Friday, June 12, 2015

"Logan's Run" - A Thought-provoking Piece of Fiction

I recently finished reading Logan's Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, and I have to admit that it was quite different from what I had been expecting. If you are like me, you are familiar with the 1976 film, Logan's Run, starring Michael York and Jenny Agutter. I went into the book expecting something very similar to the movie, but  as I should have expected with most Hollywood movies, the book was considerably different.

Logan's Run depicts a dystopic ageist society in the future in which both population and resource consumption are kept in check by requiring the death of everyone reaching a particular age - population control at its most extreme. As in the movie, Logan is a Sandman charged with enforcing the rule by tracking down and killing citizens who "run". When Logan reaches his own Lastday, he becomes a runner as well.

Nolan and Johnson weave an interesting tale that acts as a commentary on what might happen as life spans increase and resources dwindle. It is a critique on a world where the beauty of the young has become far more desirable than the wisdom of the aged, and limited resources can no longer be spared for those over a certain age. Logan's Run provides a glimpse into a society that use age to determine one's usefulness and worth. It is a scary proposition, and Nolan and Johnson bring it to life well in Logan's Run.

The book, however, offers more than just a dismal view of the future. Logan's Run follows Logan as he approaches his own Lastday, and learns firsthand why citizens become runners. You could call it a "coming of age" story, one where Logan's eyes are opened to the true nature of the society in which he lives.

I found this book to be very thoughtful. Don't get me wrong. It has plenty of excitement, and is a great piece of fiction. But, it makes the reader think. Could this happen in our future? As our population grows and our resources dry up, could we begin to mandate a Lastday? It was good read, and I found it to be one of those books, like Fahrenheit 451, that leaves you wondering.

It's a shame that the Logan's Run is currently out of print, as far as I could tell. But, if you can get a copy, I would suggest reading it. Don't expect it to be like the movie. If the only reason you liked the movie was because Jenny Agutter was naked in it, the book might not be for you. But, if you're looking for a good read, pick this one up if you can.

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