Book: The Death of Grass
Author: John Christopher
I first discovered it a few years ago, during the Foot and Mouth crisis; I was busy at the time writing up my PhD thesis on Herbert Read, but this boo ...
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I'm not sure how old I was, but I read it at about the same time that the TV series 'The Survivors' first aired.
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The Death of Grass
The Englishman's worst nightmare: the ruination of his front lawn.
A virus is spreading around the world, killing off all kinds of grass. It’s a lot more serious than bird flu. Wheat, rice and barley are affected too, and the planet is faced with starvation.
We follow hero John Custace as he leads his family across an increasingly feral England. Their one hope is John’s brother’s farm – which grows virus-resistant potatoes.
It's a thrilling and dangerous journey, and the disintegration of modern society is vividly handled.
The Death of Grass might have rivalled John Wyndham’s popular 'cosy catastrophes' But while Wyndham’s middle-class heroes thrive in a crisis, Custace becomes steadily more vicious. At one point he even kills another family for their food - hardly cosy.
Christopher' later works are full of similarly gruff protagonists, struggling to survive different kinds of global calamity. It’s even true of his children’s books, such as the Tripods trilogy.
The book was adapted into a film under the title No Blade of Grass in 1970.
Work nominated by third-doctor.