Children of Men, by PD James, was recently made into a motion picture. The trailer for the film looked pretty amazing, and I read some great reviews, although it didn’t quite hit home that the praise in those reviews was targeted primarily at the filmmaking and cinematography, as opposed to the underlying story itself.
I just finished the book, and I kind of wish I’d have spent the seven bills to see the movie instead. The book started off pretty okay. The writing style was elegant but comprehensible, and the premise of the story was downright intriguing. The year is 2021, and all of humankind has become infertile. The last children born were born in the mid-1990′s, and the entire population of the world has grown older, as well as somewhat jaded because of the impending demise of the human race.
The story takes place in England, and tells the tale (partially through narrative and partially through journal entries) of Theo Faran, a college professor at Oxford who also happens to be the cousin and former advisor to the Warden of England. Theo is divorced from his wife and is pretty much a loner until he meets Julian, a member of a separatist faction of five individuals with lofty objectives and a big secret. Theo unwittingly/unintentionally/inadvertantly joins forces with this group as they run from the law.
I’m not going to waste a lot of time getting into the details of the situation, because I don’t think the book merits the effort, and here’s why: after a couple hundred pages of setup and storytelling, it seems like James got tired, because the denouement (which is somewhat lacking and ridiculous) takes place over the course of about three pages. Now I’ve stated before that I’ve got a short attention span, but come on! This undershot even my low standards for getting to the point.