I had a thing with apocalyptic tales. Do not ask me the reason but ever since movies like Planet of the Apes, Sunshine or Mad Max series, I am passionate towards such stories. I would go giddy a little and would watch these movies. The first book I ever read about apocalyptic stories, it was David Brin's The Postman. It was one of those rare times when I was much younger, I managed to finish the book. Now - I always wonder what other books I can devour when it comes to such themes and I came upon The Death of Grass. I bought it a few months back but because of a recommendation from a fellow book muncher, I started to read it and manage to finished it in 2 days. Did I like it?
The Death of Grass (or better known in America as No Blades of Grass) is a science-fiction apocalyptic tale of a virus sweeping around the world, killing (you guess it) the grass. As the blurb goes, one family made a journey to travel to safe haven of a relative and along the way, made life-changing choices. It sounds pretty norm for any other story you might have come across. Yes, it was written in 1957 as well but the concept of a virus that kills vegetation does have a reality effect about what will happen if it does happened.
Throughout the book you will see how civilization starts to crumble, men become savages and justification is just a word of selfish means to an end. There is no right or wrong but only the right of the the wrong of their own. It can be harrowing at times how when society falls, people will do any thing to survive. Throw away the moral values and the only loyalty that is most important is who made decisions as a leader. Every thing that is written there made me wonder what will happen next if the main protagonist and his family (along with his comrades) will do next if face situations that is hard to make decisions. Its a real page-turner because one - its fast-paced and two - it does make you think if killing someone is the right thing to do even though they are innocent.
Still, I had some issues with the book too. Although its not a problem, it can be a problem since the book is written in the 1950s, the conception of female characters are not sound well. Yes, there are some scenes where the female characters are the voice of conscience and the male characters are the dominant voices of logic and decision makers. Not everyone can accept that but if take into consideration, it is when it is written equal rights was not a norm then and so that can be pass as nothing. My actual problem was the writing. I get a little irritated the way each character, when a dialogue is produce, its how John Christopher in his own amateurish way of writing of who said who first. That repetition is just how it is throughout the book which annoys me. If not of these issues, I would have given a 4 instead of 3 in my rating.
Although I have not read much apocalyptic themes in books, The Death of Grass so far is good, not better but a modern classic that is worth a read if you overlook certain parts of the story. While I do wonder whether the ending was short-change, I look at it as an overall read and I do enjoy it.