Offspring of People

I assume that Offspring of People is the correct way to update PD James’ dystopian novel from the 90s, Children of Men. If you haven’t read any of James’ books before, I recommend them. She’s most known for her murder series featuring Inspector Adam Dalgliesh. James was a judge for years, prior to her career as a novelist. That wealth of experience informs her writing. Beside that, though, she is simply an excellent writer. Dalgliesh is right up there with Poirot, Marple, and Father Brown. However, James’ stories are a moodier, more cerebral take on the genre (though one could argue otherwise concerning Father Brown, but not Agatha Christie’s protagonists).

Children of Men, however, was a departure for James. I’d love to know her thought process behind the book. It’s a stand-alone and, as far as I know, the only dystopian work she’s written. In a nutshell, the story is about a slightly futuristic Britain where people can longer have children. There’s a great deal more to the story than that, of course, but that’s the heart of it.

I read Children of Men sometime in the late 90s and haven’t really thought of it in years. Quick aside: there’s a dreadful film version of it starring, I think, Clive Owen; whoever dreamed that project up and then subsequently slaughtered the story via script should be charged with literary murder.

At any rate, some of the theories that have emerged lately about mRNA vaccines affecting fertility made me think of James’ book. There are some fascinating hypotheticals out there positing that the spike proteins produced by the vaccines, over time, tend to gather in the ovaries and then reduce fertility. The hypotheticals also posit that the spikes lower sperm count.

Whatever the truth behind that or not, the concept is fascinating to consider from a story perspective. Fascinating and horrifying. If there was any truth in it, the world would become a much different place. Can you imagine the slow depopulation of cities across the globe? If you’ve ever seen pictures of modern Detroit, that’s what would become commonplace. Blocks of empty, gaping houses slowly collapsing into moldy ruin. Greenery engulfing the hard outlines of architecture, softening them into something organic and primordial. A wolf watching you silent and silvery-eyed, standing by a rusting crosswalk sign.

One can only imagine. It’s what you do if you love to write stories.

I hope and pray that that particular hypothesis is incorrect.

Of course, as luck (or something) would have it, James set her story in 2021.