There is something that calls to me when it comes to iron work and leather. I love the combination. My current desk is iron, glass tops and softened with espresso wood and a leather chair. This office reminds me a bit of my own with its modern elements, punched with accents of chrome from the lamp and knickknacks. I also like that it has a second desk area set up off to the side. If you have a child that needs to do homework or is being homeschooled, this would be an ideal set up for you as the parent and teacher to supervise their work. The ottoman in front of the main desk is great for either a seat for a client or guest or to be used to spread out index cards or notebooks on.
Book Name: The Children of Men
Author: P.D. James
First Published: 1992
Phyllis Dorothy James, commonly known as P.D. James, was born on August 3, 1920 in Oxford. She studied at the British School in Ludlow and Cambridge High School for Girls. Her father, Sidney James, was a tax inspector.
Due to financial constraints and her father’s belief that girls did not need higher education, James left school when she was 16 years old. She worked for several years before she married army doctor Ernest Connor Bantry in 1941. The couple had two daughters, Jane and Claire, but when her husband returned from World War II, he was mentally ill and was placed in a psychiatric institution. James was forced to be the family breadwinner until her husband died in 1964. She studied hospital administration and worked in the National Health Service from 1949 to 1968.
James began writing in the mid-1950s. Two years after her first novel Cover Her Face was published, she began working in the criminal section of the Home Office in the UK. She continued being a public servant until her retirement. James used her work experience in many of her novels. Much of her work feature UK’s bureaucracies, such as the National Health Service and the criminal justice system.
She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Society of Literature. She has won several awards for her writing and was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1983. She became a life peer in the House of Lords in 1991 and President of the Society of Authors in 1997. In 2008, she was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame at the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards.
P.D. James is most popular for her detective series starring the policeman Adam Dalgliesh of New Scotland Yard. In the 1980s, several of James’ mystery novels were made into television shows and aired in the UK as well as in other countries such as the USA. Her dystopian novel, The Children of Men, was adapted into a 2006 feature film starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, and Michael Caine.
Charm is often despised but I can never see why. No one has it who isn’t capable of genuinely liking others, at least at the actual moment of meeting and speaking. Charm is always genuine; it may be superficial but it isn’t false. – P.D. James
It is the year 2021. The world population is steadily decreasing and there is mass infertility. People last gave birth in 1995 and humanity is facing imminent extinction. In desperation, people are treating newborn animals as their babies. The members of the youngest generation, called “Omegas”, are now all adults but are spoiled, violent, and contemptuous of their elders. Nevertheless, they are prized for their youth and are thus treated to luxurious lifestyles and are never punished. The British Omegas are prohibited from leaving the country but workers from poorer countries are lured and made to do the undesirable work then sent back once they reach 60. The old and the sick are considered a burden, with only the privileged ones given care while the rest are encouraged or even forced to kill themselves in a legalized mass drowning called Quietus.
The rich and influential Xan Lyppiatt is the self-appointed Warden of England and has replaced democracy with an egalitarian regime due to the people’s lack of interest in politics. Dr. Theodore “Theo” Faron, a historian at the Oxford University and Xan’s cousin, is approached by Julian, a female dissident who belongs to the group Five Fishes. The group wants Theo’s help in asking Xan to implement reforms before they start a revolution. The rebels want Xan to bring back democracy, to shut down the isolated penal colony on the Isle of Man, and to stop the mass suicide of the old and the infirm. Theo agrees but his meeting with Xan ends up being a meeting with all the five members of the Council of England, the country’s governing body. The meeting is a failure as Xan does not agree with the demands. Xan suspects that Theo’s suggestions come from others and plans to move against the dissidents.
The State Secret Police visits Theo and the latter tells Julian about the visit before traveling around Europe for several months to see the continent before it becomes overrun by nature. When he returns, he finds out that the dissidents have continued the revolution by distributing pamphlets and sabotaging wharves and that one of them has been arrested while attempting to blow up a mass suicide facility. Theo also learns that Julian is pregnant. At first, he thinks Julian is just delusional, but changes his mind when he hears the baby’s heartbeat. The group now struggles to keep Julian and her baby safe during their flight.
My first exposure to PD James was via the motion picture The Children of Men starring Clive Owen and Micheal Cain. I found the storyline and concept of the movie to be unique and later, I went on to read the book that the movie was based on. I discovered that the film and the book are rather different. The movie had plenty of suspense and action, while the book delved more into the political makeup of this futuristic England and had long passages of description that perhaps could have been shorter and to the point.
The idea of the Omega generation is chilling. The thought that this was the end of humanity and no more after us, is heartbreaking. I can see some of the behavior of the women in this book in today’s culture. Many people are child-free and do dote on their pets as if they were children, just as the characters in James’ book would push dolls around in prams or christen their cats. After I finished the book, I confess that it was good to see our neighborhood kids playing outside as usual. Global infertility has not quite reached us yet.
Dystopian science fiction lets us see into a dark possible future, but shining a light into those shadows is often a way to avoid the pitfalls ahead. I recommend reading The Children of Men, it is a classic that should be experienced.
Here we are, another Monday of No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links! I have a nice grab-bag for you to sort through, most of the links deal with the nuts and bolts of the craft of writing. The podcast I featured is for all you science fiction and fantasy readers and writers. Be sure to check it out.
Please have a happy fourth of July! Be careful with your fireworks and enjoy the day.
This week’s author writes fantasy with a bit of time-travel and romance stirred in. If you like myth and dragons and magical boats, you’ll enjoy this indie author. I’m pleased to introduce Nikki here on No Wasted Ink.
My name is Nikki Broadwell and I live in Tucson, having relocated from Portland, Oregon two years ago with Jim, my husband of nearly thirty-five years, and Buddha our standard poodle. I love the dirt road that leads to our house, the Catalina Mountains in the distance and the myriad trails that wend their way between our house and those rocky peaks where I can walk my dog off leash!
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always loved to write but I became serious about it around eleven years ago. I took a writing workshop in order to get some ideas about structuring a fictionalized memoir about my father’s experience in a Japanese prison camp during WW2.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I called myself a writer after the bug took hold of me and wouldn’t let go–so probably when I was about half way through Wolfmoon Trilogy.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
The book I’m working on now, Gypsy’s Return, is a sequel to Gypsy’s Quest and follows the heroine, Gertrude from Milltown, Massachusetts to Far Isle, a place in a dystopian future where corporations rule.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wrote a trilogy entitled, Wolfmoon, but at the end of the third book we don’t know what happens to Gertrude, one of the main characters. Gypsy’s Quest is her story, told in the first person.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I’ve been told that my writing is very visual so I guess it would be called cinematic? Besides description, I love dialogue and so a good portion of my stories unfold through conversations.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
The Gypsy series refers to the main character’s heritage as well as a magical boat name Gypsy, that could also be called a character.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The message is about saving the earth for future generations. I know, that sounds didactic, but the message is revealed through action, story and character development.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not really, although some of my own concerns about oil exploration are a part of the themes in the books.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
I love Kurt Vonnegut, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, A.A Milne, Lewis Carroll, Margaret Atwood, Joanne Harris, Tom Robbins and many many others. I have always been an avid reader. I like the themes these authors explore in their stories and their disparate writing styles.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
I’m sure I’ve gleaned all sorts of information from reading these authors, but not any one person stands out for me. But I do think that Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, started me on the road toward fantasy writing.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
Viola Estrella designed the cover for Gypsy’s Quest as well as The Wolf Moon, and my redo of the cover for The Moonstone. I plan to hire her to do Gypsy’s Return as well. She is very good. I highly recommend her work!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you decide to go the indie route, make sure you have your book well edited before you put it out in the marketplace. And don’t let anyone tell you how to write or what you should write about–follow your own muse.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I feel honored every time someone reads my books and has something nice to say. Having people enjoy my books is paramount!
Cover Art: Viola Estrella