I read a really cool book recently. It was hilarious, off-the-wall and a little bit scary – everything a dystopian novel should be.
‘Blind Faith’ by Ben Elton is fascinating. It follows Trafford, a member of this crazy, futuristic, dystopian London, where every movement is broadcast, privacy is damned and every member of the community worships a God-like figure referred to as The Love.
Trafford’s day-to-day life, on the surface, seems much like our own – he lives in an apartment with his wife and daugther, takes the tube to work and has a passion for learning. Very quickly, however, we learn that the London Trafford lives in is a warped caricature of our own. The city seems to operate on a ‘more is more’ policy, with nobody practising any self control – clothes are unnecessary, food is sickly sweet and comes in mountainous quantities.
Bizarrely, and worryingly, this new London is also entirely void of medical treatment. Infant mortality is at an all-time high, with 1 in 2 children dying before their first birthday. Vaccination is unheard of, and those who vaccinate their children are punishable by death. In Trafford’s London, terminal disease is a symbol of the Love’s protection – the Love takes newborns to protect them and bring them closer to His Everlasting Love.
Trafford doesn’t fit the mould of the times he lives in. He has a lot of questions, to which he desperately needs answers.
There’s two aspects of Blind Faith that have catapulted it so far up my list of favourite books. Firstly, it’s essentially one big philosophical debate, masked in a surreal setting that is so absurd it’s laugh-out-loud funny and propped up on the timeless Creationist/Evolutionist discussion. However, all common sense views are turned on their heads in Blind Faith to build this absurd reality. You think you’ve read the worst, surely it can’t get any more ridiculous than THIS?!, but then it does – and it’s like that for the whole novel.
The other aspect is that, scarily, everything Trafford experiences is so relatable to the world we live in in 2016. Giving children ridiculous names, sharing intimate details of their lives on their blogs and livestreams, blindly following the word of the Love without a second thought (I’m, uh, looking at you, Trump supporters…) rings a little too true with the way in which technology is integrated in our lives at the moment. It’s crazy, and all so, so exaggerated, but the entire time I was reading there was this niggling ‘what if…?’ that I just couldn’t shake.
In summary: LOVED IT. If you like your satire both intelligent and by the bucketload, but also like a book that starts a dialogue and gets you thinking, then Blind Faith is a novel you really can’t miss.
Until next time,