Brindley takes the lid off The Lord of the Flies and brings it bang up to date with The Rule of Claw.
Hybrid human-animal embryos are approved for scientific experimentation. Genetically modified food becomes the norm. Then fast-forward a few decades...The world has changed, is changing... and mankind has been reduced to a small group of children left behind by their parents at a small base camp known as ASP.
In this terrifying new world, filled with uncertainty and the expectation of death, the children try to carve out a meagre existence on nuts and berries. With Ash as their remarkably rounded and rational leader, the group manage to survive for a time. But when Ash is overthrown in a surf-out competition by the power-hungry and jealousy-ridden Jon, the calmness and group dynamics are irrevocably altered... leading to a savage attack and subsequent devouring of a seagle; direct flouting of the one of the camp’s 5 commandments – No killing.
Here, the similarities with The Lord of the Flies starts to dissipate, as Brindley takes off into a flight of pure futuristic fantasy, taking us all headlong into a strange world filled with new species of animals and plants; from killer vines to the Raptor – a mutation of human, lizard and bird, to the profoundly intelligent Rodent race. All of Brindley’s creations are festooned with colour and imagination and are perfectly and terrifyingly formed. Through it all, Ash has to discover who she is and what has happened to the world if she is to stand a chance of saving her fellow campers. This is survival of the fittest put to the ultimate test.
Absorbing in its richness and sumptuous divinations of a future world that our children’s children may one day experience, Brindley opens up the debate of evolution versus theological debate, the potential effects of mankind’s determination to interfere with nature and the need for the better side of human nature to withstand everything. I found the stilting dialogue irritating until the it became apparent that there was some justification for it, although I do feel that the story would not have lost much had this been removed.
Otherwise, a cutting edge piece of fictional writing.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012