This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
NARRATED by ST, a foul-mouthed, snack-obsessed crow who identifies as human, Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton (Headline Review, £18-99) takes place in Seattle where a mysterious illness is causing hideous transformations in homo sapiens.
Now robbed of his owner-cum-housemate, and thus in sole charge of a daft dog, ST bravely ventures out in search of still-functioning people. He finds a world which is rapidly erasing all traces of its former masters, as the rest of nature takes over.
If he’s to be of any use to his beloved city, ST must combine his human and crow natures to find his true self.
Funny and sad, Buxton’s fable is also full of purpose and meaning, and ultimately hopeful.
A post-apocalypse novel of a more conventional type is The Girl In Red by Christina Henry (Titan, £7-99), inspired by the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. The girl in the title is in fact a young woman who, as a flu-like plague decimates the population, sets off on foot across the US towards the safety of her grandmother’s cottage in the woods.
She is armed only with an axe, a neurotic tendency to plan for every contingency, and a sarcastic tongue.
One slight disappointment, coming from such a perceptive writer, is that she largely follows the US fictional cliché that in disasters people turn on each other ruthlessly and degenerate to an individualistic condition.
Actual data, as opposed to journalistic anecdote, strongly suggests that the opposite is the case, and that the great majority take the more logical and better-rewarded course of mutual aid. But any minor weaknesses of theme are soon forgotten by the reader caught up in a thrilling and emotionally involving quest story.
“I yam what I yam” has long been one of the most important themes in fiction for young adults. For Irréelle, 11-year-old heroine of Heather Kassner’s hauntingly atmospheric debut The Bone Garden (Titan, £7-99), self-acceptance is especially hard. Clumsy and ill-made, she has been created out of bone-dust and imagination to serve a merciless mistress in her grotesque and tragic obsession.
Constantly reminded that she is not entirely real, and could be unmade at any time, Irréelle’s only chance of a proper life lies in embracing the strengths and the perils of friendship and trust.
Agnes Gomillion’s debut, The Record Keeper (Titan, £8-99), is set a couple of centuries after World War Three, when the remnants of humanity have organised a society of strictly enforced division of labour, based on ethnicity.
Its protagonist, Arika, belongs to the dark-skinned labouring race, but is destined for an elite position within that lowly caste and determined to do whatever it takes to secure her future.
However, a sudden technological change triggers realignment in the ruling class and rebellion amongst the exploited, forcing Arika to abandon her illusions and choose which side she’s on.
This is a rousing, red-blooded tale of revolution, topically savage in its demolition of the false, unsustainable ideology of apartheid.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.