Title: Children of Men
Author: P.D. James
Setting: England, around Oxford, in the year 2021
Characters: Theo, a 52 year old former professor of History. Divorced, one child (deceased). Julian, a young woman who is part of a band of revolutionaries (Five Fishes). Xan, the Warden of England and Theo’s cousin. Rolf, Julian’s husband and the leader of the Five Fishes. Miram, a former midwife and member of the Five Fishes. Luke, a priest and member of the Five Fishes. Gacaioerijaowef, the fifth member who gets killed pretty early on and who’s name I don’t remember.
Main Problem/Conflict: For some unknown reason, humans are no longer able to reproduce (though not for lack of trying - HEY-YO!!). Since the species is probably going to completely die out within 80 years, the focus of government is to just try to keep people safe, comfortable, and happy. Criminals are sent to the Isle of Man, there are pornography shops on every corner, and if people choose to kill themselves, there are organized events (called Quietus) where people are brought out into the ocean, and shackled to a boat, which is then sunk. Foreigners from the youngest generation (the Omega’s) take care of the elderly and do sanitation work and whatnot, and, for the most part, people are content. (Except, of course, for the women who cannot procreate and instead attach their need to nurture onto dolls and kittens. That’s just sad).
The Five Fishes, however, are not content. Miriam’s brother was sent to the Man Penal Colony for accidentally shoving someone (whilst stealing their purse), and was later murdered for escaping. Rolf has delusions of grandeur and thinks he can do a better job running the country than Xan. Everyone else, I don’t know, they’re just grumpy.
Julian approaches Theo, asking him to talk to Xan about making some changes (improving conditions for the foreign Omega’s and at the Man Prison, abolishing Quietus…). Theo asks Xan. Xan says no. The Five Fishes start being civilly disobedient. Theo goes on a trip. Gascaiotirwjeor gets arrested and probably killed and then! Julian is pregnant! Yay! The human race is saved! Boo! Xan will try to keep the baby for his own. So they go on an adventure into the British countryside.
Conclusion: Everyone dies except for Theo, Julian, and her baby. Theo gets a pretty ring.
Did you like this book/Would you recommend it to a friend?: Yes! It was a fun piece of distopian fiction and I would definitely read something else by Ms. James. The only thing that annoyed me (the first time it happened), was the abrupt switch from first person memoir to third person narrative. It happens in chapter five or six, so you’re all comfortable with Theo’s voice and style and BAM! Third person!