Monday, 6 December 2010


Monday is Recommendation Day!

I often find that books written before about 1960 simply do not have the ability to piss me off, however obnoxiously sexist they are. So I hope you can understand why, despite the fact that all the female characters have about as much personality as dysentery, my first ever recommendation for this blog is Mary Shelley's The Last Man.

The Last Man is a story of secular apocalypse, written after the death of Shelley's husband Percy and absolutely redolent with post-Romantic holy-shit-guys-look-at-what-the-French-are-doing disillusionment/paranoia. It's mainly about a plague which devastates mankind (although Shelley devotes roughly half of the book to foreshadowing and setup), and in modern terms is only science fiction in the loosest sense; however, for fans of apocalyptic literature, it's worth at least a trip to a well-stocked library to see if you can stomach the writing style.

A lot of people who read this book end up hating it, because a) most of its readers are English Literature students and b) it is a fucking tome. The Broadview edition, for example, uses very small text and is still roughly the size of a former Soviet state. But if you're the kind of person (read: masochist) who likes a big meaty brick of a book to read before bed, or at least won't feel guilty about skipping past Mary Shelley's many elongated descriptions of the scenery (which are pretty but add nothing to the plot), you may well benefit from giving it a try.

In essence, if you've read through all this and still aren't put off, The Last Man may well be the book for you. Personally, I love it. I know not everyone does, which is a pity, but perhaps you will too.

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