Sunday, August 17, 2008

The World in Winter by John Christopher

The World in Winter
John Christopher
1962, 1978, Hunt Barnard, Bucks

A great winter comes and knocks the northern nations off their feet. Britain is rendered virtually inhabitable and the Europeans must emigrate to Africa.

I thought this may have been the book the movie, The Day After Tomorrow, was based on as the blurb ends in the sentence: "The World in Winter could be an uncannily accurate prophecy of the day after tomorrow." It is, however, a different story - that's not to say that the movie wasn't based loosely on the premise - this story is about a Briton and his emigration to Africa, whereas the movie is set on the American continents.

It is a book about race, and like The Time Machine, reverses the roles of the day in which it was written (although not to such an extreme). With the European continent in turmoil (and out-of-sight, North America), Africa becomes the most prosperous place on the planet. This is a book of its time, but should not be mis-interpreted as racist. It explores themes of race, but I think it does it fairly and honestly. There is a delineation between blacks and whites, but neither side comes out on top, and neither side is more moral or more immoral than the other.

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