Book Review: Logan's Run by William F. Nolan

Logan's Run
William F. Nolan

  Title: Logan's Run by William F. Nolan
  Rating: 3 stars (🌟🌟🌟)
  Publisher: Vintage

Over the last several years I've watched a number of 70s science fiction movies: ( Logan's Run, Soylent Green, Westworld, etc.) and read the books when I could. I finally got a copy of Logan's Run and gave it a read.

I liked this but I have to admit that I think the movie is more engaging. Perhaps that's simply because it was my introduction to the story. I'll just mention here what I most liked and didn't in the book. The characters beyond Logan and Jessica (and maybe Francis to an extent) were mere sketches and not memorable at all. I didn't much mind that because the settings were pretty detailed and interesting. Logan and Jessica see many places in this world that were not at all in the movie so that kept things fairly exciting. The story does linger overlong in a few places and it became surprisingly tedious. It's a short volume and feeling like something could have been edited down is somewhat a disappointment.

My favourite part of the book was in the last third where many things come together but most importantly for me, the reader finds out how and why the United States turned into this place. It was fascinating, sad and somewhat disturbingly imaginable given the current real world. There's a climate crisis, over-population, government over-reach, civil uprising and what I can only describe as a complete breakdown of a society that ultimately trades one handful of horrors for a basket of other horrors. The use of propaganda was also a scary feature here and there's a whole section surrounding a Civil War re-enactment in Virginia that just boggled the mind. The book was worth reading for these parts alone. The ending was great, and I think I may have liked it more than the movie's ending. There's a great twist and the back third of this book had me up late reading.

In the end, both the book and the movie had things to recommend them and I am glad that I read this. I have noticed that there are subsequent books in Logan, so perhaps I'll find and read those at some point also.


A couple of favourite passages:

"Logan paused to survey the vast mural which gave the structure its name—a climbing mosaic composed of tiny bits of fireglass brilliantly arranged to commemorate the Burning of Washington. Orange, purple and raw red flames jeweled halfway up the faΓ§ade; bodies flamed; buildings smoked and tumbled. Yet the awesome masterwork was flawed, incomplete. Stark, gaping areas broke the pattern. Only the famed muralist Roebler 7 could handle the corrosive fireglass, and when he had accepted Sleep his secret died with him. The project would never be finished."

"In his State of the Union address President Curtain had stressed the severity of the food shortage, as world population spiraled toward six billion. He called upon the young to exercise self-control in this crisis. But the sight of the fat, overfed President standing in living units across the country, talking of duty and restraint, had a negative effect on his audience. And the well-known fact that Curtain had fathered nine children made a showdown inevitable."

"The Little War had begun. By morning, half of Washington was in flames. Senators and congressmen were dragged in terror from their homes and hanged like criminals from trees and lampposts. The police and National Guard units were swept away in the first major wave of rioting. Buildings were set afire and explosives used. During the confusion an attendant at the Washington Zoo released the animals to save them from flames. The beasts were never recaptured."

Summary: The bestselling dystopian novel that inspired the 1970s science-fiction classic starring Michael York, Jenny Agutter, and Richard Jordan.
In 2116, it is against the law to live beyond the age of twenty-one years. When the crystal flower in the palm of your hand turns from red to black, you have reached your Lastday and you must report to a Sleepshop for processing. But the human will to survive is strong—stronger than any mere law.

Logan 3 is a Sandman, an enforcer who hunts down those Runners who refuse to accept Deep Sleep. The day before Logan’s palmflower shifts to black, a Runner accidentally reveals that he was racing toward a goal: Sanctuary. With this information driving him forward, Logan 3 assumes the role of the hunted and becomes a Runner.

Logan's Run
William F. Nolan

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