Recently I watched "Children of Men" starring one of my favorite actors, Clive Owen. It's a great blend of science-fiction, action and drama with a thought-provoking premise.
The setting is a bleak England in 2027. People have stopped reproducing, although we're never told exactly why, and humankind is facing extinction. Society is in chaos and the only hope is to get the last pregnant woman to a group called the human project who is working to find a cure. Theo (Owen) is enlisted to deliver the woman and a violent, pulse-pounding adventure ensues. In today's world our worries about toxic waste, chemical warfare and pollution and how these things affect reproductive health, makes the movie seem all too real.
The plot and setting seemed vaguely familiar and started me thinking of a book I read many, many years ago. Quite a few of my old books have gone MIA but this one survived, minus a dust jacket but otherwise in very good condition.
The title is IMPLOSION, written by DF Jones, a British science-fiction author who is best known for his book "Colossus," in which responsibility for mankind is given to a super computer with unintended consequences. The film "Colossus: the Forbin Project" is based on his book.
I'm amazed that DF Jones doesn't receive more recognition for his work. I find his books well-written and prophetic for the time; Colossus was written in 1966 and Implosion in 1967.
Like "Children of Men" IMPLOSION also takes place in the United Kingdom. A scientist in an Eastern Bloc country produces a water soluble drug called Prolix that decreases fertility. Britain is targeted and government plans to retaliate.
Meanwhile, Dr. John Bart, the minister of health is forced to create concentration camps for women who are still fertile. His own wife is forced to go to one of these breeding facilities. The children are sent to camps for their own protection.
Other countries become involved and at the end there's a macabre twist that reminds me of "The Twilight Zone" series. It's discovered that the women who can still reproduce will only give birth to boys; mankind is doomed to become extinct.
Aside from having a slightly sexist tone, (consider the year) this is still a great read. If you enjoyed "Children of Men" you'll probably enjoy this story as well.
Publisher: GP Putnam's Sons (1967)