The Death of Grass by John Christopher

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Synopsis

A post-apocalyptic vision of the world pushed to the brink by famine, John Christopher's science fiction masterpiece The Death of Grass includes an introduction by Robert MacFarlane in Penguin Modern Classics. At first the virus wiping out grass and crops is of little concern to John Custance. It has decimated Asia, causing mass starvation and riots, but Europe is safe and a counter-virus is expected any day. Except, it turns out, the governments have been lying to their people. When the deadly disease hits Britain, society starts to descend into barbarism. As John and his family try to make it across country to the safety of his brother's farm in a hidden valley, their humanity is tested to its very limits. A chilling psychological thriller and one of the greatest post-apocalyptic novels ever written, The Death of Grass shows people struggling to hold on to their identities as the familiar world disintegrates - and the terrible price they must pay for surviving. John Christopher (1922-2012) was the pen name of Samuel Youd, a prolific writer of science fiction. His novels were popular during the 1950s and 1960s, most notably The Death Of Grass (1956), The World in Winter (1962), and Wrinkle in the Skin (1965), all works depicting ordinary people struggling in the midst of apocalyptic catastrophes. In 1966 he started writing science-fiction for adolescents; The Tripods trilogy, the Prince in Waiting trilogy (also known as the Sword of the Spirits trilogy) and The Lotus Caves are still widely read today. Ifyou enjoyed The Death of Grass, you might like John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Gripping ... of all fiction's apocalypses, this is one of the most haunting' Financial Times
 

About John Christopher

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Christopher Samuel Youd was born on April 16, 1922, in Knowsley, Lancashire, England. He entered the Royal Signals corps during World War II. He published a dozen novels while working at an office job in London, writing in the evenings and on weekends. The success of a 1956 novel, The Death of Grass (titled No Blade of Grass in the United States), allowed him to become a full-time author. He wrote under the following pen names: Stanley Winchester, Hilary Ford, William Godfrey, William Vine, Peter Graaf, Peter Nichols and Anthony Rye. Under the pen name John Christopher, he wrote the Tripods trilogy, The Sword of the Spirits trilogy, and The Fireball trilogy. He died from complications of bladder cancer on February 3, 2012 at the age of 89.
 
Published January 1, 1975 by Pergamon Press. 231 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Death of Grass

The Guardian

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Death may have healed a personal divide but might yet open a general chasm, which is precisely what occurs in The Death of Grass when a virus destroys the world's food supplies and the flimsy edifice of civilisation itself.

Mar 07 2009 | Read Full Review of The Death of Grass

The Guardian

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But the swiftness with which society reverts to savagery is remarkable, and the evocation of man's culpability for the disaster - "For years now we've treated the land like a piggy bank, to be raided" - could hardly be more prescient.

Apr 03 2009 | Read Full Review of The Death of Grass

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