March 29th, 2010


Reading - The Hopkins Manuscript

This is another apocalypse story, of the decidedly cosy variety. The manuscript was discovered some 700 years in the future, in the ruins of London and tells the story of the petty poultry breeder Hopkins and his adventures before, during and after the apocalypse, this one brought about by the moon plunging towards the Earth (for no discernable reason). It was written in the 30s but is set in 1941 and so strangely misses out on WWII. Hopkins is a well-meaning but rather boorish chap, devoted to raising prize bantams and a member of the British Lunar Society. His pomposity and lack of social understanding or graces makes the pre-amble, some 150 pages, an entertaining and funny read, and whilst Hopkins does improve with disaster, he's an interesting character on whom to base a story because of his selfishness and misinterpretation.

This is certainly not the best apocalypse, it's as class-ridden, if not more so than anything Wyndham produced but I rather enjoyed Hopkins and his misadventures and read it pretty much in three nights.

This version was produced by Persephone books, 30s specialists, who have a lovely little shop in Lambs Conduit Street. The covers of all their publications are silver but each has endpapers from genuine 30s wallpaper and a bookmark of the same.