Skip to content

The Children Of Men

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

Save $16.31!
List Price $22.00
Almost Gone, Only 3 Left!

Book Overview

A modern science fiction classic from an acclaimed bestselling author: The year is 2021. No child has been born for twenty-five years. The human race faces extinction. "A book of such accelerating... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

New Genre of Dystopia., 13 Oct 2007

Fantastically written. It describes a future dystopia with so much enigmatic character and charisma that you feel like you are literally on the brink. Character development is not slow or contrived; neither is the emotional impact. The characters have apparent flaws, stern resolve and lovable quirks, you know them, you grew up with them, you love them. The film however is not the abysmal accolade it's made out to be; harsher to the concept of the book, took away key points, plot, even some beloved characters and character depth was lost to those who are on the main stream of the book. But visually stunning, shorter summed up narrative and less controvertial than the book. But controversy can sometimes make a book. The film follows our current contemporary society by reflecting our status as humans on this planet. Result is a more downheartened and gritty world.

Perfect for this genre...

I say "Perfect for this genre", but I'm not really sure where I'd put this book. With the "end of the world" stories probably, but without the good vs. evil power struggle such as in The Stand: Expanded Edition: For the First Time Complete and Uncut (Signet) by Stephen King. I guess I could compare this to The White Plague, but I feel that PD James created more realistic and richer characters and left out Herbert's science fiction aspect. I've never read anything by PD James before and must admit that I really enjoyed her style of writing. My impression is that this book is more of a "literary work" than "pulp fiction" -- the author spent a lot of time developing the main character, Theo, who I felt like I almost knew by the end of the story. I too saw the movie first... I bought the book because of the other two reviewers who mentioned how different they were from each other. I enjoyed the movie but hated the ending... the book's ending was much more positive. I would add that though there were many differences between the movie and the book, the movie producers really cast the actors well: Clive Owen as Theo was brilliant, Julianne Moore as Julian and Michael Caine as Jasper were perfect. I can't name all the other actors in the movie, but they were all great; in fact, the movie did the book justice even with all the changes made to bring it to the theater. One of the reviewers complained about the "religious overtones" being too heavy. I didn't notice that -- I would expect different elements of society to behave in extreme ways were the end of the world to be eminent. And since the entire story takes place in England, it is not surprising that some of the events occur in churches.

not at all like the movie but a good read

If you are looking for a written version of the movie, you will be disappointed. There is very very little overlap, except in a very general sense, between the book and the movie. That said, I read the book in one's well written and not the usual best-seller fare. If you enjoy literary fiction, this will suit. If you prefer dumbed down best-seller stuff, you will probably not enjoy this work.

Here's a real dystopia

Note: for those who have seen the movie, remove your preconceptions when starting to read this book. It is quite unlike the movie. The premise is simple - the entire human population has been rendered infertile. Any scientific attempts to find or fix the cause have failed spectatularly. And so, the world is heading to a very quiet and desperate extinction. The population ages and diminishes as people await the inevitable fading away of humanity. More importantly, hope and meaning have gone. There is no longer a point in doing anything because it will all soon disappear. The result is a world of atrocities and chaos. These have been largely avoided in the UK due to the rational dictatorship of the Warden and his cabinet, who have engineered calm and stability, with many tradeoffs on human rights and freedoms. Enter Otto, the Warden's cousin who is an academic and an unsympathetic snob. He is drawn into the beginnings of an extremely small, almost laughable rebellion, but one that changes Otto and the future of the country forever. This is an extremely simple novel in its world description. Everything flows naturally from the premise, including all the new neuroses that society is stuck with. The book almost feels sparse. So if you insist on fast-paced thrillers only this is not for you. The reason I loved it was because in its sparseness it gives itself - and the reader - a lot of space to think and consider the issues. Unlike the movie where the government is sadistic and evil, things are much less black-and-white in the novel. There is almost an ambivalence for most of the work as to the question of whether the Warden's methods are wrong. The book is very emotional and almost spiritual -- James is magnificent at giving a sense of longing and nihilism present in a world that has no future. It's worth a read just for that.

No children born in over 25 years, only a miracle will save the planet

Reader beware, this book is very different from the film not that it stopped me from enjoying reading it however. For starters the pregnant woman in PD James novel is a white woman called Julian, in the film she is black. In the book Theo Faron isn't the estranged husband from Julian Taylor, he's the first cousin of the Warden of England who goes by the name of Xan and in the book it is Julian who is the miraculously pregnant woman, also white by the way along with her white husband Luke but in the film Luke is Black and portrayed by Chiwetal Ejiofor of Dirty Pretty Things fame. Then there is Miriam who is a Black midwife in the novel, in the film she is played by the very white but excellent actress Pam Ferris (well known as the mom from The Darling Buds of May) and Michael Caine (Get Carter and Alfie) is Jasper and is very different indeed from the crudely conservative Jasper we meet only briefly in the book. All the same both book and film were excellent because they portrayed two different kinds of England in the last throws of extinction which has been born out of mass human sterility. We are soon introduced to the disparate, cruel Omegas the youngest generation left on the planet, now in their late 20s, they are the last hope for a ravaged future but so far not one child has been born to these supposed "perfect beings", and the government is testing all the Omegas in the hope they will find some that still have the ability to conceive naturally. However certain types of people are being left out of the testing, those who are physically disabled, mentally ill, or sick in any other way etc and the father of the miracle baby that the Academic Theo is trying to protect has been overlooked in the fertility testing regime because he had epilepsy as a child. The book is not overly complex though you have to read it carefully, and you are drawn into a world of Oxford academics, crumbling history, both past and present and a despotic ruler who wants to control the miracle child and its mother and will do anything to make sure this happens, including murder. Written both in the first and third person we follow the now renegade Theo and an intrepid band of ill prepared dissidents as they try to escape the Warden of England's wrath, an escape which ultimately culminates in a stand off between the two cousins in which only one will survives. I liked both book and film each are worth reading and seeing as long as you do not compare them with the other because they are nothing alike other than in the names of some of the character and the basic idea of a sterile planet struggling to survive into the next millennium.

The Children of Men Mentions in Our Blog

The Children of Men in 20 Great Book-to-Screen Adaptations
20 Great Book-to-Screen Adaptations
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • July 23, 2023

ThriftBooks is ringing in a milestone anniversary this year—twenty! In celebration, here are twenty terrific book-to-screen adaptations, spanning a variety of genres, that have come out since we were born. 

The Children of Men in 5 Dystopian Novels That Reinforce the Importance of Earth Day
5 Dystopian Novels That Reinforce the Importance of Earth Day
Published by Emma Zaratian • April 22, 2019

Because we're gluttons for punishment, we thought we'd revisit five notable (and very different) dystopian novels that explore themes of environmental disaster. Just to pique our survivalist instincts this Earth Day.

Copyright © 2023 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell/Share My Personal Information | Cookie Policy | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured