hero or young female beauty to hold the lead roles. There is love: the love of Greybeard for his Martha. The book evokes a pastoral vision of England; an England reverting to a wild Pleistocene state. The ending...the ending is marvelous.
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  • Elise
    January 1, 1970
    This book was similar to P.D Jame's novel "The Children of Men" only it was written in 1964. Though many of the conclusions were the same, the feeling of each was very different. I liked them both, though Aldiss's book had us flying in hover cars by now. Tell me, where are the hover cars?
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  • Charles Dee Mitchell
    January 1, 1970
    Very satisfying sf adventure story. Atomic testing sterilizes humans and most other mammals in the 1980's. Algernon Timberlane, Graybeard, was a child at the time and now, a man in his fifties, is among the earth's last generation. England is quasi-medieval, with remnants if 20th century culture still in use. Flashbacks recount the history of the last fifty years, the breakdown of governments, one last world war For a time Timberlane works for Childsweep, a worldwide effort to kidnap children in Very satisfying sf adventure story. Atomic testing sterilizes humans and most other mammals in the 1980's. Algernon Timberlane, Graybeard, was a child at the time and now, a man in his fifties, is among the earth's last generation. England is quasi-medieval, with remnants if 20th century culture still in use. Flashbacks recount the history of the last fifty years, the breakdown of governments, one last world war For a time Timberlane works for Childsweep, a worldwide effort to kidnap children in the least affected areas for repopulation experiments. He then becomes part of the Documentation of Contemporary History, an organization with the unfortunate acronym DOUCH, made even worse when Timerberlane, as a English operative, drives around in a truck labeled DOUCH(E). (Is this one of those Anglo/American linguistic disconnects like "fanny" or "spunk"?) But England devolves to a time of warlords, massive epidemics, petty dictators, and snake oil salesmen offering eternal life. Graybeard, his wife, and two friends make they way down the Thames, wanting one last chance to see the coast. The novel ends with a slight hint of hope, but most remarkable is Graybeard's realization that he has lead a fuller life than he could have ever expected from whatever might have been the "normal" progression of humankind into the 21st century.Aldiss is an excellent storyteller. His descriptive passages can be either lovely or grotesque as the scene requires. And created that rarest of al things in sf novels, real characters capable of both cowardly and heroic behavior.
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  • Jonathan-David Jackson
    January 1, 1970
    My first disappointing read in the SF Masterworks series. Through nuclear experimentation in the 1980s, all humans and most animals (except for a few little ones like stoats, which now maraud around in vicious herds devouring whole villages) are sterile, so by 2020 humanity has been ravaged by war and the only people left are those ages 50 and onwards, like Greybeard. Coincidentally, his actual name is Algernon, like the mouse of Flowers for Algernon - maybe that was a more popular name in the My first disappointing read in the SF Masterworks series. Through nuclear experimentation in the 1980s, all humans and most animals (except for a few little ones like stoats, which now maraud around in vicious herds devouring whole villages) are sterile, so by 2020 humanity has been ravaged by war and the only people left are those ages 50 and onwards, like Greybeard. Coincidentally, his actual name is Algernon, like the mouse of Flowers for Algernon - maybe that was a more popular name in the 60s? There isn't much to the story, and it jumps around between the past and the present when it would've been much better in chronological order. Greybeard and his wife Martha live in Oxford under martial law, then they leave for no real reason and settle in a small village for 11 years - again for no real reason. And then they leave, for the same reason. Well, they leave because of stoats, but mostly for no reason. The characters are not interesting, their dialogue is weird, and they do and say things just because the author wants them to.This could have been a superbly bleak and interesting novel about the end of humanity, but instead it was just boring and poorly written. Brian Aldiss is no longer with us, so he won't be hurt by my insulting his book. I gave up reading about halfway through.
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  • Mark Hodder
    January 1, 1970
    Initially, I couldn’t properly engage with this, despite my admiration of Aldiss’s style. It felt remorselessly pessimistic and the characters just didn’t click with me. Then, exactly halfway through, I suddenly felt invested, and enjoyed the rest of it through to the end. GREYBEARD is frequently listed as one of the great sci-fi novels. Personally, I don’t count it even as Aldiss’s best. Maybe reading about the loss of children doesn’t resonate when you have two 2-year-olds running around!
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  • MK
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting connection to The Children of Men by P.D. James, noted in a goodreads user's review for this book:Greybeard by Brian W. Aldiss 416390Paul Bryant's review Jul 10, 2016* * * it was okbookshelves: sf-novels-aaargh A quote from The Twinkling of an Eye, Brian Aldiss' autobiography:P D James, ordinarily a bestselling middle-class thriller writer, set The Children of Men in the future. The novel was published in 1992. I began to worry about her novel when readers wrote to me, pointing out Interesting connection to The Children of Men by P.D. James, noted in a goodreads user's review for this book:Greybeard by Brian W. Aldiss 416390Paul Bryant's review Jul 10, 2016* * * it was okbookshelves: sf-novels-aaargh A quote from The Twinkling of an Eye, Brian Aldiss' autobiography:P D James, ordinarily a bestselling middle-class thriller writer, set The Children of Men in the future. The novel was published in 1992. I began to worry about her novel when readers wrote to me, pointing out many similarities between James' novel and my own Greybeard. Greybeard was published by the same publisher, edited by the same editor as James', 30 years earlier; it was still in print... The points of similarity between the novels are astonishing. Both centre around Oxford and are set in a world dominated by a tinpot dictator, where there are no more children... ******* more at link - https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... I purchased Greybeard on Kindle in Jan of 2018. I'm reading Children of Men in Jan/Feb of 2019. Hopefully I can find time to get back and read this book (Greybeard) sometime later in Feb or March of this year {2019). Maybe check out the movie Children of Men, too !
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  • Stephen Curran
    January 1, 1970
    In an England increasingly overrun by vicious stoats and coypu, where the tribal and elderly population fret about gnomes hiding in the forests, Greybeard and Martha decide to leave their settlement and climb aboard a boat. As they take their long, slow journey in search of the mouth of the Thames (encountering conmen and showmen and scholars, and a hermit who believes his family has successfully procreated with badgers) the narrative jumps further and further back in time, eventually arriving In an England increasingly overrun by vicious stoats and coypu, where the tribal and elderly population fret about gnomes hiding in the forests, Greybeard and Martha decide to leave their settlement and climb aboard a boat. As they take their long, slow journey in search of the mouth of the Thames (encountering conmen and showmen and scholars, and a hermit who believes his family has successfully procreated with badgers) the narrative jumps further and further back in time, eventually arriving in Greybeard's childhood, where we discover the nature of the 'Accident' that has left the human race childless and sterile.All this is related in prose far more precise and lyrical than anyone might usually expect to find in the Science Fiction section. A passage chosen at random: “Frost glittered on the pinched sedges outside the door; as he looked at its tiny lost reflections, he heard the creak-crunch of footsteps moving across a stretch of grass.”Brian Aldiss has described this book as being about his estrangement from his own children. More broadly, it is a story about the conflict between the instinct to reproduce and the apparent death-wish of our species. Its predictions on the outcome of this struggle are not optimistic, but neither are they wholly without hope.
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    Algy Timberlane, now called Greybeard, is one of the youngest men in the world at the age of 56. Within his lifetime, Greybeard lived through the Accident that sterilized most higher mammals, fought in the wars over the remaining children of earth. For the past few decades he’s been living in an England where government has collapsed and reverted back to isolated societies. With his wife Martha and a few others, Greybeard escapes a paranoid village to travel along the Thames. They pass through Algy Timberlane, now called Greybeard, is one of the youngest men in the world at the age of 56. Within his lifetime, Greybeard lived through the Accident that sterilized most higher mammals, fought in the wars over the remaining children of earth. For the past few decades he’s been living in an England where government has collapsed and reverted back to isolated societies. With his wife Martha and a few others, Greybeard escapes a paranoid village to travel along the Thames. They pass through the ruins of the old world and the remnants of an infirm population, a tour of how the world ends, lit by faint rays of hope amongst the darkness.I wasn’t sure what to expect with Greybeard, but in hindsight it’s one of those books I should have read ages ago. Aldiss is an excellent storyteller who’s created an intricate world, displaying the beauty and the grotesque with bittersweet grandeur. There’s a lot of thought in Greybeard, not just about the lack of children but about aging and dying, and those themes of entropy work wonders when combined with the apocalypse.Full review found here.
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  • Larry
    January 1, 1970
    I read this years ago, or tried to but I didnt get it at the time and probably didnt finish it back then. This time however I found it very enjoyable!Basically the book is set in about the 2030s, 50 years after a nuclear accident when bombs were set off in space, causing a catastrophic disruption in the Van Allen belts that surround the Earth and protect us from solar radiation.. The 'accident' resulted in this radiation from the sun briefly reaching the Earth, rendering the human ace sterile. I read this years ago, or tried to but I didnt get it at the time and probably didnt finish it back then. This time however I found it very enjoyable!Basically the book is set in about the 2030s, 50 years after a nuclear accident when bombs were set off in space, causing a catastrophic disruption in the Van Allen belts that surround the Earth and protect us from solar radiation.. The 'accident' resulted in this radiation from the sun briefly reaching the Earth, rendering the human ace sterile. At the time the book opens the human race is represented by the elderly, eeking out a living pottering around Oxford and London, looking for, and on guard against, others. There are rumours of new children born but it seems to be all myths perpetuated by deranged old lunatics, or is it?.....Re-reading after all these year I would heartily recommend this if you are a fan of post-apocalyptic works- in fact I'd go so far as to say this is the best Aldiss book I've read so far!Brilliant!
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  • Huw Evans
    January 1, 1970
    Due to The Accident, in which nuclear weapons were exploded in space, the humans on earth have been rendered sterile. There are no children being born and society has disintegrated into small tribes. Greybeard. whose real name is Algy, started off in the army and then documented the chaos that ensued. After a brutal encounter he and his wife decide to leave the group they are in and go downriver to see what is happening on the coast. This creates the opportunity for Aldiss to write a series of Due to The Accident, in which nuclear weapons were exploded in space, the humans on earth have been rendered sterile. There are no children being born and society has disintegrated into small tribes. Greybeard. whose real name is Algy, started off in the army and then documented the chaos that ensued. After a brutal encounter he and his wife decide to leave the group they are in and go downriver to see what is happening on the coast. This creates the opportunity for Aldiss to write a series of interlocking vignettes jumping backwards and forwards through history to document the way society crumbles when it appears to have no future. This book is beautifully written and the links between the episodes are seamless. He has a very vivid view of how society would rewrite itself. His prose is spare and bleak, suitable to his storyline but remains readable throughout.
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  • Kathleen (itpdx)
    January 1, 1970
    Good post-apocalyptic science fiction. Published in the mid-60's and set in Britain around 2030 with visits back over the past 50 years. A nuclear "accident" happened in 1981 causing sterilization of many species of higher animals including man. Few children have been born and most of those have had terrible mutations. Wars and revolutions have broken out and civilization has disintegrated and aged. The main character, Greybeard, has taken part in two hopeful human initiatives--trying to save Good post-apocalyptic science fiction. Published in the mid-60's and set in Britain around 2030 with visits back over the past 50 years. A nuclear "accident" happened in 1981 causing sterilization of many species of higher animals including man. Few children have been born and most of those have had terrible mutations. Wars and revolutions have broken out and civilization has disintegrated and aged. The main character, Greybeard, has taken part in two hopeful human initiatives--trying to save the children and recording the current history of man for posterity (if there is any) or others. Interesting characters including one who in a very Shakespearean way mistakes his words.
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  • Miloș Dumbraci
    January 1, 1970
    incredibly boooooring!
  • Joshua
    January 1, 1970
    What is my fascination with the apocalyptic theme? Is it a macabre interest in the decimation of mankind or just a desire for a simpler world (a simpler world only able to be created through the destruction of this complexity)? Who’s to say? I can tell you that I know my interest in apocalyptic literature--as well as films, music, and videogames--is tied heavily to my interest in the Medieval period, especially the Early Middle Ages--notoriously and erroneously known as the Dark Ages--and the What is my fascination with the apocalyptic theme? Is it a macabre interest in the decimation of mankind or just a desire for a simpler world (a simpler world only able to be created through the destruction of this complexity)? Who’s to say? I can tell you that I know my interest in apocalyptic literature--as well as films, music, and videogames--is tied heavily to my interest in the Medieval period, especially the Early Middle Ages--notoriously and erroneously known as the Dark Ages--and the Black Death of 1348. It is interesting, to me at least, that the word apocalypse simply means revelation and literally has nothing to do with the end of the world. Of course, our association with that topic is from the book of Revelation of St. John, which, in case you were unfamiliar with the Christian scriptures, is the book describing the Christian view of the end of the world. (Whether or not I give any credence to this book is inconsequential.) Such a fact should change our opinion on what an apocalyptic story is. It is raising the veil and showing us beyond our petty world. It is a memento mori: a reminder of death. The “apocalypse” is a change, a transition into something different--something better is too subjective to say definitively. Still, as most apocalyptic literature is quick to point out, the death of man is not the death of the world or the universe. When I was younger (meaning six or seven), I was foolish and close-minded enough to think that when the Bible said God would destroy the world that the rest of the universe would be destroyed as well, but it wasn’t too long (meaning eight or nine) when I realized that if the world, or just mankind, ceased to exist, the universe wouldn’t notice. I was smart enough to reduce this to the personal, and thus began my interest in nihilism and existentialism. (Obviously I was a child and didn’t realize I was developing an interest in such heady topics.) Now, I realize this is a long preface to my review of Greybeard, but I just want to give an idea on my views of the end of mankind and the literature related to it.Starting out, I want to say that this is my first excursion into the world of Brian Aldiss, so I will be reviewing this book, not as a work of Mr. Aldiss, but as a work independent. That being said, along with my long preface about my views on the apocalyptic subject, I should say that I have a fondness for apocalyptic literature, so my opinion on this novel is probably skewed slightly. I wanted to give it five stars, but forced myself down to four. I do that because the part of me that loves literature knows that the writing is not very good. It’s not very bad either, but it is certainly lacking is fluidity--clunky is the wrong word, but if you must wrench it from me, you can have it. I love this type of writing though: matter-of-fact-philosophizing, I call it. Mr. Aldiss is clearly a smart man who has read his Wells, and is not far from imitating him (this isn’t a bad thing). The book brought to mind In the Days of the Comet, without all that free-love crap at the end. Not so much from content, but from concept. I’ll get back to that shortly. (Maybe not.)Greybeard is the book P.D. James’s Children of Men should’ve been, and that’s all I’ll say about that. The year is 2029: we are in the last generation of men. Back in 1981, a nuclear experiment in space caused a heavy dose of radiation to settle in on earth, killing off many of the larger mammals. Dogs went the way of the dinosaur, but luckily the cat survived, though a little hindered. Humans were rendered sterile, though some mutated babies are being born in between the time from 1981 to 2029. We join Greybeard in Sparcot, a secluded town on the banks of the Thames, and we follow his history for a couple of years. Don’t worry: Mr. Aldiss isn’t about to leave you without an explanation. The chapters go back and forth from The Accident--the nuclear tests that resulted in the disturbance in the Van Allen Belts--to the present.It is essentially a study of man’s maddening consolations in the face of his own extinction. Gnomes roam the forests. They will replace children, since man cannot have anymore. Oxford is sinking, and when it does, the naked young of the river will populate it. A massiah promises a “second generation.” Each group of secluded mankind has it’s own consolation, each just as maddened as the last. Greybeard leads his group down the river after his eleven years of secluded “peace” in Sparcot, and discovers these insanities along with us.And that is basically the story. Granted, there are extensive flashbacks to before their Sparcot days, even back to just after The Accident--not to mention the ending, which, for spoiler reasons, I will try to refrain from. The basic dilemma brought up by Greybeard--whose real name is Algy Timberlane--is whether or not life is better with or without the accident. It is a moral quandary that he is sparsely given the opportunity to ponder, but it is in the background of his every thought and action--in the background of every human being. There is a point where he says to his wife Martha that without the accident, they would not have led such meaningful lives, living in the normal 20th century ideas of materialistic life, and he asks if she thinks their lives are not better since the Accident happened. I love that her response is simply “No, I don’t. We would’ve had children and grandchildren by now, but for the Accident, and nothing can ever make up for that.” I don’t have children, though I’ve always had a strong desire to have some (especially a daughter), but I can imagine that living without the thought of someone to live for would leave you hollow. That’s why Algy and Martha hold to each other so solidly. She is more the saint than he is. He has a bit of a drinking problem, but that’s to be expected. She just deals with his coming home and drinking gin till his thoughts and feelings spill out. Maybe if there hadn’t been the Accident, she’d have left him. They probably wouldn’t even have met. Charley Samuels holds to his religion as tightly as Jeff Pitts holds to his bow and arrow or Dr. Jangedangelow holds to his delusions. We all have our consolations.
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  • Norman
    January 1, 1970
    This is my first Aldiss, to my remembrance! I found the writing easy to follow, the scenarios are drawn so I can see them. The characters well described. The story here concerns creeping old age. No children (well, not quite) are being born and we follow Greybeard through his adventures down the Thames but also through his reminiscences. The story flashes back and to the present and fills in Greybeard and wife's back story.But all of this does not describe the effect on me. Stop and ponder. NO This is my first Aldiss, to my remembrance! I found the writing easy to follow, the scenarios are drawn so I can see them. The characters well described. The story here concerns creeping old age. No children (well, not quite) are being born and we follow Greybeard through his adventures down the Thames but also through his reminiscences. The story flashes back and to the present and fills in Greybeard and wife's back story.But all of this does not describe the effect on me. Stop and ponder. NO CHILDREN. All inhabitants of the planet Earth are the last generation. What becomes important to you? How do you spend your time? Relaxing in between hunting, growing, seeding? Is there a restlessness you feel because your end in in sight and even more pronounced as there are no youngsters to nurture and carry on your line? If you settle in a community slightly isolated from the world in a leafy overgrown (no pesticides whoopee!) English countryside, is that enough? Or do you yearn to fulfill...something? Is it travel for travel's sake? Or must you reach the coastline of your youth? A great book that will certainly linger in my mind!
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  • Jonathan Norton
    January 1, 1970
    A slow apocalypse caused by childlessness due to nuclear testing in the 70s. That's the basic scenario for this odyssey through the ruins of dying Britain, with flashbacks to the world that passed away. Of course this plot has been worked over by many other hands since, but this 1964 version is still great. What a pity we never got to see the film version that B.S.Johnson was scripting in 1968.
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  • Neil
    January 1, 1970
    This book took a long time to read; I did not expect it to be as boring or slow moving as it was, to be honest (especially after the prior book I read by this author (Cryptozoic) was such a fast read for me!). The narrative is pretty choppy, to be honest: the story gets broken up in that it moves forward, then stops and jumps back about thirty year into the past in chapter 3 or 4, bounces back to the 'present' before returning to the past in chapter 6, followed by returning to the our heroes in This book took a long time to read; I did not expect it to be as boring or slow moving as it was, to be honest (especially after the prior book I read by this author (Cryptozoic) was such a fast read for me!). The narrative is pretty choppy, to be honest: the story gets broken up in that it moves forward, then stops and jumps back about thirty year into the past in chapter 3 or 4, bounces back to the 'present' before returning to the past in chapter 6, followed by returning to the our heroes in the 'present.' The character development is so-so; I really did not develop any feelings for any of the characters, so I was not that emotionally invested in the story. Part of the reason why it took so long to read was that I mostly read it during breaks at work and a smidge each night. I think the author did a decent job with the different interactions between various characters (major with minor characters, or minor characters with minor characters). It was amusing to read about some of the guesses made about how the future might look (apart from the Accident as referenced in the book). Overall, the book probably had an interesting premise: what might the world look like if children can no longer be born? What would it be like if every person on earth were now sterile? How might that affect society? (view spoiler)[Society clearly falls apart. The postulation is put forward that the majority of purchases made are either by or for young people. When young people (pretty much anybody under the age of 21, I guess) are removed from the calculus, the economy suffers and falls because adults of various ages no longer make the purchases that people would have been making otherwise. Candy will no longer be purchased as most adults (especially those over 50+ years of age) no longer eat candy or "junk food" like young people do. The automobile industry essentially shut down because only "young people" were buying the exotic, expensive vehicles (mainly sports vehicles or Jaguars and the like, in this predicted future) and families would no longer be purchasing vehicles large enough to fit themselves and their children. Furthermore, the lack of younger employees, of fresh blood, in the market place would have a chilling affect, further corroding the economy.In the author's viewpoint, young people have become some kind of 'precious resource' that is quite rare (or, was quite rare). Wars were fought as nations began grabbing as many young people as they could (probably all under the age of 21) in order to protect them and try to see if they could be used as breeders or not. I could not quite figure out if every single young person (or, nearly every single young person) under age 21 had been killed off or not between the moment of the Accident and when this book starts. Greybeard is 26 when he joins DOUCH(E) (still! makes me laugh when I think of the name of his organization's acronym!) (which we find out 'later') and takes pride in still being one of the youngest and healthiest "old people" (nearly) thirty years later. So, to me, it is: what happened to all of the young(er) people? I assume they must have been killed off, as I do not recall any comments being made about how they were safely stored away in hidden, protected fortresses of some kind. Otherwise, there should still be a 'batch' of scattered "youngsters" in their early-to-mid-thirties.There was some kind of accident that occurred that involved the Van Allen radiation belts surrounding the Earth. I could not decide if the Accident was an experiment that either went wrong or backfired or if it was an accident. A batch of atomic/nuclear bombs were set off in the atmosphere, and these bombs going off adversely affected the Van Allen belts so that the Earth was soaked in radiation. Most large mammals (other than reindeer and maybe caribou, for the most part; some sheep and cattle seemed unaffected as well) were sterilized because of the radiation (and it affected large aquatic creatures as well). Smaller creatures that lived in burrows underground somehow escaped being sterilized and were now able to breed like crazy due to no longer having any natural predators. Foxes could still be bred; dogs and cats were essentially extinct. I never quite understood what the premise was behind the atomic bombs going off in the atmosphere (unless it was some kind of failed atmospheric testing that was going on). (hide spoiler)](view spoiler)[The author seems to take the viewpoint that most of the adults would kill each and every child they could, if they ever found any that were born without any kind of obvious defects or whatnot. Children were still occasionally being born, but they were deformed, malformed, and many did not live very long. The fact that these distorted versions of humanity were allowed to live would lead me to believe that the conclusions of the various characters "had to be" wrong; this conclusion was that adults would unhesitatingly kill any 'perfect' children who were born rather than let them live; the lives of these 'perfect' children would be fraught with terror and trials and strife and fear as adults would try to take advantage of them. Because of this, any children born would somehow become 'wild childs' and live in the wilderness, apart from humanity as a whole and becoming a new branch of humanity into and amongst themselves; a 'second generation' of humans. The author uses the 'fact' that Greybeard shoots a child in the leg at the end of the book as justification of his belief (or, theory) that adult humans would sooner kill a child instead of letting it live. It was interesting how the author believed various people would handle the 'end of the world' as they knew it, as there would be no younger generations to support the elderly or replace them in the former modern circle of life. Most of the book focuses on England; as governments collapse and society crumbles around people, little 'kingdoms' are established throughout England's countryside and centered around certain types of towns/cities. Some are 'industrial-based' and others are 'learning-based' (being centered around university-towns). These little 'kingdoms' suffer further breakdowns because of disease, the inability to obtain the needed resources necessary to survive, and raids from other 'kingdoms.' As the technological-industrial base collapses, people are forced to live simpler and simpler lives, further causing more deaths because large populations can no longer get the amounts of food and supplies needed to continue surviving (which is also one of the reasons why dogs and cats are essentially extinct; they were used as sources of food) and people either move into the countryside to try to survive or starve to death (which is the more likely scenario for most city-dwellers). Some people learn to excel in this environment, and the 'natural world, "nature," nearly fully recovers (or, has new niches created that are filled which allow nature to survive and thrive in this world with a now-dramatically reduced population). I also thought it was fascinating that the author had "Christians" scattered throughout his novel, that there were still people who held to either Christian theology/beliefs or other kinds of religious beliefs. Now, I strongly disagree with some of the comments that Adam Roberts makes in his forward about religion (in general), God, and Christianity, but I am sure he would disagree with me as well. In any case, it was interesting how there were still people who held onto their religious beliefs during what would have been quite the tumultuous times. Myself, I do not believe God would ever allow such an event to happen, but that is just me. I could see people in the book blaming God for what happened; mankind does have a history of preferring to avoid taking any kind of responsibility for its actions and then blaming God when there are severely negative results. I have to admit, I thought the author was pretty even-handed in his 'treatment/presentation' of religious people throughout the book (well, of the Christian faith, anyway, as people who believed in the 'return' of gnomes and "little people" were pretty roundly mocked and disparaged throughout the course of the entire book). I have read other authors who are very antagonistic toward anything religious, but Aldiss did not come across that way in this book. It was a nice breath of fresh air, on the one hand. (hide spoiler)]Not a lot really, truly happens in this book. (view spoiler)[It starts out with the remnants of a village (population center) up the river fleeing downstream after being attacked by a large group of stoats (a type of weasel, I guess?) that decimated the inhabitants until the survivors could safely flee on boats. Because of this 'coming invasion' and no natural predators of the stoats, the citizens of Sparcot are in a tizzy as to what to do. Greybeard convinces his wife they need to flee because they do not have enough ammunition to protect themselves from the stoats and still survive the coming winter (or any other attacks that would need to be repulsed). They gather some friends to flee with them, head to a boat Greybeard has hidden for just such a day, and head down the Thames. They encounter a couple of different groups of people, there is a lot of talking, and they find a small batch of healthy, "wild" children by the end of the book. Greybeard's ultimate goal is to sail down the Thames to see 'the Sea' one last time; he has no real other goal than this. So, what happens after he reaches 'the Sea'? Does he just give up? Do he and his wife die? He has no further plans than this - reaching the mouth of the Thames. Brilliant plan on his part! Perhaps that is why the author does what he does: break up the "monotony of nothing happening" by interjecting some "past historical events" to bring the reader up to speed on some of the 'primary characters' (the main two being Greybeard and Martha, his wife). How many different ways are there to say somebody is sailing down the river, or rowing down the river, without it becoming repetitive and boring? So, the author 'cheats' by jumping back in time for further character development. Since leaving Sparcot, the longest time they spent somewhere was maybe three years before deciding it was time to move on. Greybeard never even finishes his quest of reaching the mouth of the Thames, either! (hide spoiler)] The book. JUST. ENDS!!!!!! No warning; nothing. It just ends. It was starting to get interesting, too, which was frustrating.It was an okay book; I may never read it again, and I am not sure how happy I am to have taken a chance on reading it. It truly left a lot to be desired. That being said, it did have its interesting moments (but not really enough to fully carry the book), and it was fun reading how an aging humanity with no hope of posterity was striving to survive and make a living in this 'brave new world' that was coming into existence at what appears to be the "end of an age" (where humans are concerned, anyway). So, overall, I guess I am somewhat happy I took a chance on reading this book; it sat on my shelf for several years before I decided to try reading it. I would rate it maybe 2.4 - 2.6 stars, rounded down.
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  • Roddy Williams
    January 1, 1970
    As post apocalyptic novels go, this has to be one of the strangest, albeit being paradoxically pastoral, original and beautifully written.Following a nuclear accident, the effects of which caused the van Allen belt to contract and irradiate the Earth, larger mammals are for the most part rendered sterile, leaving the human race ageing and childless.Aldiss chooses to begin his tale many years after the incident, following the life of Greybeard. He is, despite his name, one of the youngest of a As post apocalyptic novels go, this has to be one of the strangest, albeit being paradoxically pastoral, original and beautifully written.Following a nuclear accident, the effects of which caused the van Allen belt to contract and irradiate the Earth, larger mammals are for the most part rendered sterile, leaving the human race ageing and childless.Aldiss chooses to begin his tale many years after the incident, following the life of Greybeard. He is, despite his name, one of the youngest of a dwindling elderly population making the best of their lives in isolated small communities of the Thames Valley. At the start of the novel Greybeard is living with his wife - whom he has known and loved for most of his life - in Sparcot, a barriered off village on the banks of the river. The villagers exist on food they grow, shoot or trap, their clothes often made from restitched items of inappropriate material. It is an uneasy existence, made both more surreal and more fascinating by the elderly cast of slightly grotesque residents. Unexpected obstacles, such as the rise in the stoat population and their newfound tendency to hunt in packs, bedevil them. Their isolation has also caused some residents to foster a belief in gnomes, or to brood on the possibility of being invaded by the Scots. After an altercation with refugees from another community, overrun by stoats, Greybeard and his wife decide to take a boat and sail downstream to try their luck elsewhere. This journey alternates between Greybeard's past and present, giving us glimpses of how the disaster was affecting the world at various points in his life.It is very much a novel which examines human tenacity and purpose in a world where there is no hope for the future of Humanity as a species. Greybeard was employed as an agent of DOUCH(E) (where I can't help but see a twinkle in the author's eye at the unfortunate and likely deliberate acronym). The organisation is quite simply a body set up to perform mass observation, to record the extinction of man. Greybeard himself is aware of the irony of the task but is nevertheless dedicated to the work. In their travels down the river toward the sea, the couple and some of their erstwhile neighbours encounter a descent into a medieval existence where isolated groups have evolved strong diverging accents from their lack of contact with others. Like Fahrenheit 451, this is a book which transcends the genre and remains undated some sixty years after its publication. It's listed in Pringle's '100 Greatest SF Novels' and if not the best, is certainly the most original post apocalypse novel of the time. Depopulation was and is a popular theme, the most notable previous work being 'Earth Abides' by George R Stewart, although a nod also has to be given to Simak's 'A Choice of Gods' and Wyndham's 'Day of the Triffids'.PD James' 'Children of Men', incidentally, roused even Aldiss' suspicions on publication as it appears that the narrative is rather too similar for comfort.
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  • Noel Coughlan
    January 1, 1970
    The world is going out with a whimper instead of a bang. The entire human race is pretty much sterile due to a nuclear accident. More large animals, except reindeer have suffered the same fate, while other small animals thrive to the point of being a threat. Civilization despairs and collapses, but after a period of barbarity, the apocalypse mellows into something more genteel if still dangerous. The eponymous hero, Algy Timberlane, and his wife Martha flee the village they have sheltered in for The world is going out with a whimper instead of a bang. The entire human race is pretty much sterile due to a nuclear accident. More large animals, except reindeer have suffered the same fate, while other small animals thrive to the point of being a threat. Civilization despairs and collapses, but after a period of barbarity, the apocalypse mellows into something more genteel if still dangerous. The eponymous hero, Algy Timberlane, and his wife Martha flee the village they have sheltered in for several years on a quest to find something better.They wander through a chaotic world, encountering a host of eccentric characters including the 'physician' Dr Jingadangelow. Many deny the end of the world, putting their faith in ludicrous superstitions. Others turn the surviving remnants of past institutions. But the overall mood is one of resignation.As can be guessed from this, Greybread's journey is more than physical. It's a quest for meaning in an increasingly meaningless world. In a sense, it is the opposite of most apocalyptic stories I've read. Most are really about a new beginning, a fresh start, but this one is about facing the end of everything. Ignoring that emotional journey reduces the novel into a series of random incidents.The flashbacks to the immediate aftermath of the disaster, working chronologically backward, were of variable interest but ultimately fed into this theme. I found the account of the events leading to Algy's father's suicide particularly moving.The ending, though subtly foreshadowed throughout the book, was a bit abrupt. (I can't say any more without spoiling it.) Nonetheless, I enjoyed it.
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  • Zantaeus Glom
    January 1, 1970
    Another thoroughly absorbing and wonderfully literate work by SF Master Brian Aldiss. While dealing with an almost unbearably maudlin premise; our world made infertile by the ill-considered detonation of Atomic warheads in the earth's atmosphere; Aldiss writes so well, and with such sublime humanity, that one can't help but feel rather optimistic about the recuperative powers of man. Each zesty, colorful vignette is beautifully realized by Aldiss, and one is quickly immersed in the wholly Another thoroughly absorbing and wonderfully literate work by SF Master Brian Aldiss. While dealing with an almost unbearably maudlin premise; our world made infertile by the ill-considered detonation of Atomic warheads in the earth's atmosphere; Aldiss writes so well, and with such sublime humanity, that one can't help but feel rather optimistic about the recuperative powers of man. Each zesty, colorful vignette is beautifully realized by Aldiss, and one is quickly immersed in the wholly absorbing narrative of Greybeard, and his delightful wife Martha's stoic exodus through the myriad adventures they have along the Thames estuary, and the much hoped-for sanctuary of the sea. I'm sure Greybeard must be one of the most elegiac journey's into the inevitable demise of our natal planet; as there is such a grand wit and effervescing, searching mind at work behind this exemplary novel. Mr. Aldiss I salute you! 'Greybeard' has not not only proven to be an inspirational tome for generations of writers; it is also an earthy, impassioned, richly woven tale which shall remain a must-read for all those who genuinely appreciate great literary art.
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  • Vincent Desjardins
    January 1, 1970
    This book has an interesting premise - because of a nuclear accident in the earth's atmosphere, radiation has rendered most men and women sterile. When it becomes apparent that no more children will be born, wars are fought over the remaining children and society begins to collapse. The story, set many years after the accident follows a small band of men and women, now in their senior years, who are traveling down a river looking for other civilized settlements. At a little over 200 pages, the This book has an interesting premise - because of a nuclear accident in the earth's atmosphere, radiation has rendered most men and women sterile. When it becomes apparent that no more children will be born, wars are fought over the remaining children and society begins to collapse. The story, set many years after the accident follows a small band of men and women, now in their senior years, who are traveling down a river looking for other civilized settlements. At a little over 200 pages, the book is very short and just as it starts to get interesting it comes to an end. The story does wander a bit, it's a type of 'road-trip' novel filled with small vignettes of the characters' travels and fleshed out with some flashbacks detailing the aftermath of the radiation accident, but all in all, not a whole lot happens. I enjoyed the book, but at the same time kept thinking how great it could have been, especially if someone like Robert Charles Wilson (Darwinia, Spin, Axis, Vortex, etc.) had written it.
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  • Johnna Sturgeon
    January 1, 1970
    A disturbing evocation of a future in which the human race, following a series of nuclear tests gone awry, has been rendered universally barren. Human society collapses in the absence of any hope of future generations and the survivors mostly sink into a kind of madness born of despair. But at the end, it seems there is a glimmer of hope and humanity has actually been presented with a chance to reset "civilization" and break free of the corrupt systems of power and money that led to the ecocide A disturbing evocation of a future in which the human race, following a series of nuclear tests gone awry, has been rendered universally barren. Human society collapses in the absence of any hope of future generations and the survivors mostly sink into a kind of madness born of despair. But at the end, it seems there is a glimmer of hope and humanity has actually been presented with a chance to reset "civilization" and break free of the corrupt systems of power and money that led to the ecocide in the first place. In 1964 when Greybeard was originally published, it was surely all to easy to imagine a catastrophic radioactive contamination of earth. While Aldiss' vision didn't come true, the novel remains compelling because ecocide and extinction of humanity still remain real possibilities, if for other reasons. The popularity of James' Children of Men and the movie loosely based upon it tap into the same anxiety that, despite the reality of overpopulation in much of the world, perhaps we in the first world are rendering ourselves sterile through our abuse of the environment.
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  • Thom
    January 1, 1970
    Unlike many post apocalyptic tales, this one is told from the perspective of one man and in one chapter his wife. Together they face the end of humanity and this balanced perspective is different than the many similar books in this genre. The other characters in the book are also well written and interesting.There are just 6 long chapters here, each one tale in the life. Two of them are flash backs, and it is only here that we pick up the details of the disaster that led to this situation. Unlike many post apocalyptic tales, this one is told from the perspective of one man and in one chapter his wife. Together they face the end of humanity and this balanced perspective is different than the many similar books in this genre. The other characters in the book are also well written and interesting.There are just 6 long chapters here, each one tale in the life. Two of them are flash backs, and it is only here that we pick up the details of the disaster that led to this situation. Really enjoyed this style, and the tale kept coming back to me.I found myself thinking often of Earth Abides (read in 2012), primarily because of the aging narrator, though the outcome is similar also. Greybeard was included on a 100 best Science Fiction list and has been released as part of the SF Masterworks series. Recommended.
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  • Paula
    January 1, 1970
    A post-apocalypic novel set in England and written in the early 60s. I'm always so happy to know that what these writers foresaw for our present time has, by no means, come to pass. In Greybeard, an 'accident' (nuclear war) has made the entire population sterile, except for a few random people who give birth to children with major deformities. The entire population is aging, with little hope for the survival of mankind. The title character, Greybeard, is actually about my age, but is considered A post-apocalypic novel set in England and written in the early 60s. I'm always so happy to know that what these writers foresaw for our present time has, by no means, come to pass. In Greybeard, an 'accident' (nuclear war) has made the entire population sterile, except for a few random people who give birth to children with major deformities. The entire population is aging, with little hope for the survival of mankind. The title character, Greybeard, is actually about my age, but is considered a youngster in his day. All in all, a really good and interesting read.
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  • Rosaleen Lynch
    January 1, 1970
    This post apocalyptic novel written in 1964 makes more sense when you find out that the author is mourning the loss of his youth, his relationship and his children. Had I read the introduction I might have been prepared for the penning of this bleak landscape of the human condition. Hope is sought in the form of new generations but extinction is on the cards for humans. And in the end, come what may, we all face our own personal extinction.
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  • Chip
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting post-apocalyptic in which nuclear bombs exploded in space cause the complete sterilization of all large mammals including man. It interweaves a story of husband and wife, as well as other characters, with engaging present and past based chapters. All are struggling in male led deteriorating societies. Though depressing at times (especially as more people die of old age with little hope), the characters and story are written well.
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