I guess I should start by mentioning that this is neither the real name of the book, nor the real name of the author. Apparently, he’s Samuel Youd, and it’s “The Death of Grass” for the original UK audience. One of those weird situations where the American title is much, much better. The opposite of the notorious “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone” abomination.
I mean, how offensive is it that someone assumed that children would be so outraged by the notion of a philosopher that they would refuse to read a totally awesome book about wizards? Children become outraged by the study of philosophy through survey classes in college, and rarely before.
“No Blade of Grass” is kind of like a J.G. Ballard book, in that some guy was sitting around wanting to write a book about a weird future, and just started throwing darts at a board. For Ballard, this resulted in surprisingly fantastic sf novels with premises like “okay, what if a guy got trapped on a highway median and couldn’t get out?” or “what if, uh, it got really really really windy and didn’t stop?”
For Christopher/Youd, the dart eventually hit “what if some weird virus destroyed all the world’s grasses and then all the grazing livestock ground to a halt (this was before the term ‘cornfed’ really took off, I think), and we were stuck with mostly potatoes, and bought guns and set up compounds in our grandfather’s valley?’”
It’s likely just me, but I have, forever after, really scoped out new locations for their usefulness in a world where grass is gone, and it may have played some small part in my decision to move from a house NEAR the mouth of a large canyon to a house IN the mouth of a large canyon.
I did the Women’s Ski Clinic at a well-known old-timey resort a few years ago, promptly decimating my left leg two turns after lunch on the first day, which is now mainly titanium and screws, and the old, wizened owner joined us for breakfast. He started off with a fairly benign “look at all these lovely ladies, skiing, it’s so great, we love having you here,” and then fairly swiftly transitioned into: “The world is tending towards destruction, and you lady skiers are our family, and when the end comes, I want you all to know you can hole up here in the canyon, and we should be able to hold off the zombie hordes for as long as it takes.” To which we all went uhhhhh, and clapped very nicely.
But, you know, in retrospect, he was probably a “No Blade of Grass” fan.