Friday, June 30, 2017

Let's Not Forget - The Green Book

First published in 1981, The Green Book tells the story of the last colonists to leave a dying Earth and rocket towards an unknown planet.
My favorite edition!

The most appalling privation they suffer is that each colonist, adult or child, can bring with them only ONE book.  When Pattie's book is shown to be an empty notebook, the other colonists are appalled.  The only entertainment they have is reading.  Musical instruments were too unnecessary to be loaded on the ship.  Paper is too precious to be wasted on drawing.

Technology has changed a lot since 1981.  The science of this book may feel dated.  But the tension of trying to make a new life on a planet that is similar to our own, and still so alien, is the main thrust of the story.  Once the colonists start making a life on the planet that they call Shine, all old world technology is moot.

The voice is that of one of the children in Pattie's family.  One is never sure, until the very end, which child is telling the story.  The point of view seems to shift among the siblings and that adds to the suspense.

Shine appears to be uninhabited and then, in a most magical scene, the denizens of Shine arise.

As I write, I keep remembering small details that delight me.  The colonists discover that the sap of the trees is edible through the children's play rhyme.  (NOTE TO SELF:  research the political and social significance of children's play rhymes.) The children end up leading in this book in so many ways.

This is a gentle tale, a cautionary tale.  The death of Earth has been caused by extreme pollution.  Shine is clean and clear and almost purely crystalline in comparison.  And yet, if they cannot produce their own food, the colonists may not survive.

 (Thanks to Chavivah (Cyndi) Simen for reminding me of this awesome book.)

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