The book drought is ongoing. I didn't receive a single one last week, though I may have ordered one or two. Over the weekend I bought and read Brian Aldiss's Greybeard, in which a nuclear blasts renders everyone infertile. The novel tracks the social decay resulting from a land without young people. It's compelling: often lyrical, more concerned with death, the pointlessness of posterity and the philosophy of decay than the typical SF obsessions which group round this story line, and quietly rather beautiful. It's not an SF novel, in a sense: the nuclear blast is a plot device which happens decades before the novel's setting. Instead, very little happens: some ageing men and women travel around a degraded English midlands meeting other desperate or hopeless people.
If you think it sounds like P. D. James's The Children of Men, you're not alone: Adam Roberts's introduction pretty much accuses her of plagiarism, and adds a charge of religious clumsiness.
The post also brought me a rather interesting text, Patricia McKee's Public and Private: Gender, Class and the British Novel (1764-1878): not my period, but certainly themes in which I'm interested.
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