The idea is at the same time simple, gruesome and thought-provoking: What would happen if, over night, and for no obvious reason, women all over the world stopped becoming pregnant? What would happen if, over the years, that situation turned out to be irrevocable? What influence would universal infertility have on people's minds and attitudes, on their behaviour, on politics? How would public order be maintained? How would society cope with an ever-ageing and dwindling world population? Would there be any hope left?
This is the situation depicted in P D James's novel THE CHILDREN OF MEN. James, mainly known for her crime novels, has written a Utopian -- or rather Dystopian -- novel which, as melodramatic as the plot may be, meets all the demands of the genre: The author has thought about practically all the consequences of such an outrageous turn of events and cleverly devised a story which is a well-balanced mixture between a general description of a Britain populated by a dwindling and ageing nation and a thrilling plot revolving around a small group of people who cannot, and do not want to, fit in with the disillusioned and apathetic masses.
A piece of advice to all those students out there who HAVE TO read Utopian novels: THE CHILDREN OF MEN is just as good as, if not better than, George Orwell's NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR or Ira Levin's THIS PERFECT DAY. Get hold of a copy and read it; you won't regret the experience.