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  • Published: 8 May 2009
  • ISBN: 9780141192017
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208

The Death of Grass



First time in Penguin Modern Classics for this 1950s Sci-Fi Classic

At first the virus wiping out grass and crops is of little concern to John Custance. It has decimated Asia, causing mass starvation and riots, but Europe is safe and a counter-virus is expected any day. Except, it turns out, the governments have been lying to their people. When the deadly disease hits Britain they are left alone, and society starts to descend into barbarism. As John and his family try to make it across country to the safety of his brother's farm in a hidden valley, their humanity is tested to its very limits.

Includes an introduction by Robert Macfarlane.

  • Published: 8 May 2009
  • ISBN: 9780141192017
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208

About the author

John Christopher

John Christopher was the pen-name of Sam Youd, a celebrated and influential writer of science fiction. Youd was born in Huyton, Lancashire in 1922, and began his career as an author after serving in World War II.

Many of Youd's novels for adults and children are considered classics, including The Death of Grass, The Guardians, and the four books in his Tripods series, which were adapted successfully for television in the 1980s.

Sam Youd died in 2012, aged 89.

John Christopher was the pseudonym of Christopher Samuel Youd, who was born in April 1922 in the village of Knowsley, near Liverpool. When he was aged ten, his family moved south to Hampshire, where he attended Peter Symonds' School, Winchester. Subsequently he has lived in London, Guernsey, and Rye.

He started taking writing seriously when, on leaving the army at the end of 1946, he was given an Atlantic Award by the Rockefeller Foundation. His primary target was the general novel, of which he eventually published ten. Additionally, under the stimulus of providing for a family which grew to include five children, he wrote genre novels - thrillers, light comedies, even a couple with a cricket background - under pen-names. As John Christopher, he wrote a series of books labelled 'science fiction', including The Death of Grass.

In 1966 he was asked to try writing for young people, and came up with the Tripods trilogy. He has since written many other children's books, including the Sword and Fireball trilogies and a 'prequel' to the Tripods trilogy: When the Tripods Came. His latest book was A Dusk of Demons.

Christopher Samuel Youd passed away in Bath, England on 3 February 2012.

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Praise for The Death of Grass

The Death of Grass sticks with commendable perseverance to the surface of the earth we know... John Christopher has constructed an unusually dramatic and exciting tale

Daily Mail

I know and admire The Death of Grass. It was published at roughly the same time as The Day Of The Triffids. In my judgement, it is by far the better book. The characterisation is better and the mood uniformly cold. It is a thrilling and sensible work

Brian Aldiss

Gripping ... of all science fiction's apocalypses, this is one of the most haunting

Financial Times

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