Book review: Logan’s Run

Yup, I’m getting to this one really late. The movie was a sci-fi classic, the TV series … not so much. Having seen both when I was a kid, I didn’t think there was much point in reading the book, until it won the Alternative Booker Prize held by the Reading Writers Group. I’d made one of those private vows you see: to read every entry before Christmas. The first one was Perfume, and now, Logan’s Run …

The story is set in the distant future. After an uprising by the world’s youth, the old order finds itself overthrown, and in most cases, executed. Recognising that they still need to tackle the problem of overpopulation, the teenagers running the planet hit on a rather novel solution: there is enough for everyone, as long as no one lives past the age of twenty-one.

And so we meet Logan. Logan is a Sandman, and his job is to hunt down ‘runners’: that despised section of the population who don’t agree with being put to sleep before they’ve even lived, and so try to escape to a place called Sanctuary.

Logan’s very good at his job, right up until the day he hits twenty-one …

Now those of you who’ve seen the film may be thinking, ‘Twenty-one? I thought LastDay came when you hit thirty.’

Yes, that was for the movies, and there was a reason why the studios changed it.

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The Boys (on Amazon Prime)

A superhero series with a difference: the superheroes, while being ‘super’, aren’t really ‘heroes’. In this story, this crew of overpaid, self-absorbed, drug-addicted, over-sexed, and to be honest, borderline psychotic meta-humans are run by a global, morally bankrupt corporation who keep the billions rolling in with toys, comic books, movie franchises and some fairly dodgy endorsements (chocolate breakfast cereals?). But the whole scheme begins to unravel when one of the ‘supes’ accidentally kills a bystander …

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Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

You know, I live in constant fear of coming across a Bernadine Evaristo novel I won’t like. I don’t class myself as a fan, yet I’ve got three of her books on my shelf. I can’t say I’m that keen on poetic prose (probably because I can’t write it), but I love the Emperor’s Babe. And Blonde Roots? Well, that was my favourite book for years, until Silk came along. I think this proves that reading outside your comfort zone often uncover a rare gem. So this the mindset I fixed on when I picked up (by which I mean ‘downloaded’) a copy of Girl, Woman, Other.

This isn’t so much a novel as a collection of intertwined short stories, covering the trials and loves of a group of women linked through ancestry, family and friendship. Some of the women are black, some are mixed-race, and some believe themselves to be white, and discover that perhaps they’re something else entirely. Evaristo doesn’t just touch upon racism, sexism and the nature of sexual identity, she dives in like she’s researching a social history thesis. Some of the concepts are challenging (especially if you’re a bloke), but they’re certainly worth a second read, then a drink, then a think, then another read. Even if you don’t end up agreeing with her on all counts, you’ll certainly come away thinking, ‘Okay, well, when you put it like that …’

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