‘The Death of Grass’ by John Christopher

I have a bizarre fascination with visions of the apocalypse. From the twisted tales which came out of Byzantium in 600 AD, to the terrifyingly gripping World War Z. Today, I am The Death of Grass by John Christophergoing to sing the praises of an often overlooked, and by many unheard of, book: The Death of Grass by John Christopher.

I should say from the start that John Christopher is not the author’s real name. His real name was Sam Youd but he used a pen-name for his fantasy/sci-fi work, in order that his ‘serious work’ might not be tainted. Whatever my personal thoughts on this practice, his writing in The Death of Grass is at once astute, concise and enthralling.

Set in 1950s/60s England, The Death of Grass is part of the ‘floral apocalypse’ phenomenon which began in the late ’40s with books like Ward Moore’s Greener Than You Think. In Christopher’s work, the semi-apocalypse is brought about by a virus affecting all the grass families. That’s lawn, prairie, cereals – in short, as one of of my more cunning friends studying biology said – ‘We’d be f*cked if that actually happened.’

Continue reading “‘The Death of Grass’ by John Christopher”