Apocalypses tend to be cool. The ancients already knew this, specifically a certain Saint John who knew how to see the potential of including four horsemen, seven seals, seven trumpets, red seas, Babylonian whores, beasts, antichrists, death and destruction and lots of antics (666, 616) to play at deciphering hidden meanings so that when Dan Brown arrived he would make a sequel.
Quite a visionary. I was saying that apocalypses tend to be cool as long as you don’t have to live through them, right, 2020? (although it would not be bad to live one of those in which there are very few people and you can do whatever comes out of your balls and have the whole city to yourself, without lines, without risk of losing your life, without bad manners,… in short, no hassles of those things that have the shape of a person. Social apocalypse. I vote for that one).
Well, if I’m going to be plunged into an apocalypse I would like my dog to accompany me and that’s what happens in this book.
We are in a future (one hundred or one hundred and fifty years ahead) in which the population has dropped sharply. The sea level has risen and the survivors that remain, who do not know how many they are, are very few. It is also not known why, theories circulated, but people stopped being able to have children. The world became sterile. It was the Baby Antiboom. Of course, there is no electricity and all the knowledge associated with the technology has been lost. Books are only useful if they are capable of teaching something related to survival in any of its facets. No narrative, poetry, stories or literature in general.
“…where I grew up we didn’t have time for gods. God had ceased to exist, the gods had ceased to exist, just as all of you ceased to exist. Now the gods are nothing but stories. Bar told me they always had been anyway. Stories to give meaning to the lives of those who wanted someone else to take care of them, instead of charting their own path.”Our main character, Gris, lives on an island with his parents, his two brothers and his two dogs. They live isolated. They have a neighboring family, two or three islands to the north (or to the east, or to the west, what does it matter?) with whom they very occasionally do some exchange or help each other to do some work, and that is the biggest contact they have with the outside world.
And everything is more or less peaceful, with occasional accidents, but they live happily. Until a traveler arrives on his island.
“Don’t trust anyone who tells you good stories. At least as long as you don’t know why he’s telling you.”
From here on I won’t say any more because it would destroy the surprise (this book has quite a few), and furthermore, the author himself is in charge of asking us, like Hitchcock with Psycho, that everything we discover in reading remains between him and us. (Which is superfluous because it’s real bastards to gut endings and/or surprises).
The story is told by Gris in the first person, as a diary on a journey that he undertakes for more than justified reasons. Along the journey through the ruins of our world we will see him deal with situations cunningly, we will learn what he thinks we were like, what he supposes we used the buildings he passes and the artifacts he finds for, and we will grow fond of him and with your practical way of thinking.
The story is interesting as a whole, but it is also true that some sections were heavy and tiring for me. However, once that bump has been overcome, the story picks up speed and takes off towards a surprising ending that leaves a good overall flavor.
A boy and his dog at the end of the world is a book that escapes fantastic apocalypses with Walking Dead -style zombies or Red -style vampires or I’m a legend or Mad Max -style hustlers . It is a much more realistic end of the world, with the consequences of climate change and other disasters caused by our species and focused on what could happen in a short time. We are living the trailer right now.
Entertaining, exciting and distressing at times. A book that is worthwhile and will please lovers of good science fiction.