|About the Book|
Like Londons Scarlet Plague, Shankss pessimistic postwar novel explores a western society in steep decline. During a workers strike in 1924 London, our protagonist - Jeremy Tuft, an investigator in physics - is accidentally frozen by anMoreLike Londons Scarlet Plague, Shankss pessimistic postwar novel explores a western society in steep decline. During a workers strike in 1924 London, our protagonist - Jeremy Tuft, an investigator in physics - is accidentally frozen by an experimental suspended-animation ray (as demonstrated on the cover of the June 1947 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries)- he wakes up in a medieval-style idiocracy, 150 years hence. Not only have his fellow Englishmen forgotten most of what they used to know, before a worldwide workers revolution and famine led to civilizations collapse, but they dont particularly care to re-learn any of it. People of the Ruins is, Id say, an early Sleeper- or Idiocracy-like satire on Edward Bellamys Looking Backward or Wellss The Sleeper Wakes, novels in which a Rip Van Winkle figure finds himself in a wonderful techno-utopia. However, though he is at first disconcerted by the failure of his eras doctrine of Progress (He had held the comfortable belief that mankind was advancing in conveniences and the amenities of life by regular and inevitable degrees), Tuft soon decides that post-civilized life is simpler, more peaceful, safer (We used to feel that we were living on the edge of a precipice - every man by himself, and all men together, lived in anxiety). In this sense, People of the Ruins is an early example of the cozy catastrophe. Either way, its worth reading - but doesnt get exciting until the brutish northern English tribes join forces with the Welsh and invade London!